“Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.” – James Cook, Born Oct. 27, 1728.
We often let the voices of others – real or imagined – set the outer borders of what we are capable of. Naysayers. Haters. Well-meaning people concerned for our safety or self-worth who don’t want to see us hurt by failure.
And listen, sometimes those people are actually right. Sometimes they are wiser or just good guessers, and when they say something is impossible, it’s a well considered opinion.
But not always.
Sometimes they speak from their own fear, or their own limitations, or tolerance for risk. Sometimes their understanding of the world is limited, because the lack the capacity to imagine the world after you change it.
It’s hard to say. Success is not guaranteed just because you have a dream. But having an idea of what you can do, and making a plan to do it – that’s how everything amazing starts.
They shout it down, or dismiss it, or don’t take you seriously.
It can hurt when the doubts come from trusted people, loved ones, good friends or mentors.
But they don’t know what we have in our heads, so we shrug it off. Try to ignore it. Put it aside for now and resign ourselves to “I told you so” admonitions later on.
For now, we take the idea and turn it into a goal by designing a plan to achieve it.
We work to fully flesh out that plan. Accommodate for contingencies. Minimize risks. Figure out efficiencies to make the path to realization a little bit shorter, a wee bit quicker, and a smidgeon easier.
And then we work ON the plan. Tick off tasks from the checklist. We mark progress on the map.
Have we met an obstacle? How do we clear it to proceed as planned. Is the obstacle insurmountable? Adjust the plan to circumvent it. Avoid it. Go around the wall if you can’t bust through.
Eventually, there will be an outcome.
Either the plan works and you reach that goal, despite the critics.
Or, you will have a choice – adjust and continue, or scratch this plan and begin anew.
Or your cloud quit altogether, but that’s not the way to get what you want, is it?
No, we return to the drawing board and either adjust the goal, or come up with a plan that attacks the wilderness between us and our success from a whole different angle.
“We told you,” say the judgmental ones.
“I know, I know,” you feign submissively.
But still we work. You don’t do any dumb over-hustling, or burn out your own candle. No, just steady planning and progress, planning and progress, piece by piece.
Will it pay off? Maybe not like you planned. But you can’t come all that way and still be where you started. You’re changed. Wiser, smarter, stronger, more experienced.
And more confident. You’ve seen vistas and furrows and highs and lows that most passive passengers on life’s ride will never savor.
And we will chase that spark again and again because making things and doing things is what we are. We are a force that fiddles with the raw materials of the universe and make STUFF out of it that did not exist until we thought it up and arranged the atoms from the souls of primordial stars just so…
You did it.
Ain’t nobody can tell you NOTHIN’ anymore about what you are made of.
You’re not one of them anymore. Never were. You’re one of us now. Welcome!
<!—- lagniappe Here is a very short list of fun things to do with things haters say about you and your work. 1. Print them out and put them near your work area or in a note file you can look at during work. It’s inspirational to think you will get to make them eat those words soon. 2. Screenshot them when they are posted online and insert one or two with your other positive testimonials. It’s humorously humanizing, and it makes people like you for being self deprecating. 3. Like this post, use them for content ideas - take what someone says will not work and MAKE it work. Another example is that I had a small feud with a famous old writer who said that if one uses profanity in your writing, you will never sell. So I wrote a promo that said the F word 47 times and sold eight grand of product on the first day. 4. Turn Saul into Paul. Make them a believer. Engage them. Find out their real issue. Help them. Show them your light and share it and leave them better. Make a case study of it to share with others. A parable, even. This doesn’t always work. But even that makes a good story - haters gonna hate and they will fight to keep it. 5. If you wanna get woo woo, read them out loud to yourself in the mirror in a funny voice. This makes them nearly impossible to take seriously. It helps you laugh at your critics instead of taking their bad advice to heart. It also builds your confidence and fortitude for future skirmishes with sour grape vendors. 6. Finally, consider them seriously for a moment. Is there substance there? Is it a valid criticism that you can reflect on and grow? Can you leverage that person’s obstruction of your work into a way to make that work better? What if they are right, what needs to change to make them wrong? You can almost never fail in fixing those things anyway, even if the critic was never right in the first place. —->
1 thought on ““You’ll Never Succeed,” They Said. But When They Saw My Nunchucks…”
That’s why I keep reading your emails – the language gives me the boost I need to start writing. Keep doing what you’re doing!!