The record book says that in my NFL career, I ran for 164 touchdowns and 18,355 yards, surpassing Walter Payton's all-time leading rushing record of 16,726 yards. I'm here to tell you I ran for a lot more touchdowns and a lot more yards at old Malaga Square. As I sprinted down the field of my boyhood dreams, I'd transform into each of my football heroes one after the other, imitating each player's signature moves.
I could hear the roar of the crowd with every cut back, every spin, and every fresh burst of speed. My creative mind was racing even faster than my legs. I was a boy at play, but something far more important and lasting was taking place in that park.
A child was running after his dreams on the power of his imagination.
In a sense, I've never stopped running. And I've never stopped dreaming.
A Championship-Level Dreamer
I believe there are great things in store for my life and yours, too. Greatness is not reserved for VIPs. Happiness and fulfillment are not limited commodities. The question is, are you willing to do whatever it takes to become the person you need to be, to achieve the life you want to live?
If you are happy right where you are, that's fine. But if you feel that God has more in store for you, then I encourage you to step into your workout gear and read on. The first step in this process is to trust in your vision for that better life and dare to dream big. The Bible says in Numbers 12:6, "If there were prophets among you, I, the LORD, would reveal myself in visions. I would speak to them in dreams." (NLT)
Wiser men than I have commented over the centuries about the awesome power of our visions, our dreams, and the human imagination. Poets, philosophers, writers, great military and political leaders, and probably even a rap star or two have noted that our visions and dreams are the pathways and portals to a better life. That has certainly been true for me, and it can be true for you, too.
We are all born naked into this world, but each of us is fully clothed in potential. Every one of us possesses unique gifts that we must embrace and develop to the fullest. But we can't do that if we don't have a vision. We can't do that if we're afraid to dream. I'm not referring to idle daydreams or grandiose, self-centered imaginings. I'm talking about the way you visualize or picture the life you yearn for, the life that God is calling you to. Having vision means picturing in your mind what it will be like and how you will achieve it and build upon it. Dreaming means "rehearsing" what you see, playing it over and over in your mind until it becomes as real to you as your life right now.
The two go together. Vision gets the dreams started. Dreaming employs your God-given imagination to reinforce the vision. Both are part of something I believe is absolutely necessary to building the life of a champion, a winner, a person of high character who is consistently at the top of whatever game he or she is in.
I was a championship-level dreamer as a boy. When we were riding in our parents' car through the nicer neighborhoods of Pensacola, my sister and brothers and I would spot our favorite big homes and claim them: "That brick one's mine!" "The house with the big front porch is mine!"
Other times we'd sit on the curb in our own neighborhood and claim the nicest cars passing by. "Oh, that Mustang is mine!" "That Cadillac is mine!"
What can I say? We were just crazy kids. But even though we came from a low-income family, we dared to dream that anything was possible for us, anything was within our reach if we were willing to work for it and keep reaching for it.
Winning isn't something that just happens to you on the field when the whistle blows or the crowd roars. Winning is something that is built physically and mentally every day that you train and every night that you dream. The victories we achieve, then, are the result of the vision that fuels our commitment to making our dreams a reality.
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