This morning, I was perusing an article on LinkedIn by Jeff Haden, which declared that irrational optimism is the key to success. As much as I identify as a pragmatist, I have one dream that is the epitome of irrational. I will run for president in 2052.
Running for president is not a new or fleeting passion for me; it is a position of public service that I have been pursuing since childhood. Growing up, I was inundated with various political views from my divorced parents, who shared their radically opposite ideologies with me. My mother is extremely liberal and married to an extraordinarily active union member and my father is a small business owning conservative. Starting in middle school, I would often debate my teachers on pressing political issues from entitlement reform to American foreign policy. For me, problem solving through a complex and multi-faceted political issue is an incredible and rewarding challenge.
When I began high school, my grandmother, who is also politically active, began taking me to political functions and I also paged every year at the Indiana State House. These were eye-opening experiences that transformed my ideological views into real places where such change and reform “could” be accomplished. Through those years, my political views evolved significantly. In my senior year of high school, I received an internship with the Libertarian Party of Indiana that again helped expand my view of real life policy making.
Whether I run for president in 2052 or not is irrelevant. I strongly believe I will be rewarded in full by simply having a lofty and idealistic dream for the next 37 years. My personal goal will help guide me through tough decisions. It will help inspire me to pursue difficult paths, and it will help define me as a person and a professional. Regardless of what your dream is or where it may take you, persist and pursue it as though it is not only a possibility, but a likelihood. We often naively underestimate the power of a dream. Walt Disney understood the power and implications of dreams when he declared, “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Austin will matriculate at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University in the fall to study Finance, International Business, and Spanish.