Neil Tambe

I'm a Detroiter who happens to enjoy writing, national parks, orange juice, the performing arts, and fanciful socks. More than anything though, I aspire to be a good husband, father, and citizen.

Where are you, my dreamers?

Where are you my dreaming friends? The ones with the errant scribbles in your pockets and hopeful, irreverent, conviction. I want to support you, be your friend, and share my dreams with you too. But first, let me tell you about the types of dreams I don't mean.

THE WHEN YOU GROW UP DREAM - I think of this as the dream you have for your own life and how you fit into the world. Maybe you want a spouse and kids. Maybe you want to be a PTA president when you grow up. Maybe you want to be a business leader or a sculptor. This type of dream is the answer to the "What do you want to do with your life?" question. These dreams are important, but this is not the dream I mean.

THE LEGACY DREAM - This is the dream of how you wish to be remembered. What will people say about you during your eulogy? In 100 years how will people talk about you? How will you ensure your contribution to the world? These dreams are important, but this is not the dream I mean.

The sort of dream I mean is what I call the DESTINATION dream. These dreams are the visions you have for the world around you, even if you're not there. The dreams you have about the human condition and the potential of what the world could be. This is the dream of a better destination, regardless of who leads the journey. This is the dream that you can commit to even if it comes true without you or you never get credit for your contribution. The reward of having the dream come true is reward enough.

I came across a story of a Destination Dreamer today, reading this article about Elon Musk (h/t to my friend Dominik).

I've never met the Elon, so he may be an ego maniac. But to be honest, it doesn't sound like it. It sincerely sounds like he wants to colonize mars and rid the world of fossil-fuel cars because that's his point of view on how to preserve the future of the human race.

Such a Destination Dreamer - especially one with such grand visions - is rare. I have my theories on why.

I honestly feel the world we live in (in particular MY corner of the world, at least) discourages the sort of destination-focused dreams I mean. My world has taught me to set goals, achieve them, and reap the rewards and credit. My world talks about quantifying the results on your resume. My world talks about being a leader and running organizations efficiently. My world scoffs at the liberal arts because they are not "marketable" (which they are, by the way).

Surely results, efficiency, and practicality are important. But let's not forget about the real, important dreaming.

Where would we be after all if there were no dream about a world rid of slavery, or a country that actively protected life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Where would we be without the dream of eradicating smallpox or malaria. Thinking even smaller, where would we be if no neighbors anywhere imagined a safe street and a park with a small field for the neighborhood kids to play?

These dreams give us the path to carve out a better world and shape it to honor the dignity of the gift of our lives.

Which is why I ask, where are you my dreamers?

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To be honest, I'm still working arduously to articulate my dreams - they've certainly vacillated throughout my life. Right now I have two interpretations:

I dream about a time when everyone living in Detroit and Southeast Michigan feel like they have agency to live a life of their choosing.

I dream about a world in which communities have systems and infrastructure to prevent human suffering (whether at the neighborhood, corporate, or national level) from ever occurring.

This is why I always think about campaign finance reform and civic engagement. These dreams are why I write constantly about innovation and how to ensure that companies don't create economic value by destroying social, civic, or spiritual value.

Again I repeat: to all the dreamers out there, I'd like to be friends so that we can share our dreams.

***This is an open offer to anyone reading this post. I'd be happy as can be to let you make a cameo post on this blog to talk about your dreams. I will not edit your content, I only insist that you attach your name to your remarks.