By Tori Tolbert
We must change the mindset of our young community and give hope to those that are raising our young men and women to become the positive influencers in society. One man that is making the pipe dreams a ladder that we can all build upon is actor and author Dayo Olatokun.
Dayo was a guest on our podcast KUTC Live | Keeping up the Conversation. Here is a snippet of the pre-interview conversation. The live interview can be found here: Dayo Interview
Q: What was your Ah-ha moment when you realized dreams can be turned into life’s biggest accomplishments?
A: It was the night I had the revelation in the back of my car about the youth program; I’d ultimately start. The vision was so clear; me in front of a classroom encouraging students to pursue their passions early so their entire educational and social life can revolve around it.
Q: In the first chapter of your new book P.I.P.E. Dreams you mention “Self-discovery is a journey towards fulfillment. To discover the area(s) where we’re gifted, we must go back to the time when we weren’t inundated with bills, dependents, and responsibilities. How can a young man/woman find their gift if they are not sure where to start?
A: I always begin the G.P.A. workshops by having students write down five things they love to do, and would do forever if they could get paid for it. It could be a hobby, an after school activity, or some hidden talent no one even knows you have...but you do. I then select volunteers to read their five things aloud in front of the classroom. The first couple of answers are always the socially acceptable answers of a doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc. But as we get down to numbers 3-5, we almost always get the truth.
As each participant finishes their reading, I ask their fellow students which of the five answers do they think the participant loves the most? And they ALWAYS get the right answer! When asked what made them choose their answer, they say things like “she smiled when she mentioned dance”, “he scratched his head when he mentioned technology” “her whole body language changed when she said decorating.” No matter what they list on that paper, their physical response to what they love will always present itself. That’s where they’re gifted. When you’re gifted at something your body responds just by the subject being mentioned.
Q: How can a person who has experienced failure believe in the P.I.P.E. Dream?
A: You can try to leave your P.I.P.E. Dream, but it will never leave you. Whatever that dream or vision is, it will always come up in conversation, pop up in your dreams at night or day, and simply rest in your soul/subconscious until you decide to bring it back to the forefront. Failure is inevitable, yet not a reason to about your dreams. There’s a reason why actors don’t invite people to their rehearsals, or recording artists don’t invite everyone to their studio sessions. They already know they’ll encounter some level of failure or disappointment while developing the project. However, the project will continue because the vision is clear. They know what it should look and sound like so they’ll keep working at it until they’re satisfied with what they’re trying to produce. That same mindset is applicable to any industry a person has an interest in. Your dream does not evaporate because you experience failure. It actually magnifies once you’ve learned from the experience.
Q: Under Sacrifice - What are a few ways that we can practice sacrifice when it comes to turning down family functions or hanging out with friends for our own priorities?
A: Oh this is easy. Try to remember the feeling you get every time you’ve sacrificed your agenda to make family and friends your priority. You either lost an opportunity or lost time which YOU responsibly carved out to meet YOUR goals. Those are opportunities and time you will never get back. I’m not saying to hold on to it as a form of resentment, but rather as a reminder that YOU need to be the priority when it comes to your P.I.P.E. Dreams. The word no is a valuable commodity in your journey. I mentioned in the book that if your rare NO is all it takes to put a strain on any relationship, then it was one-sided to begin with. When you discover you have P.I.P.E. Dreams, people’s priorities must take a backseat to your purpose...even when it’s family.
Q: When you look back on your journey, what advice would you give your younger self?
A: I would say “Dayo, you have the right to be happy.” I made so many decisions with the intent of making my family or people I respected happy. Which resulted in suppressing too much of my own desires. I would better walk the fine line between sacrifice and sanity.
Q: What is your next P.I.P.E. Dream?
A: Through collaborations, I’d like to start producing content such as podcasts, sketch comedy, tv shows, and things of that nature. I also want to produce events like workshops, forums, celebrations, fashion shows, art galas, community projects. I like making a big deal out of anything I’m a part of, therefore events are a MUST!