How To Ignore The Right People

How To Ignore The Right People

Last week, I texted a friend about a challenge I’m facing. As I was describing the particular obstacles of my predicament, I included a sentence that started, “They say it’s hard to…”

Her response: “You have to forget all of the ‘they says.’”

She’s absolutely right.

No matter your creed, race, religion, profession, or nationality, the “theys” are everywhere, and most of the time, the “theys” are naysayers. “They” tend to be a choir of voices that sing a song of failure, of all the reasons why the goal you’re aiming for will not be achieved. Truthfully, “they” don’t want you to believe in yourself. In fact, “they” don’t take into account your knowledge, your experience, your character, or your determination. In fact, most of the time, “they” don’t know YOU at all.

I’m not saying that “they” are always wrong. In fact, “they” say what “they” say because “they” often have supporting evidence. Analysts conduct studies on almost every topic, and the resulting trends may not favor you. Statistics show its more difficult to have a child naturally over a certain age. Research provides evidence that it’s easier to find a job when you have a job. The numbers demonstrate that almost half of new business fail within the first five years. So… “they” say you can’t, you won’t, and you’ll fail.

The Naysayers Say “You Can’t”

Before we blindly believe them, consider some of the “theys” of history:

“I can state flatly that heavier than air flying machines are impossible.” – Lord Kelvin, 1895

Eight years later, the Wright brothers proved him wrong.

“When the Paris Exhibition closes, electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it.” – Oxford professor Erasmus Wilson, 1878

I live three blocks from Times Square; Erasmus was wrong.

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” – Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

I’m writing this on my laptop, the third one I’ve owned personally, so if Thomas was right, there are two more left for the entire world to share.

The Rebels Say “Believe In Yourself”

The list of others who didn’t buy in to what “they” say is long…

  • Ludwig van Beethoven: a composer who wrote most of his memorable pieces after he became deaf. He once said, “There are no barriers for a person with talent and love towards work.”
  • Helen Keller: the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Art degree. She authored more than 400 articles and several books and was politically active, advocating for the rights of women.
  • Albert Einstein: a theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity. He also did not speak until he was three years old and lived with autism and dyslexia. Einstein said, ‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.’
  • Steven Hawking: another prominent theoretical physicist who lived with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Hawking said, “The prospect of early death made me realize that life is worth living. So much can be done; everyone can do so much!”
  • And, there’s also Rosa Parks, Viktor Fankl, Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg…

The Sometimes

Can we all be exceptions to the rules? Unfortunately, no. If that was possible, the exception would be the rule. Sometimes – stressing *sometimes* – “they” are ultimately right. If, in the end, what “they” say is true, that is because that is how your individual story played out and not because that is how “they” said it should be. “Their” prediction never defines your future reality.

Naysayers tell you that it can’t be done. Our world is flat. The sky is only meant for birds. Their floor is your ceiling. Whatever you do, don’t listen to “them.”  Find your right speed. Use earplugs. Listen to music. Listen to others who believe in you.

Better yet, listen to and believe in yourself.


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