One of the most important lessons I think that I have learned over the years is that if you have either a large goal or a pretty unique or unusual way of getting there, it is important that you surround yourself with people who won’t just shut you down. Oftentimes these people may be people who resent- enemies or people that may be jealous, but at times, it can also be people who are close to you and love you- friends and family. When I told my father I was considering being a very successful trial lawyer, I must say that I didn not receive the support or encouragement I might have expected. He told me that it was very unlikely and that I should ultimately consider something more practical. I will admit that sometimes it is important for you to hear something like this with respect to dreams and aspirations, but surrounding yourself with people who might say that your idea is “crazy but might work,” or “insane but would be awesome.” If you are truly lucky that person may even come to your side and help you make it into a reality.
I consider myself to be this type of person with ambitious goals and radical ideas! I feel like over the years, it is these ideas that need to pursued regardless of how different or far removed from the status quo they may be. The ideas that I have because of the people that I am able to surround myself with, are not shut down. I am fortunate enough to be able to share these ideas with friends that respond, “Daniel, that is a crazy idea but it is amazing, how can we make it happen?” I have recently shared an idea about a church that is able to acquire and spend over $160,000 doing some radical things in the area of service to others. My utmost passion has become doing service for underprivileged youth and after telling my friends at SMU and outside of SMU this idea with hopes that Mustang Heroes could make it happen as well, I got the response I expected. I didn’t get the response that would discourage me from even looking into the idea; I didn’t get the response that told me that that is not the proper way to do things; nor didn’t get the response that communicated how unrealistic it may be. Instead, I was told by these people that it would be difficult, that it would take time, but ultimately, that it was worth doing.
Surround yourself with people who will encourage you as well as the ideas you may come up with. It is important that your ideas are not shot down by the people you care about most, for this reason, it may be a good idea to have some discretion among those people and instead share it with those who can hear an idea or goal and instead of immediately seeing why it might fail, they see why it needs to succeed.
My friends and I are taking a truck for a three and a half hour ride to Austin to meet with the church that is making an amazing difference in the lives of others in huge ways. The meeting is dedicated to helping us create a similar model of the service that they do but modified to be appropriate for SMU. One Big idea. The four of us. Millions of reasons not to do it. A million more people who need our help.
Class of 2014