“There is a period of life when we swallow knowledge of ourselves and it becomes either good or sour inside.” –Pearl Bailey
A few weeks ago I participated in an interesting group activity. The participants were distributed in groups of twos and instructed to face one another. One person was directed to ask the question “Who are you?” The other person would then respond with one word that describes him/her. This sequence would be repeated as much as the 30 second allotted time frame would allow. Once the activity commenced, a cacophony of vocabulary rhetoric ensued that mimicked that of the unpredictable clamor of thunder and lightning during a harsh electrical storm. When my opportunity came I spewed out words like “strong”, “intelligent”, “confident”, “visionary” etc. However, at the end of the exercise the instructor posed a thought-provoking question that hit me like a pillow case full of bricks. He asked, “Did anyone give any negative responses?”
“One secures the gold of the spirit when he finds himself.” – Claude M. Bristol
As humans we prefer to accentuate our positive qualities while neglecting or masking our faults. As we paddle down our river of life we experience feelings of insecurity, fear, confusion, or brokenness. We choose to leave our weak areas hidden so that we will not be at risk of having to face the brunt of society’s harsh criticism and ridicule. We all have negative traits that could use some polishing, buffing, or a good scrub.
We must first know who we are, before we can make the changes needed to become who we want to be!
Have you ever been written off by society, or by an individual? Perhaps this individual attempted to shot your dreams out of the sky with a 12 gauge shot gun as if they were clay pigeons. These people never gave you a chance at success. They may have told you “You can’t do this. Or you’ll never be good enough to do that.” Instead of encouraging you to chase your goals they simply tried to pull you back down to their level with the back breaking weight of negativity. I’m sure we all experienced this on some level. I am no different. I’ve had a 4th grade teacher tell me “You’ll never amount to anything or make anything out of yourself!” I’ve had people (often referred to as Haters) constantly chime in my ear “You’ll never make or play for a college basketball team.”
It is imperative that you ignore the negativity so that it doesn’t fester and into self-doubt. Walt Disney hauls in billions from merchandise, movies and theme parks around the world. However, Walt Disney had a rough start. He was fired by a newspaper editor because, “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Disney founded a number of businesses that didn’t last too long and ended with bankruptcy and failure. He ignored the negativity around him cultivated a recipe for success that worked.
Harland David Sanders aka Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken had a difficult time selling his chicken at first. His famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it.
If you are passionate about a dream, chase it with every ounce of energy you have. To those who tried to bog me down with negativity, I can borrow a line from Chris Brown’s song and say “Look at me now!”
Don’t allow the negativity breeze of others to topple the house of cards you are building to achieve life success!