The nest of young eagles hung on to every word as the Master Eagle described his exploits. This was an important day for the eaglets. They were preparing for their first solo flight from the nest. It was the confidence builder many of them needed to fulfill their destiny.
"How far can I travel?" asked one of the eaglets. "How far can you see?" responded the Master Eagle.
"How high can I fly?" quizzed the young eaglet. "How far can you stretch your wings?" asked the old eagle.
"How long can I fly?" the eaglet persisted. "How far is the horizon?" the mentor rebounded.
"How much can I achieve?" the young eagle continued. "How much can you believe?" the old eagle challenged.
Frustrated by the banter, the young eagle demanded, "Why don't you answer my questions?"
"Yes. But you answered them with questions."
"I answered them the best I could."
"But you're the Master Eagle. You're supposed to know everything. If you can't answer these questions, who can?"
"You." The old wise eagle reassured. "Me? How?" the young eagle was confused.
"No one can tell you how high to fly or how much to dream. It's different for each eagle. Only God and you know how far you'll go. No one on this earth knows your potential or what's in your heart. You alone will answer that. The only thing that limits you is the edge of your imagination."
The young eagle, puzzled by this asked, "What should I do?"
"Look to the horizon, spread your wings, and fly."
How much I should aspire to need not be equal to how much I will achieve. Too large a mismatch between my assessment of potential based on circumstances and the track record of my actual accomplishments would at best be frustrating and, at worst, hinder even attainable goals. The history of visionaries teaches us not to be too realistic. A sweet spot seems to exist somewhere between pragmatism and dreams. The trick is to periodically examine our goals, direction, achievements and fine-tune as we go along.