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Says Bing Crosby: "You Could Be Swingin' On A Star"

I have fond memories as a school kid of attending a school concert in which a popular 1944 song was used to build an act in which kids dressed up as a pig, a mule, a fish, a monkey and more.

The song was titled 'Swingin' On A Star' with lines like: or would you rather be a pig, mule, fish, monkey, etc.


In the same song were words very much aimed at the grown-ups, some good advice that still holds true today for all of us trying to figure out how to negotiate the minefield of life.

Those words were: and be better off than you are, you could be swingin' on a star (or would you rather be a pig, etc.?). *

Listen to the full song in the original Bing Crosby version from 1944 on YouTube here

I think we all have, at some point of our life, dreamed of being somebody special, somebody big or important. 

Who hasn't fantasized about being the one who hits the game-winning homer? 

Maybe a sporting champion or a rock star or a famous movie star? How many times have you dreamed of being rich, or successful, or happy with our relationships or family?

Often, we dream big dreams and have great aspirations. Unfortunately, our dreams remain just that – dreams. And our aspirations easily collect dust in our attic.

This is a sad turn of events in our life. Instead of experiencing exciting adventures in self actualization, we get caught up in the humdrum of living from day-to-day just barely existing.

But you know what? Life could be so much better, if only we learned to aim higher.

The most common problem to setting goals is the word impossible. Most people get hung up thinking I can't do this. It's too hard. It's too impossible. No one can do this.

Think about it, if everyone thought that, there would be no inventions, no innovations, and no breakthroughs in human accomplishment.

Remember that scientists were baffled when they took a look at the humble bumblebee. 

Theoretically, they said, it was impossible for the bumblebee to fly. Unfortunately for the bumble bee no one has told it so. So fly it does.

On the other hand, some people suffer from dreaming totally outrageous dreams and not acting on them. The result? Broken dreams, and tattered aspirations. At least, disappointment with life.

If you limit yourself with self-doubt, and self-limiting assumptions, you will never be able to break past what you deem impossible. 

If you reach too far out into the sky without working towards your goal, you will find yourself clinging on to the impossible dream.

Try this exercise. Take a piece of paper and write down some goals in your life. 

Under one header, list down things ‘you know you can do’. Under another header, write the things ‘you might be able to do.’ And under one more, list the things that that are ‘impossible for you to do, that you wish you could do or achieve but haven't yet gotten around to doing something about it.’

Now determine to strive every day to accomplish the goals that are under things ‘you know you can do’. Check them when you are able to accomplish them. 

As you slowly are able to check all of your goals under that heading, try accomplishing the goals under the other header-the one that reads ‘you might be able to do.’

As of the items you wrote under things I could do are accomplished, you can move the goals that are under things that are ‘impossible for you to do’ to the list of things ‘you might be able to do.’

As you iterate through this process, you will find out that the goals you thought were impossible become easier to accomplish. And the impossible begin to seem possible after all.

One piece of magic that I've found happens in life is to take a single step towards a particular goal, just a step without drastically changing your life or quitting your job to do it. Then wait for the piece of magic to happen. 

Either a door will open, or not. Either the next move will come to you, or not. If nothing happens, then move on to your next goal.

The technique here is not to limit your imagination, your expectations. Start working towards that goal little by little. However, it also is unwise to set a goal that is truly unrealistic.

Those who just dream towards a goal without working hard end up disappointed and disillusioned.

On the other hand, if you told someone a hundred years ago that it was possible for man to be on the moon, they would laugh at you. 

If you had told them that you could send mail from here to the other side of the world in a few seconds, they would say you were out of your mind. 

But, through sheer desire and perseverance, these impossible dreams are now realities.

Thomas Edison once said that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Nothing could be truer. 

For one to accomplish his or her dreams, there has to be had work and discipline. But take note that that 1% has to be a think-big dream, and not some easily accomplished one.

Ask any gym rat and he or she will tell you that there can be no gains unless you are put out of your comfort zone. Remember the saying, “No pain, no gain”? That is as true as it can be.

So dream on! Don’t get caught up with your perceived limitations. Think big and work hard to attain those dreams. 

As you step up the ladder of progress, you will just about find out that the impossible has just become a little bit more possible.

And soon you could be swingin' on a star.

All the monkeys aren't in the zoo
Every day you meet quite a few
So you see it's all up to you
You can be better than you are
You could be swingin' on a star *

* Songwriters Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen.


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Neil Smith has written extensively on life (and how to deal with it) including 3 non-fiction books and numerous blogs. To read how he went from zero to hero while solving a ghostly mystery CLICK HERE
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