Dismissing Dreams

Image by Dru!
Image by Dru!

Recently someone told me not to pursue one of my 101 life goals, that it wasn’t a worthwhile effort.

I smiled and nodded, understanding their disdain.

How could I do such a thing when this person just dismissed my dream?

In the past, I might have taken offense. But time, meditation and practice has taught me to see these things differently now.

While people may not believe in a goal, that’s their view point. They express their concern or belief because they like you, or feel strongly about such topics.

So in that sense, smiling was a good reaction, respecting this person’s point of view and concern.

That doesn’t mean I’ll stop pursuing my goal. Far from it.

I’ve learned that other people’s beliefs about what works in life are very personal. Sometimes they project personal fears or dislikes on you.

Know which is their’s and not yours. Just as they believe in a great dream that may not be right for me.

C.C. Chapman’s new book Amazing Things Will Happen addresses this issue, too, encouraging you to ignore “seagulls” that poop on your dreams. It’s a good chapter that keeps you focused on your path.

People have been telling me I can’t or shouldn’t do things my whole life. And I do what I want anyway.

Frankly, I think that’s a core element to my successes to date: Willing to risk when I believed in a course of action regardless of naysayers.

I guess you can call that defiance. After all, I’m the idiot that rode motorcycles for 10 years and ran a Tough Mudder last year. I’m the same idiot who published three books even though he “couldn’t write.” Yup, I’m the idiot that graduated from Georgetown masters with honors when some undergrad acamdeics told me I was a loser who would fail.

Thank God I ignored the naysayers.

By the way, just because I don’t believe in someone’s dream, doesn’t mean I feel compelled to suggest failure or stupidity. I’ve learned to keep my mouth closed unless asked. And even then, it may be prefaced with, “Are you sure you want my opinion?”

Dreams and visions differ. That doesn’t mean you have to walk away from friends. Or maybe you should just keep your distance via Facebook.

I have several relatives who have become born again Christians. We don’t really see eye to eye on many visions and goals, but that’s OK. We still like each other’s baby pics on Facebook. LOL!

How do you handle pessimism about your dreams?

28 Replies to “Dismissing Dreams”

  1. I have a strange reaction to people agreeing with me for reasons I don’t respect mostly. I gave in to people’s opinion all my life because I couldn’t see a way they may be wrong. I moved to another country and with all the people I met who think I’m good at something I’ve started to see where I can go. So I decided I wanted to go back to uni and I was welcomed by my family with ‘you should, what would people think of you if you are not graduated? You’re not a stupid girl’. This made me think maybe I don’t need the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama to become a producer. I don’t want to imply I agree with this when I don’t care.

    1. Walking the path forward is often difficult. But is the best path. We have to know ourselves and what is right.

      It’s often why I don’t offer opinions to other people. They usually don’t want them.

  2. I have enough negative talk inside my own head without listening to it externally, so I find people’s faith in me to be endlessly encouraging. But yeah, it’s hard to ignore the naysayers. I suppose one could develop a thicker skin about such things, but I’m comfortable in my thin skin at this point. Thanks for a super article, Geoff!

  3. I have enough negative talk inside my own head without listening to it externally, so I find people’s faith in me to be endlessly encouraging. But yeah, it’s hard to ignore the naysayers. I suppose one could develop a thicker skin about such things, but I’m comfortable in my thin skin at this point. Thanks for a super article, Geoff!

    1. I think I’m like you in that regard. I often do more harm to myself than anyone else could. I just learn to cope with the negative voices as best I can and to remember not to make any decisions when they’re holding court.

      External voices can be a different matter. Sometimes they’re hurtful or destructive; sometimes they’re irrelevant; and sometimes they’re the reason I do something crazy like rock climbing. (I might have a slight competitive streak.)

    2. Glad you liked it, Tom. And I’m a big fan, too.

      Have to say, it may not be the most positive thing, but I have traditionally taken the naysaying comments and added them to a proverbial chalkboard. I then use the negative energy as motivation to go succeed.

