Barack Obama and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once told us that he had a dream. United States President Barack Obama tells us to believe in hope. These are both very inspiring men with very inspiring words, but are hopes and dreams enough to get the job done? Are they sufficient to bring about the kind of change that the nation (and the world) desires? I think not.

It’s perfectly reasonable to have a dream. I dream of living in a multi-million dollar mansion. I dream of a world devoid of hunger and poverty. The trouble with having these dreams is that they are nothing more than dreams if you do not have a plan.

A dream without a plan will never be realized, because you don’t have the steps in place to move toward it. How are you going to get that incredible mansion? What are you doing to rid the world of hunger and poverty? Don’t be afraid to dream — impossible is nothing — but you need to convert that dream into a goal by providing it with a plan and a timeline.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

We all have the opportunity to live out our aspirations and our dreams. That’s one thing we can learn from Barack Obama. Going into the race to lead the Democratic Party, not too many people gave Obama much of a fighting chance. But he believed. He had hope. He believed that he could overcome and emerge as the victor. And he did.

Was it hope that drove him to victory? He came to own that word, “hope”, over the course of his campaign, but I think we’d all agree that a simple hoping of something to happen is not enough to make it happen. It’s important to keep a positive outlook and “hope” for the best, but this must be accompanied by a plan, a resiliency, and the drive to be extraordinary. Obama may be an amazing man, but there is no way that he will be able to live up to all this hype and all these expectations. He has the weight of the world on his shoulders, but I hope that he can live up to half of these expectations. Even that is a tall order to fill.

Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

Although goals may bring you grief, they are also the path to true success and accomplishment. As human beings, we need to believe in hope and think about our dreams, but in order for anything to happen, we need to put those dreams in action. You may not succeed the first time, the third time, or even the tenth time. It’s not about how many times you fail. It’s about how many times you get up, get back in the game, and start doing again. That’s how you can turn your dreams into reality.