After escaping from the bilge of their captors’ ship, aspiring pirate king Monkey D. Luffy and his new, angsty friend Koby have some time to kill while waiting for their dinghy to reach land.
When Koby has yet another panic attack about being lost in open waters, Luffy asks him: “Koby, if you could do anything in the world right now, what would it be?” “I guess there’s one thing,” Koby says, “but it’s dumb.” BAM. Before he can see it coming, Koby realizes he’s been slapped in the face. So far, it’s only him that’s dumb, Luffy claims. “Now spit it out.”
“I’ve always wanted to be a Marine,” Koby relents. “Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to protect people that can’t protect themselves.” “Ahhh,” Luffy goes, seeming no less satisfied than a miner who just unearthed a treasure he has been seeking for years. “I told you it was dumb,” Koby says, but, with a grin, Luffy only shakes his head. “If that’s what you want, I think you should do it. I’ll help you out.”
Now, in most other conversations among friends, this would perhaps not be a normal but surely a welcome response. The only problem in this one? Luffy and Koby met just 30 minutes ago. Who’d care so much about a stranger? Let alone go to great lengths to help them? Koby is suspicious. “You don’t even know me.” But Luffy simply insists: “We shared a meal, Koby. And if being a Marine is your dream, that’s good enough for me.”
This kind of genuine, sometimes naive but heartfelt attitude is not only how you get people to love the hero on a brand new Netflix show 20 minutes in, it’s also the gold standard of confidence. You might not have a Luffy in your life to slap the silliness out of you and remind you, but when you look in the mirror, even if you don’t believe it at the time, you should always say, “If that’s your dream, it’s good enough for me.”
There are no dumb dreams — only dumbness in adrift people. People lost at sea who’ve had other drifters talk their dreams out of them, just like they were once fooled into no longer believing in themselves or their desires.
That’s okay. It happens. We all get lost sometimes. But as long as we can feel even the tiniest spark of our grandest ambition, not only do we owe it to ourselves and the world to not give up, but we must use that fire to relight the same spark in others. Pull fellow drifters from the water, hand them a towel, and remind them: “If that’s what you want, I think you should do it. I’ll help you out.”
If we can one day be Koby, confused and stuck in a dead end, who says we can’t be Luffy the next? A voice of sheer support and complete confidence, ready to echo in our own and everyone else’s head, the whole crew en route to their dreams.
You are not done, my friend. You’ve got a whole lot left to do, and whether it’s raising two honest, hardworking kids, hosting an annual comedy show for your local community, or starting a company that’ll change the world, if that’s what you want, I think you should do it.
You are not Koby. You are Monkey D. Luffy, and you will be king of the pirates — or at least your own little hill in a tiny corner of the world — and if that’s your dream, it’s good enough for me.