Dream Big, Dear Troublemaker.
It’s time to reclaim the label that’s been used to constrain, dismiss & silence us for too long; and it’s time to do so with a flair for the extravagant.
There are two statements about me that, I freely admit, are universal:
I’m a social romantic…
I love people. I love our sense of intrigue and adventure. I love that we all bring something different to the table and I love the awesome things that can be created as a result.
… and I’m a troublemaker
I’m a challenger and nuisance-maker. I say that which often goes unsaid. You see, I don’t get the logic that something should ‘just be’ because someone else says so. I may not always be delicate and precise in my methods, but I’m working on that.
The Journey of Discovery
Since my childhood, I’ve let others define what these traits mean for me with social-romanticism being seen as weak while Dave the Troublemaker was framed as inept and tactless.
The journey from that point has, at times, been isolating and emotionally draining, and if I’m honest, much of the criticism has been true. If I compare my approach and awareness now to that of my late teens or early 20’s, they’re worlds apart (I know, find me someone who's isn’t).
I’ve developed my communication skills to better convey my thoughts, feelings, and experiences with more openness. I’ve become more aware of how my mind works and how to use my skills more effectively. I’ve also become crucially more attentive to the fact that my experiences are just that — mine, and don’t have an innate awareness of those held by others.
But, do you know what I’ve also found out? That I’m not alone. Through my journey, I’ve come across scattered communities of isolated, nervous and excited ‘Compassionate Troublemakers’.
People who see the world around them and believe, deeply and earnestly, that we can do better. People who put their actions where their words are and do so while continually reflecting, learning and adapting as they go.
The Toxic Narrative
Though these connections, I realized a similarity — we’ve all been told that we’re the different ones, the odd ones, and the problematic ones. And that’s a really shitty thing.
I’m not going to sit here and say we’re not the odd problem-makers. We most certainly are, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s led to the development of a wonderful skill palate in each of us that can achieve incredible things.
So no longer will we be held back by the limitations imposed on us by those in positions of power. Instead, we’re going to harness our powers and make some amazing, mother-f’n CHANGE…. But, how?
Being the Dreamer
Trusting your dreams
As Paul Scott Jr delves into in ‘I Broke Up With My Day Job To Be A Professional Dreamer’, we’re taught rigidity as adults
Throughout the years proceeding my childhood, I was conditioned to believe that life was hard and that dreams were for delusional people that would end up jobless.
Krista Kujat has written wonderfully on how essential it is to remember the physical dreams that we have and listen to what our body and mind are telling us. Following our dreams in this very literal sense can lead to wonderful, and often unexpected, things.
Telling one's own story, even to oneself, without associated judgment is an incredibly kind, compassionate and freeing process to go through and it’s one that can truly show us what is important and where our skills, interest, and love lie.
Putting them into practice
Paul Scott Jr also discusses what it takes to break the lines keeping us grounded in the mundane.
Dreams aren’t meant to make you feel good — although extreme excitement is a very positive side effect — they’re meant to be acted upon. The dream is suppose to stand alone from you once you’ve built it, and that “good feeling” is the soul that gives life to our dream so that it can stand on its own.
Tiffany Sanya delves into the often ignored transition from ‘Dreamer to Doer’. She explores how important it is to be present in one's own life and be as self-driving as possible. Being your own cheerleader is essential to turn our dreams into realities. But this is tricky, after all, we live in a world which frames such promotion-of-self as self-aggrandizing.
We ask why? Isn’t the world much better when we can share that which we’re excited and passionate about? Aren’t we being a better version of us when we can support our friends and family to succeed? This is the idea at the heart of ‘The Business Shower’ social movement.
Becoming the Troublemaker
Broadly speaking there are two different types of Troublemakers — the toxic ones who don’t give a damn who they hurt to get what they want; and the compassionate ones who see the problems in our society and want to fix these not just for their-self but for others, even if that means ruffling some feathers on the way.
The journey of self-development is one that many pay lip service to, but unfortunately not all follow through with actions. Many aren’t prepared to ask the hard questions on how best to turn one's dreams into effective work.
There are those with no interest in developing the skills they struggle with or in listening to the opinions of others. This is where the best of the #CompassionateTroulemakers come to the forefront.
Opening oneself up to the support from others alongside being held to account by them is often difficult, but the rewards are so much more than surrounding yourself just with ‘yes men’.
In a connection that I feel ashamed I’ve not previously made, Talker Tailor Trouble Maker frames what makes an effective troublemaker through the lens of the WWE; from how essential collaboration is to get both a 5* match and 5* social change, to how important listening and adapting is in both environments.
As Thomas Deniffel explains in relation to programming, reflective practice is so incredibly important when aligning your practice with your intent and your advice to others. Keeping yourself in-check in this regard ensures we never ignore our dreams but equally that we don’t lose sight of the intense, self-driven work and scrutiny needed to bring those dreams into the real world and achieve them to the best of our abilities.
The grounding and self-support that can be gained through this journey is so rewarding and crucial to the longevity of our work. The reality is, people will continue to call us names, think we’re stupid and ridicule us. As Christian Sanz promotes — embrace them and use that to power forward, showing the doubters how wrong they can be.
It’s been a long, difficult journey of discovery for me, but an essential one. By no means have I finished that journey, I still make mistakes and there are times where I still find it difficult to communicate. Being more aware of how my mind works have made me more aware that I just don’t always think in the ‘neurotypical’ way. It’s also made me aware that I am one hell of a dreamer.
May your dreams and ambitions fly you to the moon and let you play among the stars. May they drive you to drink too much from time to time in both celebration and at times in disappointment. May they be big and monstrous and lovely and may they scare you and terrify you to the point of greatness. May your dreams and ambitions show you what it means to be human — to be born into this world for just long enough to leave it better than you found it.
If I wish anything for you it’s to dream and to ambitiously chase those dreams with a vengeance, forever and for a lifetime.