Challenges for Community Development – Dreaming the Unreasonable Dream

One of challenges facing us is what should we do when the people we are helping have aspirations that are just so… well…unreasonable.   Everybody wants to win the x-factor, be a model/professional footballer or bag millions on the national lottery.

What is the best response to such dreamers?  Options include…

  1. Share with them a liberal dose of ‘reality’ based on our knowledge of probabilities in the real world and encourage them to develop plan B
  2. Wish them the best of luck – but reserve our energies and ambitions for the more practically minded
  3. Roll our sleeves up and help

There is of course only one answer if we are really interested in ‘development’ , the process of people exploring their potential and how it can be fulfilled in the world; rather than ‘envelopment’ the process of engaging people in well worn ‘pathways to success’ usually developed by an employer skills board of some description.

If we are interested in development then our role is to help people in the pursuit of their dreams and aspirations and to help them (if necessary) develop their dreams and aspirations in the light of feedback and experience.

But we should discredit their dreams at our peril.

Over the years I have collected a number of business ideas that ‘should never have worked’.  Any ‘practical and rational’ adviser would have ‘persuaded’ the potential entrepreneur to think again, to try something more sensible.  Yet all of these ideas worked – both economically and socially.

Here are some of my favourites…

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