John Lennon: Produce Your Own Dream

Let’s face it: there is no one who doesn’t at least appreciate the Beatles.  Growing up, I didn’t know exactly who they were until I first listened to “Here Comes the Sun” on a car ride home one day.  That song didn’t change my life, but it did change my outlook a little bit.  Whenever I’m sad, distressed, or angry, reminding myself that the sun will come up another day is refreshing.

This comic especially interested me because of its relevance to my own life.  I’ll admit it: I’m a self inhibitor. I convince myself that my dreams are impractical, unworkable, and impossible because of a whole variety of factors -hierarchy, capitalism, patriarchy- that are mostly unrelated to what I actually want to accomplish.  To say that these factors don’t hold people, especially women, back  would be a farce.  With that said, I’ve used these inhibitors to justify my inaction on a constant basis.  I used to want to do neuroscience, but hearing my mom’s stories of being a woman in STEM  scared me off, so I decided I didn’t want to do neuroscience.  I used to want to be a politician, but seeing how few women make it to congress and how even fewer hold the presidency (none), I decided I probably shouldn’t.  I’ve ignored and suppressed my interests because I see the uphill battle not as an obstacle to overcome but as giant impassible wall that I shouldn’t attempt to climb.  Sure, it may be difficult to be a woman in these fields, there’s no denying that.  But avoiding challenges out of fear doesn’t get much done.  No one is going to remember the people who identified the problems; they’re going to remember the ones who overcame the challenge, solved the problem, or died trying.

I guess that’s why the phrase “produce your own dream” really stood out to me.  I’m doing women a disservice by standing idly by as others do the work that I dream to.  The signposts that John Lennon mentions in his comic that lead us are absolutely true. The artist, Gavin Aung Tang, draws pictures contrasting a statue of John Lennon himself and a crowd of people.  In the end, we see that the group are the empowered ones and that the statue is just the mirage that our dreams are unachievable.  Our leaders can’t do our work for us; however, their successes can guide us. People who have achieved great things tell us to “just do it” every day, but instead of focusing on their message, we focus on the strangeness with which they deliver it; I’m looking at you Shia Leboeuf.  It doesn’t matter what you worship- God, food, success, happiness- we’re all fish in this great big sea and the only way we’re going to make something out of ourselves is by finding our coral reef.  I think I’ve convinced myself that doing what I’m interested in must entail me finding my comfort zone.  Now I realize that mistake.  We can be interested in something and still bloody at the nails from fighting to stay relevant.  Challenge those preconceptions that women can’t do science; fight the stereotype that men are more credible speakers; battle the status quo.  In the words of John Lennon himself,”it’s quite possible to do anything.”

Need your own inspiration, look here:


7 thoughts on “John Lennon: Produce Your Own Dream

  1. I really enjoyed reading your blog post because I felt like I could actually connect to your ideas. Like you, I find that I am a self inhibitor and, often times, my own worst enemy. I think this idea also applies to my everyday life as well as career goals that you mentioned in your blog post. Even when other people believe I can achieve something, I doubt them because I sometimes lack self-confidence. One relevant example of this relates to college applications; I want to apply to top out-of-state schools, but I doubt myself of my ability to be accepted and fear getting rejected and ultimately “failing” (“failing” in quotation marks because basing self-worth or really anything substantial on college rejection letters is unreasonable). But, as you mentioned, staying in my comfort zone (in the college application case, just applying to “safe” schools) to avoid failing is a mistake.
    To realize something new about yourself, sometimes you just have to venture out of your comfort zone a little and learn that it’s okay to fail because this is the only way to actually “produce your own dream”–a lesson I am still working on learning.
    I missed this comic while searching through the Zen Pencils sight a while ago, but I’m glad I got to read it and your post over it! They were both awesome and inspiring!


    1. Thank you for your response! I think you’re right; giving anything a shot is better than not trying at all. Although failure and the fear of rejection is frightening, it’s worth the risk. At the end of the day, I think we’re going to be just fine! 🙂


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  3. Recently, I’ve been bringing up current issues related to gender inequality and socioeconomic disadvantage and racial discrimination with some acquaintances of mine, and initially their responses left me quite unhappy. Their replies were essentially:

    “Sucks for them.”

    Or so I thought at first. After multiple attempts to make these individuals show some empathy or at least agree with me in a word, I began to realize that their true opinions on the subjects were just what you brought up in your last paragraph; that is, we can throw little fits about the injustice that exists in our world, and some of that is important and necessary, but what really matters is whether we strive to break those barriers by doing the best we can for ourselves. It’s been hard for me to accept their premise (and honestly, I haven’t completely) that we have to be primarily selfish when it comes to general betterment of our worlds, but if we don’t push ourselves to reach a position of power or influence, how can we have an effect on these issues large enough to be really valuable?

    What I’ve gotten so far from my discussions is: talk is talk; doing for ourselves comes first, and helping others will follow. What do you think?


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