By Sunny Verma
Sunny Verma is the Toronto Public Library's 2014 Entrepreneur in Residence. Sunny, founder and CEO of TutorBright, is an advocate of self-employment, dedicating his time to help individuals realize their dreams through entrepreneurship.
The first time I can recall intuitively understanding what the words “Whatever the mind can conceive, and believe, it can achieve,” meant, I was a 5-year-old boy living in the squalors of India. A distant uncle visited us, and generously took my brothers and I to our first western movie.
It was a James Bond show. One scene in particular struck a chord with me - James Bond (in those days played by Sean Connery) was in Zurich having coffee on a sidewalk cafe beside a very beautiful river with a stunning blonde woman. It was the first time I had the opportunity to see what life outside my tiny, slummy neighborhood looked like, and I longed to escape. I left the theater believing without a doubt that one day I was going to visit Zurich, and have a coffee on a sidewalk river café, just like James Bond. Keep in mind, I was a very poor child, being raised by a single mother in the lowliest neighborhoods in India. At that time, to the outsider looking in (and even to the insiders I lived among) the chance of me ever leaving those dirt streets I called home was next to nothing.
But the image stuck in my mind until it was tattooed onto my brain. The years went on, and I got the opportunity to attend a Canadian university through a scholarship. As I was making my travel arrangements (to leave the home almost everyone told me I would be chained to) it occurred to me that I was going to be flying across the world. Surely, at some point along that route, I would come close to Switzerland. On a whim, I asked the travel agent if it would be possible to make a stopover there. Somehow, he managed to make this work!
As I sat on a sidewalk café situated along Zurich’s beautiful river Limmat, sipping my coffee on a sunny fall day, it flashed through my mind that the longing I held for almost 15 years had come to fruition. Through one tiny seed of thought, backed by childlike faith, some unknown force had orchestrated this very moment.
As I embarked on my journey, I truly felt that whatever my mind could conceive, and believe, it would achieve. Armed with this knowledge, I wondered why I had limited my dream. While sipping coffee on that sidewalk café was truly a symbol of how far I had come, my only minor regret was not adding the detail about the gorgeous blonde woman sitting across from James Bond to my vision (if my wife is reading this, this is joke).
All of us should dream big. So why do so many of us settle for pennies? Our limitations are only in our minds.