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Barack Obama’s Authentic Dream
Compared To Other Change Agents

By Dr. Hubert K. Rampersad

Having an authentic dream and a related personal brand is a very important asset in today’s online, virtual, and individual age. This is the key to personal success. It is the positioning strategy behind the world's most successful people, like Barack Obama, Martin Luther King Jr.,  Mahatma Gandhi,  Nelson Mandela, and Mikhail Gorbachev. It’s therefore important to be your own brand based on your authentic dream. This will help you to actively grow and distinguish yourself. Remember what Walt Disney said; “If you can dream it, you can do it”. Here are some individuals who defined and implemented their authentic dream successfully and whom I admire enormously.

Barack Obama’s dream is: Bring about real change, change that we can believe in. His passion for change is the pillar of his authentic Personal Brand. Parts of his speeches:  “America is a land of big dreamers and big hopes. It is this hope that has sustained us through revolution and civil war, depression and world war, a struggle for civil and social rights and the brink of nuclear crisis. And it is because our dreamers dreamed that we have emerged from each challenge more united, more prosperous, and more admired than before. The true test of the American ideal is whether we’re able to recognize our failings and then rise together to meet the challenges of our time. Whether we allow ourselves to be shaped by events and history, or whether we act to shape them. Whether chance of birth or circumstance decides life’s big winners and losers, or whether we build a community where, at the very least, everyone has a chance to work hard, get ahead, and reach their dreams. Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. I don't want to settle for anything less than real change, fundamental change - change we need - change that we can believe in. It's change that I've been fighting for over two decades ago. Because those dreams - American dreams - are worth fighting for”.

Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream was: Free at last.  Part of his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1964: “ I have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. 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. I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. From every mountainside, let freedom ring. Free at last! Free at last! His Personal Brand came from his relentless devotion and hope to realize this dream and to realize a sustainable change in the US. He once said: “Put yourself in a state of mind where you say to yourself, ‘Here is an opportunity for me to celebrate like never before, my own power, my own ability to get myself to do whatever is necessary’.”

Mahatma Gandhi's dream was: Achieving freedom through the path of non-violence.His Personal Brand reflected his life style and moral and behavioral code, set down by this dream and hope. He was the man who played a significant role in achieving independence for India from the British Empire with his simplicity, strong willpower, and passion for real change. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi believed in living a simple life. He proved to the world that freedom and change can be achieved through the path of non-violence. Albert Einstein said of Gandhi: "Generations to come will scarcely believe that such a man in flesh and blood once trod upon this earth".

Nelson Mandela’s dream was: A free and just society in South Africa. This dream and lifelong passion was the pillar of his Personal Brand. He made conscious choices based on what he truly stood for and got credit for his relentless commitment to his dream and to his passion and hope for changing South Africa. Nelson Mandela is a fighter. Instead of bowing down to the unjust apartheid system of government, he became a lifelong warrior in the battle to free South Africa. Nelson Mandela's dream of transforming the racist society of South Africa into a multiracial democracy lasted more than 50 years. His determination to pursue that dream with passion and love, to keep fighting despite intense torments to both his people and himself, carried him to a day in May 1994 when he became the president of all South Africans.

Mikhail Gorbachev’s dream was/is: A Post-Nuclear Age. He built his Personal Brand around this dream and his passion for real change. This hope resulted in his concept of Perestroika (restructuring) and Glasnost (openness) which was a distinct break with the authoritarian past of the Soviet Union. He said: “We, our generation, were not associated with the repression. Moreover, we ourselves were aware of the repression, and that left its mark on us, because ours was an educated generation, a generation that knew its own value, and was capable of thinking for itself. When we found ourselves active participants in life, in work, and in politics, then we began to see a great deal and see it clearly. Little by little there came the awareness that in this country, this society, this system, no matter how hard we tried, no matter how sincere our convictions were, very little good could be achieved. Therefore the system had to be changed’.

They all: 

  • identified and leveraged their authentic, relevant, meaningful, exciting, inspiring, enduring, ambitious dream and hope 

  • responded to their dream/hope with love and passion and added value to others 

  • knew/know what made/make them unique, special, different and outstanding 

  • recognized and identified their genius and expanded their limits based on this 

  • succeeded by living according to their dream and doing related work they love(d)  

  • had/have faith in themselves and the courage to pursue their dream and hope, and based on this delivered peak performances and were/are exceptional 

Remember this (Rampersad, 2008): Dream it, hope it, believe it, fix it in your mind, visualize it, accept it, respond to it with love, passion, and integrity, give your peak performance to it and you will achieve it.

Like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, and Mikhail Gorbachev,  Barack Obama is a man of peace, love, integrity, and vision, who is fighting against oppression and political corruption.

We admire above mentioned role models because of their genius, achievements, success, and added value to others. Anyone can deliver peak performances and be successful in life, because all of us have the genius within us to do so. Success is not something that will come automatically or something that the world will define for you. It’s what you define in your ambitious dream (hope) and in the way you pursue this dream. Remember what Marva Collins said; ‘Success doesn’t come to you …you go to it’. You must have a dream in life, follow your heart and love what you do, if you expect exceptional success. You will surely have it, since people who ask for it, wish it, dream it, hope it, fix it in their mind, visualize it, feel it, allow it, give your peak performance to it, respond to it with love, passion and integrity, attract success. The discussed role models have proven that if someone has a clear authentic dream, responds to it with love and passion, has the courage to pursue this dream, has faith in him/herself, and lives according to their dream, this dream will guide that person’s life and will result in purposeful and resolute actions. My mentioned heroes took the responsibility to identify their authentic dreams and hope, and to respond to them with love and passion. Stop complaining and do not blame others for your failures. Take the initiative and the responsibility to develop, implement, and cultivate your authentic dream and hope as well, and keep it at the forefront of your mind each day. You should have faith in yourself.

Also remember this (Rampersad, 2008): no dream + no hope +no faith + no self-knowledge + no thinking + no mindset change + no integrity + no passion + no trust + no love = No Sustainable Change

Love is an important element in this equation. It is about loving yourself (self-love), loving others, and loving what you do. You should love yourself in at least equal measure to others or things. This can be found in most religions: “to love others as you love yourself”. Remember what Abraham Maslow said: “We can only respect others when we respect ourselves. We can only give, when we give to ourselves. We can only love, when we love ourselves”. Without knowing who you are (self-knowledge), it’s very difficult to love yourself and others. You need to make a positive emotional connection with yourself and find yourself interesting first, otherwise others you will not make a positive emotional connection with you and will not find you interesting. With an authentic Personal Brand (based on your dream), your strongest characteristics, attributes, and values can separate you from the crowd. Without this, you look just like everyone else.

 Read other articles and learn more about Dr. Hubert Rampersad.

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