That’s right! You read it right. ‘Why you SHOULD listen to people who say that you can’t or that you won’t do something’.
The conventional advice is “Follow the crowd! Follow the majority! Do what everyone is doing!”.
If you follow that advice, you will be digging your own grave. It is often those who don’t follow that advice that fare well in accomplishing greatness.
What is the relationship between this conventional advice and the content of this blog post?
Many times, when you enthusiastically talk about your goals, dreams, something as little as a book you read – if what you are doing is in any way unconventional, people around you will do whatever they can to bring your spirit to dilution in terms of enthusiasm.
Listen to them and listen to them carefully. Because, when I listen to such people, all I observe coming out of their mouths are nothing but a bunch of baloney. When you carefully observe what they speak, you can realize it too.
Chris Gardner said it right. People can’t do something themselves and they will tell you you can’t do it either.
I have seen this happen a lot of times -in my college, in my workplace, everywhere I go literally. There are always gonna be people who will tell you that. It isn’t that you should listen to. It is the way they try to defend their perspective towards why they think so, that you should listen to.
I got a job in PayPal. One of my classmates was telling me, “You’re lucky dude. But if they are giving you that hefty amount for the internship stipend itself, they will definitely squeeze every last bit of life in you! You are in it for a feast. Enjoy while you can!”
I won’t talk about what happened to that classmate or what he accomplished in his life. Last thing I know, I don’t know his whereabouts or what he is doing. Needless to say, I didn’t defend what he said on that occasion. It did piss me off, mind you. That was an occasion when I finally started accepting the reality that whatever I wanted to make happen had finally happened. And projecting all his negativity on that, did piss me off a little bit. I just didn’t respond to it. In reality, I knew how PayPal’s work culture was. It’s pretty chilled out, the company takes care of its employees to its best ability. We have the freedom to work from home and there are no time related regulations as to when one should come to work and when one should leave work. As I said, I work from 9.30am to 4.30pm, full focus. When I remember what he said the other day, I just laugh it off. Coz, I knew that it was bullcrap then, and I know it now.
That’s just an example. One other day, during my second year, I was talking about my dream to become a musician, to take up and pursue music after college, with someone I considered a close friend. Without even giving it a second thought, the next few words from that person was, “How can you be so naive? Be realistic man! Do you think you can make it big in the music industry with all that competition out there. You can’t make money pursuing music in your life, especially if you have to start learning music at the age of 20. When there are such broke musicians who were trained in music, instruments from their childhood, what chance have you got? What will you do for your living? Don’t take such rash decisions.”
So much for being safe. Needless to say, I didn’t really take her words that seriously. When I listened to her utter those words, it did shake me a bit – at the very first moment of sharing such a dream of mine, her saying negative things. But then, that was my first brush at talking about my dreams and people responding that way – projecting their bullshit onto the others. I believe that it’s just a matter of time if you put in all your heart and spirit into learning something, before you master it. I know musicians who were trained from childhood, yet never made it big. I know musicians who started learning music only after the age of 20, yet made it big worldwide. So, it all comes down to personal courage that one musters up to go after what he/she wants.
People can’t do something themselves. When they say that you can’t do something, they are not really telling that YOU can’t do it. They are just saying, “Since I can’t do it, since I wasn’t able to do it, and since I think I won’t be able to do it if I were in your position, I am pretty sure that you won’t be able to do it either.”
That is why you should listen carefully when people say that you can’t do something. Look at them. Look at them ramble and try to defend their point of view with all the things that they perceive to be supportive of their limiting idea. It may be, in their reality, impossible. But your reality is different from theirs and that is why you should listen to them.
You know why? Because, if you look at it on the brighter side, they are giving you a good sort of guidance. A tad bit optimistic you think? I bet yes. It is optimistic, as well as realistic. When they tell you WHY you can’t do something – that’s when you need to listen. Coz, most of what they say might and will be valid.
Yes! Valid! Those will be some very valid pointers that you might miss when you are enthusiastic and blinded by your dream and desire. Listening to those people talk about the WHY part will give you enough knowledge about the hurdles that you could come across. And, what happens when you know what is going to happen in the future, beforehand? You make contingency plans.
Contingency plans – planning beforehand, or at least knowing beforehand about what your plan of action will be, in case you face some unfavorable hurdle or an unexpected turn of events along the way, will always result in increasing your chances at succeeding in what you take up.
Conventional advice is to ignore the naysayers, avoid whatever they project on to you. But I will ask you to listen to them, listen to all that they say will go wrong, make a mental note of all of it. Then, ask yourself this question
“WHAT IF I FAIL?”
