Some folks have a perpetually positive attitude and are natural motivators. Others are so negative they brighten a room just by leaving it.
The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you associate most closely – for good or bad. Sometimes it's better to be alone than in the wrong company.
A quick story …
It was great to be home! I'd been living and working in Europe for two years and this was my first vacation.
We were sitting around the dinner table talking and laughing – having a great time really. Right up until I dropped the bomb.
"I'm going to take up skydiving."
It was like somebody had hit the "Pause" button. Everybody froze.
My mother, my brother and my twenty or thirty assorted aunts, uncles and cousins all asked – almost as one – "Are you out of your mind?"
They then proceeded to tell me every single "Crash and Burn, Death by Falling" story the world has ever known. The funny thing is none of them were skydivers.
Today I have 135 or so parachute jumps under my belt. That's not a lot by some standards, but it's okay for me.
I've jumped out of helicopters, hot air balloons, jets and prop jobs … I've jumped from as low as 1,500 feet and from as high as 21,000 feet … I've jumped static-line and free-fall … and I've often thought back to that night around the dinner table. How much I would have missed, had I let my family steal my dream!
The Only Expert About You is You!
I have discovered that an important characteristic of successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people.
Anytime you try to pull ahead of the pack and accomplish something great, there will undoubtedly be people who don't think you can do it. Such naysayers are all too common.
Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don't help you to climb will make you crawl, if you let them. Your friends will either stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don't increase you will eventually decrease you.
So never receive counsel from unproductive people – they are not qualified to comment.
On The Road to Success, Be Careful Who You Ask for Directions
If your doctor told you that you needed an operation, you'd probably want to get a second opinion before undergoing surgery. Who would you ask? Your auto mechanic? Your brother, the fireman? Maybe Aunt Gladys? Of course not! You'd ask another doctor – somebody who knows something about medicine.
Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeeded themselves are always the first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You'll always get the worst of the bargain if you exchange ideas with the wrong person.
When I was thinking about quitting my job as a business consultant and going full time as a copywriter, my family told me they thought I was crazy – again.
I love them, but I don't give a hoot what they think. I care what Michael Masterson, Don Mahoney, and Paul Hollingshead think. I want to know what Dan Kennedy, Herschell Gordon Lewis and Bob Bly think. I want to know what Joshua Boswell thinks. Why? Because they have done what I want to do.
Billionaire J. Paul Getty said it best, "The easiest way to get rich is to find somebody who is rich and do what they did."
Don't follow anyone who isn't going places. With some people you merely spend an evening – with others you invest it.
If You're at a Crossroads, You're in Good Company
It's not what the naysayers say that is important, it's what you believe that really counts. So let me ask you, what do you believe?
Maybe you're at a crossroads and not sure if you can do it or not. That's okay. Look at some folks who got off to a slow start, had more than their share of detractors, and still did okay:
Albert Einstein didn't speak until he was nearly 5 years old and was considered "mentally slow."
The inventor of the steam engine, James Watt, was declared "dull and inept."
Cartoonist Walt Disney was fired from his first job because he "had no imagination."
Inventor Thomas Edison was kicked out of school at age 9 because he was at the bottom of his class.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
Sometimes the experts – and other well-meaning people – are misguided in their efforts or just plain wrong in their thinking. And then there are some people who are just stuck on stupid.
You can measure IQ, but not "want to." It's not the size of the dog in the fight that's important, it's the size of the fight in the dog. They can measure the size your head but not size of the dream in your heart.
So follow your heart as you use your head to develop skills and talents. There is nothing that an inspired you cannot accomplish.
One Last Question …
Are you on course toward your goals, or is the "FUD Factor' (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) casting a shadow on your direction?
In 1492, despite repeated setbacks, and in the face of conventional wisdom, Christopher Columbus set his course in the direction that his own inspiration and intelligence led him to believe was the right one.
During his quest across the dangerous and uncharted North Atlantic, he wrote these words in his private log, "This day, we sailed on."
He knew that a ship in port is usually safe … but that's not what ships are built for. What are you built for? What great accomplishments are yours to fulfill?
Invest the time NOW to renew your commitment to overcoming past failures, including the fears, uncertainty and doubt placed there by the conventional wisdom of unqualified, negative people.
Go ahead and give yourself a chance to succeed by taking another shot – or two, or three. It's not over 'til you win. Chart a bold course for yourself and sail on! Who knows? One more effort might be all it takes to get you back on course to your own New World.
And One Final Thought …
People are like rubber bands. A rubber band, lying around on a desk somewhere doesn't do anything. But once picked up and stretched, it becomes useful. Once stretched and let go, it gains the potential to fly over much greater distances than before.
It is only when you stretch yourself that you begin to discover your ability to fly much farther than you might have imagined.
Are you stretching yourself? You have an unparalleled opportunity to surround yourself with people who can help your writing career take a quantum leap forward … people you can dream aloud in front of … people who can bring out the best in you.
I'm talking about AWAI's 2009 FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair – where a single conversation with the right person can be more valuable to you than many years of study.
Self-made billionaire J. Paul Getty once observed that your income will be the average of income of the five people with whom you associate most closely. Maybe it's time for you to stretch yourself and get some new friends. Sign up for Bootcamp while there are still slots available. I'm going to be there. Don't delay – sign up now!
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This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Golden Thread, a free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.blogger.com/signup/."
Khadija speaking: Sales pitch aside, this essay has a LOT of valuable food for thought. I hope you'll take the time to seriously consider some of the points the author raised.