I wrote on Facebook that I wanted to compete in a marathon next year. Here was an interesting response I received:
‘Lmao that’s for the ultra super Olympic runners. It’s to qualify so it’s super competitive. I’m not saying (DJ BERN) couldn’t have done it, but LOL I seriously don’t think he could compete with the Kenyans. Who can finish in 2 or less hours and entire marathon. Plus you really need to train for it. How about a half to see if you even like running?’
There are a few interesting assumptions that I can pick out from this comment. The first is that I have NEVER ran in my life, since I need to ‘see’ if I like running. The second is that I shouldn’t plan on winning, since I am not Kenyan there’s just no way I would be able to compete. However, this single person and their narrow opinion on my marathon dream isn’t the point of this post. Before I started my weight loss journey, I expressed to others that I wanted to lose 130 pounds in seven months. I received a lot of positive, uplifting responses to my goal, but I was surprised by certain friends, family, and strangers when I was told that my goal was set “too high” and I needed to “pace myself.” Why are some people quick to discourage the goals of others? How can a person that doesn’t know you tell you that you’re aiming too high? How many of your family and “friends” support you verbally while they secretly want to you fail?
The way the majority of people in society that just take what life offers them is sad. A lot of people do just enough to get by. They fear failure and insecurity so they never take the risks necessary to get the things they want out of life. As we all know, misery loves company, so you’ll notice when you share your dreams and ambitions with people like this, their responses are usually aimed to bring you back down to earth. These people envy your aggressive approach, dedication, and bravery. They see your future success as a threat, as it would make them feel worse about the lack of achievement in their personal lives. The ‘crabs in a barrel’ mentality is a reality in the human race.
Then you have those folks that want you to do good, but not better than them. These people come forward with unsolicited advice about your goals. They like to talk about their personal experience with the subject, and tell you what didn’t work for them to warn you that it for sure won’t work for you as well. Advice from them often sounds like “You’re buying a house for how much? You can’t get it that cheap; I already tried. You’ll probably have to pay x amount like I did.” It is okay in their eyes for you to make strides and be happy, as long as you don’t pass them and make them feel inferior. For some reason, they want to be your ‘guide’ so they can feel responsible for your success, and in turn, make that success their own. They’ll hit you with a comment like “I don’t know why you want to be CEO. I chose to be a floor manager because it works for me. You should just go for that.”
Finally, the people most detrimental to your success are those friends and family that encourage you, but want to see you fail. They don’t want you to succeed, but in the rare case that you do they don’t want to be left out of the parade. They’ll tell you to your face that they hope the best for you, while telling others how foolish you are and how fast you’ll fail. It’s hard to spot these folks, but you can see who is present at all of your victory parties and absent during your struggles.
I’ve encountered all of these people an overwhelming number of times since March. These people have told me that I was losing weight too fast, that my goal was set too high, that i wouldn’t be able to do it without (random supplement) because that’s how they did it, how a friend of their cousins’ aunts’ nieces’ neighbor did the same process and failed, and a number of other counterproductive comments that would have broken a weaker man. However, I remained focused and kept my eyes on the prize with these simple steps:
1. Stay Self-Motivated. Friends and family giving you authentic encouragement is good, but how can you tell who’s real from who’s fake? More importantly, what if there are more people being negative than being uplifting, or what happens when the positive people aren’t around when you’re feeling weak? My main motivation has and will always be me pushing myself towards the goal, understanding that I am the master of my destiny and I won’t let myself down. I hold myself accountable for my actions and I will reap the benefits of being dedicated over time.
2. Stay Informed. Most unsolicited advice is from “know-it-alls” or dream killers that base their facts around simple Google searches and/or blog posts and have no real advice worth sharing. Read a book, talk to those people who have tried, failed AND succeeded and map out your own plan. Proper planning prevents piss poor performance.
3. Stay Humble. Dream killers are ignited by others’ success, so it’s best to not celebrate until you reach the end zone. Let your success speak for itself, and celebrate your small victories with those that you are SURE have your best interests in mind. The haters can’t stop you when you’re at the finish line. When you cross that line, spend that time thanking those that truly helped you get there, instead of acknowledging those that wanted to hold you back.
At the end of the day, you lay down and sleep in your own skin, so as long as you’re content with the decision you’ve made and the actions that accompany them, you should never feel discouraged. Progress is a process, and slow motion is better than no motion. Months or years later, when you’re where you want to be in life, those dream killers will still be unsatisfied with themselves because they spent so much time focused on bringing others down, that they never took the time to better themselves. Don’t let your dreams die.