Write down the ways they say things could get tough, ways what you take up might fail.
Now, write the equivalent contingency plan for how you will get back up if you encounter such a hurdle.
Now, once you have covered all such points, and all possible hurdles that they can tell you, and also those you yourself can think of – you are ready to go.
Mistake me not, there will be hurdles that you can’t even think or predict would happen. You will just have to be best prepared mentally, to face it all.
Now that we have covered the optimistic part about the naysayers’ naysaying and the limited thinking that they project onto you, let us come to the realistic part.
What happens when such a naysayer happens to be a friend, someone in your family, a colleague in your workplace, or your sibling? I am sure you find it difficult to handle, since you are more open to those people, hence more vulnerable to their comments, advice and opinions. What do you do in such situations?
I will tell you what I do. I stop. I take a step back. I close myself towards that person a little bit more, in order to protect myself and my dreams. I have encountered such opposition, negativity, naysaying from people close to me starting from my parents, my sister, to people I thought were best friends. The first time I heard them speak like that, in a negative way about something that I dream of doing/becoming, I was taken aback. The second time around, it made me a bit sad. The third time, I realized that it was always going to be that way. So, there was never a fourth time. I stopped talking about it to them. I obviously didn’t distance myself from them, coz they are family. But those friends and their friendship eventually fell apart. I grew, and outgrew them in terms of my beliefs about life, dreams, and the pursuit of greatness in both. They found those they were comfortable with, those they found to share beliefs similar to the ones that they had.
When you are faced with such a predicament, when it is someone in your family or someone you consider a close friend that happens to be the naysayer, take a step back, and ask yourself if you really want to talk about that dream of yours. If you must absolutely do it and if you know someone that has already accomplished what you are trying to accomplish, talk about your dream with them and ask them to guide you. I am not going to sugarcoat it. Most of the times, they won’t have the time to guide you. Initially, you will need to put in the work and effort to gain some traction in your journey and the attention from those who have already accomplished what you wanna accomplish. When they see some potential in you, they might be willing to guide you although the chances of that happening are very slim to none. But you can always find a way to accomplish what you want without anyone’s guidance or support.
Stop talking about it with the friend or the person in your family that says you can’t do it or that you shouldn’t do it. You don’t have to distance yourself from them – but if you feel in your gut that you need to, do it anyway.
TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE:
There are two kinds of people. The first kind, when people around them and people close to them start saying that they can’t do something, and eventually they hear it get repeated, at one point or the other, they succumb to the opposition and give up and embrace what other people around them call a ‘SAFE’, ‘NO-RISK’ life.
Then there is the second kind. The second kind listen to all the bullshit. Then, they go and do whatever they were gonna do in the first place. Deep down, in their heart, when someone says that they can’t do something, they say silently with a firm resolution, “WATCH ME DO IT, AND BURN!”
For the second kind, there is no motivation equal to that of someone telling them that they can’t do something. These kinda people – they don’t give up. They may fall. But they keep rising up every time they do. They think big. They think they can change the world for better. And they end up doing it. It is because of such people we have something called “EVOLUTION”.
If you are going to listen to the naysayers, listen to them carefully. Listen to them say they can’t do something by pointing that at you. Listen to all that they say and go and do whatever you were gonna do anyway. At the end of the day, all these people who say you can’t do something, don’t really give a damn about you. Even when they happen to be someone that cares about you – they may wanna keep you safe, no doubt in that. But being safe never got anyone anywhere.
I don’t mean to tell you to take brash risks and decisions blinded by ambition. I am telling you to go ahead and listen to people who say you can’t do something. Every time you listen to people say that you can’t do it, listen to it, take in all that bullshit negativity, convert it into sheer force of your innate power and use that power to drive you harder towards your goal/dream. Then, being aware of all the hurdles you might face, go with full openness on your journey and do it anyway. Coz, you get to live only one damn life as the magnificent YOU.
Do you wanna live a SMALL, INSIGNIFICANT, NEGLIGIBLE LIFE, making no difference in this world?
Do you wanna live BIG, be GREAT and put a dent in the universe for good?!
You get to choose. When someone says you can’t, when someone gives you free advice against your dreams, listen to them completely. And go and do whatever the heck you were gonna do anyway. Coz, this world grieves for no one. Life waits for no one.
People will say,
“Nobody gives a shit about changing the world. Nobody ends up changing the world.”
YOU can be that NOBODY.
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