All of us have obstacles to overcome. Some are smaller than others, but each of us has them. Every morning I am reminded of these obstacles by a dear friend who is fighting esophageal cancer. His caringbridge posts are often the first thing I read. Despite his obstacles, he is remarkably upbeat and a beacon of positivity. In fact, I’m going to share with you here a reminder from one of his recent posts . . .
DID YOU KNOW that Beethoven, considered by many to be the most influential composer of all time, was actually told he had no musical talent and should give it up? He was told this by none other than one of his teachers. And yet, he didn’t give up, in fact, it is likely that doubt fueled his own belief in himself and his talent to take him to stratospheric heights.
DID YOU KNOW that Albert Einstein was told that he was a lazy student with a less than average IQ? This is the same Albert Einstein we know today as the Father of Modern Physics and one of the most prolific intellectual minds in history.
DID YOU KNOW that Warren Buffet’s parents were cautioned by a tutor early on that their son should not pursue anything to do with investments as he was not qualified in that field? Yes, this is the same Warren Buffet renowned for his investment strategies and who ranked in 2011 as the third wealthiest individual in the world.
Clearly Beethoven, Buffet, and Einstein each could have believed the obstacles that others threw in their path. They could have given up or given in. Yet, none of them did. They kept going on the path they believed in. You are, no doubt, experiencing similar obstacles. The buzz and opinions dished out by others can destroy your value and stand in your way or you can harness that to empower yourself. Take it on as a dare if you will. (I’m a sucker for a dare and have often achieved goals I hadn’t previously imagined when someone doubted by ability out loud.)
The lesson here is that your belief in yourself is a far greater predictor of your success than anyone else’s belief or opinion. In fact there is a wonderful expression from and book by Terry Cole Whittaker “What you think of me is none of my business.” And this is absolutely true. You are not the sum total of other people’s opinions of you. Instead your achievement, your place in life, your success in business is based on YOUR opinion of yourself.
Never allow another person’s opinion to slow you down, let alone stop you. I’ve been there, most of us have, and done that. All I lost was time, focus, and yes a measure of success. The times that I didn’t listen and instead leapt forward powered by my own belief, I achieved my dreams, and you will too. This is far less about passion than it is about focus, commitment, and persistence. Without those three elements you will wind up wandering about your life, chasing bright shiny opportunities, and doubting yourself and your abilities every time someone expresses their opinion and it doesn’t align with your belief in yourself.
What you become is up to you. How much you accomplish is entirely at your discretion. No one can stop you with mere words when your belief in yourself is unstoppable and far more than words.Take a page from the playbook of the greats, truly create your commonality with Einstein, Buffet, and Beethoven and prove the naysayers wrong.
What will you prove to yourself today? Tell me in the comments here!