Who is Rudy?
His name is Rudy Ruettiger. Growing up, Rudy had a dream – as all kids do. Rudy was a small guy, short in stature and not the strongest of young men. He found himself playing defensive end for Joliet Catholic High School. Although he wasn’t physically the biggest, he had something else that provided him with the motivation to achieve his dreams.
Throughout his childhood, it was known to Rudy that he would one day play football for the University of Notre Dame. His critics would taunt him and laugh at him. More than belittling Rudy, they were belittling his dream. This didn’t phase Rudy, as he continued to press on and work towards his dream of running through the stadium tunnel for the Fighting Irish.
Rudy studied harder, longer and better than others. He practiced until he physically couldn’t practice anymore. Pushing the critics to the side, Rudy never lost sight of his dream and expended every waking minute working towards making it a reality.
In 1993, his story made it to the big screen. Playing the role of Rudy, Sean Astin is wins the hearts of the audience as he earns a walk-on scholarship. The movie Rudy takes the viewer through the struggles that Rudy Ruettiger overcame while working his way onto the roster for the 1974 Notre Dame Football team. This film is not only one of character, integrity and hard work. It is the story of a young man whose dream was attained because he had a vision in mind.
Putting Your Dream to the Test
I am nearing the end of the book written by John C. Maxwell titled, Put Your Dream to the Test. As the reader, if there is a dream that you have in mind, the question you ask yourself is, “How do I get there?” Each chapter is devoted to asking yourself a specific question that helps the reader to see and seize any dream.
Are you in pursuit of your dream for yourself or others? Have you made your dream a priority? Do you have a passion for what your dream entails? Are you building on your strengths to get consistently good results?
In order to make dreams a reality, these are the types of questions you need to ask yourself. These are the questions that I’m sure if you asked Rudy Ruettiger today, he would respond with a ‘yes’ that he did all of these things. More importantly than being able to respond with ‘yes’, Rudy will also say that he had a clear vision. He knew what he wanted, he worked towards it, he learned from his struggles, and he didn’t stop until what he wanted was attained. Without a vision, this story may not be what it is today.
Reaching Your Dreams Makes you Above Average
Have you set yourself on the path to reaching your dream? Do you even know where to start? The following are three simple steps to get you going:
- Write it down and be specific – For example, if you wanted to play an instrument, then you would write: “I want to learn to play the piano so that I can play music for my children”. The key to being specific is that it reinforces why you want to do something. It is usually the ‘why’ that motivates us. Specificity provides clarity. For Rudy, it was because he wanted to, and everyone else told him he couldn’t.
- Write down 3 things that it is going to require to achieve your dream – Is your dream to open up an orphanage in a developing country? For this example you might write down, (1) visit a developing country, (2) become childcare certified, and (3) gain non-profit work experience. While these won’t be the only three steps it will require, they will provide you with the framework for where the vision of your dream is taking you.
- Share your dream with someone else – There is no need to withhold your dream from others. Share your vision as clearly as you can. Then have the courage to ask them for feedback and help in getting you to where you want to be.
I’m not the type of person who wants to walk through life being average or being seen as average – I hope you’re not as well. While there is nothing wrong with being average, I have found in my personal experiences that being average breeds complacency. And complacency breeds mediocrity.
Challenge yourself and allow those challenges to help you grow. Set goals and dreams for yourself and go after them. When your dreams become a reality, dream something new and dream something bigger. This will make you stand out from the crowd.
There is a scene in Rudy when Rudy’s best friend Pete gives him a leather Notre Dame jacket. Rudy can’t believe it as he knows Pete likely could afford such a jacket. When Rudy thanks Pete, Pete replies back, “Having dreams is what makes life tolerable.”
Life can be damned hard and no one said it would be easy. Although, you throw in your dreams mixed in with a clear vision, and life can be everything you will ever hope.