Vincent Van Gogh wrote “I dream my painting and paint my dream” and Greg Cary reminds us of the power of dream and acting on it.

There is much talk about the absence of role models for our children. Those making the claim show a certain lack of imagination because they are all around if we simply care to look.

Sport is often singled out for a particular responsibility in this area, as if kicking a ball or running fast require skills unknown to teachers, ballet dancers, musicians, architects, engineers and parents. Indeed, things like dedication, hard work, sacrifice and discipline are just some of the traits that the best in any area of endeavour have in common.

Sport, of course, is an important feature of Australian life and we’ve always had a smorgasbord of people to admire.

Jarryd Hayne is but one. Jarryd – a former Parramatta Eel – has decided to test his skills in the NFL in the United States and made some valuable points in explaining his decision.

As to be expected many said he was stupid to turn his back on a job he did so well. Hayne, instead, sent a powerful message that the challenge of the ocean can be a more tempting option that the safety of the harbour. Moreover, being good – even excellent – at something does not guarantee enjoyment or satisfaction in what you are doing.

There are many successful people whose success is only equalled by their unhappiness. Psychologists would have their own theory but perhaps such people like the certainty of their misery better than the prospect of change and the uncertainty that accompanies it.

For whatever reasons, Jarryd was jaded with rugby league. It happens in all walks of life and often times people stick at something for all the wrong reasons. Speaking to a young doctor recently he told me his dream was to be a pilot. I asked him why he didn’t pursue his dream and he replied that his parents wouldn’t have it. How sad.

Hayne’s message is far more positive. “Other people don’t control my emotions, I do”. For all there is to admire about his athletic talent, there was much to respect in this as well. On a daily basis we hear people blaming how they feel and behave on the actions and words of others. ‘You made me do this; you made me feel that.’ Not true. We can’t control what happens to us but we can control our response.

He said as well that “I don’t fear failure – so that’s not an issue”.

How many people, I wonder, give in to that fear and never experience what might’ve been. The road not travelled leaves many wonderful things unseen.

More than one writer accused Hayne of arrogance for honestly saying, “I’m going there to prove to myself that I can do something that’s never been done.” Arrogant? Only if you say the same about Edmund Hillary, Neil Armstrong, Roger Bannister, John Bertrand and all the others down the years who have dared to dream. Because this is essentially what it’s all about – one man’s dream. You cannot fail in the pursuit of a dream because the destination is just the full stop on the journey.

The world is a lesser place for those who spend their time telling us what we can and can’t do and who seek to define how things should be. Let them wade in the shallow waters while our children look towards the horizon.
Will Jarryd make it in the NFL? Probably not, but in the attempt he gives himself a better chance than had he stayed at home. Should he miss out, he’ll return refreshed, enriched and invigorated. Better.

Right now though, he’s living the dream.

What do you think of Jarryd’s decision? Tell us in the comments below.