First of all, dreams have motivated countless millions to begin the journey along the highway to success. As the following story shows, a dream world can be a good place to live - as long as we don't become permanent residents.
In June 1940, a 4.5 pound baby girl was born to a poor family in rural and segregated Tennessee. At age 4, she developed lameness in her left foot and leg, and was diagnosed with polio, which was then incurable. It seemed she was destined to spend her life in leg braces.
The only nearby hospital was for whites only so, twice a week, her mother drove her 50 miles for treatment. Those long road trips gave the child time to dream, as she visualized what her life could be like without braces.
Wilma Rudolph had no intention of staying in her dream world. By age 12, with constant exercise, she had shed her braces. She could walk on her own - and she could run! Oh, how she could run! She earned a track scholarship to college and, in 1960, at the Summer Olympic Games in Rome, she became the first American woman ever to win three gold medals in Olympic competition.
After returning from Rome, and until her death from cancer in 1994, she enjoyed a distinguished career as a teacher, coach, broadcaster, and founder of the Wilma Rudolph Foundation. No longer living in her dream world, she was quick to acknowledge the value of the time she spent there.
"Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit," she said. "The potential for greatness lies within each of us."