On March 31st, 1889, the already famous (and infamous) Eiffel Tower was formally inaugurated. It was the majestic fulfilment of a dream, one that started many years before, from the creative mind of Maurice Koechlin….
What? Who? Pump the breaks. Where is Gustave Eiffel in this story?
Keep reading to discover how contagious dreams can be and how they can lead others to great things.
The Towering Man
Gustave Eiffel, just like myself, was an engineer. Also similar to my story, he was born into an immigrant family that moved from Germany to France (although I am a Brazilian living in the US).
He had what we would call a pretty standard professional career. He studied a lot to get his engineering degree, started with entry-level jobs in engineering companies, created marvelous and practical designs for all kinds of bridges and structures, and slowly fought his way up the corporate ladder.
But he did not stop there. Feeling the corporate path was limited, he finally decided to start his own company. And because he did, the world now has the Eiffel Tower.
From Mind to Paper
In 1884, the city of Paris started a competition to create a monument for the 1889 world fair that would celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution. And everyone wanted something as grand as the revolution itself.
An engineer and designer working from home, in his spare time, was the first to dream of it and put the idea down on the paper. This person was Maurice Koechlin, an employee of Gustave Eiffel.
Eiffel didn’t actually love the project at first. In fact, he almost shut it down completely. But after some modifications and improvements, and much insistence from Maurice, Eiffel was so engaged with the design that he started to dream about it himself. So much so, that he bought the rights from his employee and pitched it to the committee responsible for choosing the final monument.
As you may have guessed, he won the contest … but not yet the hearts of the Parisiens.
Who do you think objected the most against the construction of the Eiffel Tower? The narrow-minded? The uneducated? The traditional elite? None of those. The artists did.
Here is an actual quote from them:
“We, writers, painters, sculptors, architects and passionate devotees of the hitherto untouched beauty of Paris, protest with all our strength, with all our indignation in the name of slighted French taste, against the erection … of this useless and monstrous Eiffel Tower … To bring our arguments home, imagine for a moment a giddy, ridiculous tower dominating Paris like a gigantic black smokestack, crushing under its barbaric bulk Notre Dame, the Tour Saint-Jacques, the Louvre, the Dome of les Invalides, the Arc de Triomphe, all of our humiliated monuments will disappear in this ghastly dream. And for twenty years … we shall see stretching like a blot of ink the hateful shadow of the hateful column of bolted sheet metal.”
Tough crowd, right?
From Paper to Steel
Against all odds and much criticism, Eiffel plowed through and began the construction of what would become the symbol of Paris.
It took two years to build the Eiffel Tower.
It took a bit more time than that to win the people over, but eventually even the most ardent protesters ended up embracing the dream and adopting the new monument as their own.
And do you know why?
Dreaming Is Not Enough
There is one basic truth that works the same for all human beings: We all love dreams, but we love things that we can touch, smell, see, hear, and taste much more.
It is not enough to only have a dream—even a fantastic, marvelous dream. You need to make your dreams a reality, and nobody will do that for you. Yes, there will be naysayers, and critics, and protesters; but the more you move forward, the closer you will be to your dreams.
Because the more you make your dreams a reality, the more they will infect other people. And the more people who can touch, smell, see, hear, and taste your fulfilled dreams, the more of them will move from the NO column to the YES column and eventually to the LOVE column.
Our Dreams are Just Beginning
I am 45 years old and my dreams are just beginning. A few weeks ago, I published my first book, a dream of over 20 years. And guess what? There are people who are loving it. Loving to read my dream in book form.
What are your dreams? What do you have inside your chest, heart, and mind that needs to bloom out into the world at large?
Don’t hold back!
I am cheering you on; I want to see your tower of a dream become reality.