… Dumbo: the feather the crows give Dumbo so that he can fly.
Dumbo has no idea that he can fly. It’s not part of the ordinary stuff that elephants can do. But his ears are just so … huge … and it just seems like a possibility. … If he can overcome the notion that elephants can’t fly.
But the crows know that nobody thinks they can fly, until they flap their little wings (or ears, as the case may be) and realize that they’re soaring over the ground. The crows know that all Dumbo needs is a way to counteract that whole elephants-can’t-fly thing. The crows know that if he can overcome his own arbitrary boundaries, then Dumbo can do anything. Anything.
In the real world, people tend to be … negative. Some people can be very negative. There is a fair bit of unpleasantness in this world, to be sure, but that’s not usually what all the negativity is about. It’s about ourselves. We don’t like how we look. We don’t think we’re smart. We don’t think we’re good. We don’t think we’ll ever get anywhere. We don’t think we’ll be “allowed” to get anywhere, or be anyone any different, or do anything that we want to do. We feel trapped, and fatalistic, and resigned, and sad.
But what if we can fly?
What if we can break all the boundaries and ceilings and walls and limits, and do whatever we want to do? What if the only thing standing in the way of our dreams is ourselves? You might be thinking, “Yeah, but that’s not a very motivational example; people can’t actually fly.” But in 1783, the Montgolfier brothers went up in their first balloon. In 1903, the Wright brothers flew 120 feet. Today, people fly all over the world, in planes made out of metal. People parachute out of those planes, or fly dangling from hang-gliders. If the Cirque du Soleil is any indication, then people can defy all kinds of gravity and other laws of physics, for no good reason other than that they thought they could.
We can fly.
If the crows handed you a magical feather, and told you that you could fly with it, what would you do? Where would you go? Who would you be? Maybe you can’t fly in the “I jumped off the garage roof and soared over the neighbourhood” way, but in a lot of ways, you can fly. And if you trust that magic, and take that first step into the air, you’ll be able to do anything.