Dream big, live to your fullest
Welcome to my inspiration! I'm Ling Zhang, the author of Grow to Your Fullest. I believe you're here with a purpose or a dream.
I was born to be a dreamer. Dreaming is the main theme of my life, driving me to live each day with passion, hope and meaning. Dreams are my rainbows. Here I will share with you my life journey in chasing rainbow dreams.
Growing up in a small village in pre-eighties China, poverty was around, no milk, no bread and no meat – I even ate wild vegetables and tree leaves. However, I was rich in dreams. The beauty of nature – twinkling stars, silvery moon light, radiant sunrise, flowers in seasons brought me many beautiful dreams.
As a little girl, I yearned for a floral shirt, especially during the New Year. I did not dare to ask because I knew my parents had no money.
But that didn't stop me from dreaming. I would close my eyes and imagine wearing a finely crafted silk floral shirt. One summer, when I turned twelve, my father brought home a piece of silk fabric. My mother turned it into a beautiful shirt. I was so excited when I put it on and run out to show off the shirt to my little friends. I danced and danced in the yard – the winds were my music and the tree leaves clapped their hands. They all joined me in celebrating my new shirt.
One day, I was told there is a country called America, a beautiful country and it is on the other side of the earth. I said, ‘Oh, it’s beneath my feet’. I dreamt of traveling through a tunnel in the earth and went to the other side and touched the heels of a giant American…
After I learned science, the mysteries of nature attracted me more. I pondered why the waxing and waning of the moon and how the day and night are formed. I dreamed of becoming a scientist like Albert Einstein. At times, I dreamt of becoming a doctor or a renowned author. However, life took me on a different path, and I ended up studying mathematics at a prestigious university—a path I never dreamt of.
Did my dreams shatter? I believed so at times. After college, I resurrected a childhood dream and came to America to pursue a master's degree in mathematics. Instead of tunneling through the earth as I dreamed, I flew to this country. In 1998, I landed a job as a software engineer and obtained my master's degree in computer science within two years. I stayed in Ohio for 17 years, during which significant events shaped my life. Two snapshots stand out: firstly, my values about life were transformed. I went from being skeptical to becoming a person of faith, believing in a God who initiated everything—my life and my dreams. From then on, I began dreaming of noble and seemingly impossible aspirations. Secondly, in 2006, I became a Toastmaster, which fueled my dream of becoming a speaker and an author. In April 2014, I published the book Grow to Your Fullest to inspire others to live their lives to the fullest.
Today I stand here because I got a dream to come to America when I was a little girl; today I am a data scientist because I dreamed of being a scientist when I was little; I became an author in 2014 also because I dreamed of being one. I continued to dream, aspired to become an entrepreneur. Now I am an entrepreneur. My journey of dreams is ongoing...
There's a saying that the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Dear friends, do you have a dream, if not, please have a dream. Not only one, I hope you dream more, dream big and dream the impossible. Let your dreams draw your tomorrow, your plans make the roadmap and your actions pave the way and believe your dreams are the rainbows that hold the promise to a rainbow tomorrow!