  4. Yup. Seagulls, foxes that spoil vines, or small-minded jackasses – they all contend to pull us off track of the passions that make us feel alive. Instead, I prefer to continue pursuing my dreams and hope to, one day, inspire the former to do the same.

    1. It’s amazing how bad the ankle biters are. But the more you focus on them, the worse it gets. Best to keep moving forward! I am sure you will inspire many people with your good attitude.

  5. I just respond to the naysayers by saying, “interesting perspective”, and go on doing what I plan to do. There are people who talk about doing things, and then there are people who do things. What’s the old saying? “What you think of me is none of my business.” Cheers! Kaarina

  6. I’m so glad you didn’t listen to the naysayers. It takes a lot of guts to pursue a dream in the face of negativity or criticism. One of the reasons I devote time to coaching high schoolers on public speaking skills is that one word of encouragement at the right time lights up paths they thought they would never be able to go down.

    Next month I’m running a post from one of my former students who was told he could never be a good speaker/actor because of a speech impediment. Initially, he let the naysayers silence him, but with a little encouragement, he has discovered that he is a strong speaker with a lot to say. Your determination reminded me of him.

    1. I agree. If we encourage people we can give them the little word they needed to excel. And we can also put the rain cloud above them. Motivation is about believing in dreams, mustering enough courage to try. And then try again. And then try again.

  7. i’m finally recovering from one particular naysayer…my second grade teacher. She told me I would never be a writer (my dream as a child). I believed her for many, many years. I may not be the best writer, but I appreciate words and how they flow. And I love how I feel when I write. That makes me a writer, right? A good one? Well, there’s always work to be done. great post, Geoff!

    1. Funny, my father told me that. It wasn’t until I published my first book that he finally let off. He still enjoys kicking my ass at Scrabble, though.

      What makes you a good writer is your singular ability to communicate great ideas, Jessica. And you have a book in you.

  8. In a similar way you do. since we feel our thinking, I also wonder about the journey the’ve walked so far that made them think that way, then feel their thinking, and tell me about the world in their head.

    1. Absolutely. It’s our ancestral perspective and individual experience that provides our roadmap for decisions and approaches towards life.

  9. I just FB’d your post. Great one. Amazing that people can be so negative and project their stuff onto others. We just need to remember that is their stuff .. and it seems to be an automatic response onto another …
    The comments were also so great.

    1. Absolutely. And the funny thing is because we are all human, we all think these opinions are absolutely right. Unshakably so…

  10. I think anybody who poops on others dreams or visions is a complete idiot in need of an a__s whooping.

    However, I realized early on in my pursuit of dreams, people who do such stupid things are not worth the energy of any response.

    Most are douchebags who will never do anything worthwhile or meaningful in the lives of other people. Or anything else for that matter.

    I tend to avoid these types like the plague and surround myself with people who are either contributing, or inspire to contribute, value to peoples lives and the future of the world.

    That includes supporting those with big vision and big dreams.

    These are the only people who get worthwhile sh__t done in the world.

    Have a great weekend, sir! : )

  11. It seems there are always people who wish to tear down success at its roots…the dream. If they see someone with goals, it can only mean one thing, that bastard is trying to be successful…we must get him!

    When I run across such a person, I just move on. I have a friend who’s wife is such a person. I decided it just wasn’t worth it and now politely decline their invitations.

    Effort and success are too easily scorned. I, for one, celebrate the dreamers.

  12. It’s critical to take a hard look at the source of the pessimism. It could be someone who has a fear we’ll succeed and leave them behind. But! If there is feedback, constructive feedback, sometimes the details of the dream can be refined and a good friend will point that out. :)

  13. Loved the attitude, and especially liked the following…

    “Dreams and visions differ. That doesn’t mean you have to walk away from friends.”

    Sometimes you do have to smile and take their input w/grace. Those friendships may still represent years of nurturing, so you do not want to carelessly throw that away. However…only you, and the people really close to you, shape your dreams and your chances for achieving them.

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