Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Forget Those Who Say That You Can't by Tom Kavala

"Tell me who your best friends are and I'll tell you who you are. The people you associate with most – whether professionally or socially – can have a motivating or de-motivating effect on you. Especially when you're trying to make a comeback from a setback.

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!

Special Offer: To hear Tom's business-building insights and advice every Tuesday, sign up a free subscription to Spare-Time Biz Success.

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.


Anonymous said...

Good for you and that you have your own great mind.


daphne said...

Sometimes it's better to be alone than in the wrong company.

I can personally attest that these are words to live by.

Once I began to separate myself from parasites, naysayers, and other non-reciprocals a few years back, I really began listening to my intuition. That intuition has served me very, very well once I became attuned to it. Sometimes, having too many people around you can drown it out, and you make poor decisions, believing the "hype" about certain things, rationalizing foolishness, etc.

Knowing your own mind is powerful.

Thanks for the post, Khadija.

Qshukura said...

Thank you again Khadija for this post! This is so on time for me as the writing on the wall is becoming ever more clear, and all signs point to "GET OUT" and get out now!

I to, can attest to going it alone; I have much more clarity and am more in tune with my spirit.

Khadija said...


Thank you.


You're welcome!



You're welcome!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

shermyb said...

Loved this post!

JJ said...

Not only have I been actively ridding my life of unsuccesful, dead-end people, but a higher force started to kick in that orchestrated them to remove themselves.

I'm not kidding here. When you are serious about moving ahead and making up for lost time spent on non-reciprocal people- they will sometimes begin to break off from you without you having to do a darn thing.

And when they leave, I don't run after them. As a progressive person, I simply view it as their expiry date as a presence in my life has come up. Keeping something past its expiry date typically means you're holding onto something rotten.


Celeste said...

Dear Khadija,

This post was specifically to me, and for me, especially the part about my writing career taking a quantum leap, having people I can dream with...this is a prophecy come true...it's happening. And it all began to happen when I started to tune others out, and listen to myself. I always used to think that others must me right (concerning me) and I must be wrong. Now, I know I can be anything I want to be, 'cause I'm right, and they're wrong.

Muse said...


This blog entry is probably one of your best essays yet. The tide is turning in our society and there is going to be a massive division between the haves and have-nots. Your essay is part of the bigger message which informs Black women that they need to wake up and decide whether or not they will die or thrive. The timing of this essay is so ironic because a group of my friends and I were just discussing over dinner how it is imperative that we surround ourselves with individuals who are supportive of our dreams and distance ourselves from those who don’t make valuable contributions to our lives. We are hitting every area from economics to relationships.

Most of us are in our mid to late 20s and now is the time to set the foundations for the rest of our lives. We aren’t selfish individuals and believe in reciprocity. We genuinely love and support each other. We may have different politics views at times but at the end of the day our core values and respect for each other brings us together. Having a tight group of friends where you can be your authentic self and have them give you honest feedback is a priceless gift. Most importantly they are supportive and are willing to share their resources. You want solution driven people on your team not folks with defeatist attitudes. Each of us have pretty extensive networks and in the last few months we have been connecting each other to vital resources need to take that next steps in our journey. On the flip side, in the last year many of us have started to notice parasitic leeches trying to infiltrate our circle who contribute nothing but negativity; yet these very same people want to come along for the ride in hopes that they can gain something for nothing.

Time is a resource that can never be replenished; once it’s gone, there is no turning back the clock. Wasting time unproductive, uncaring, toxic individuals is detrimental to one’s spiritual growth. Thanks for this essay Khadija. Enjoy your yacht and apple cider.

Khadija said...


Yes, I really liked this essay too. I'm happy I ran across it. *Smile*


You said, "When you are serious about moving ahead and making up for lost time spent on non-reciprocal people- they will sometimes begin to break off from you without you having to do a darn thing."

Yes, and it's such a relief when it works that way. LOL!


Good for you! {raised fist salute}


Thanks for the compliment, but let me emphasize that Mr. Kavala wrote the essay. I'm just happy that I ran across it.

You said, "On the flip side, in the last year many of us have started to notice parasitic leeches trying to infiltrate our circle who contribute nothing but negativity; yet these very same people want to come along for the ride in hopes that they can gain something for nothing."

Oh yeah, the leeches notice when a particularly juicy looking potential host body is on the move to better surroundings. That's often one way you can tell that you're making progress. You start to acquire new haters and brand new wanna-be coattail riders! LOL!

The cruise-ark is still under construction, but I look forward to seeing you while we're all sailing on the high seas!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Melody said...

I'm glad I got this message right now as I'm young. I'm trying to concentrate on earning the best grades I possibly can and prepare myself for my future career, though I'm not sure yet. I've seen my mom and some of my sisters work 9-5 "slave shifts" and am kind of repulsed by the idea of working in an office. I had an office job this summer and barely lasted for five days! LOL. Anyway, Khadija, I appreciate you getting this message out to bw, lord knows we need it, with all the naysayers and confusion.

dd said...

This is my first time commenting. Love your post! And I enjoy reading your blog. This one hit me right where I am at the moment. Thanks for enlighting me and challenging me all at the same time. :)

Khadija said...


It sounds like you're on your way! *Smile*


You're welcome; and THANK YOU for your kind words about the blog. I truly appreciate it.

I'm happy you de-lurked; welcome aboard!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Faith at Acts of Faith Blog said...

That was not only inspiring but very practical. How many of us have asked others for advice or been discouraged by those who place limitations on themselves and others?

Anonymous said...

@ Faith at Acts...

One of mine so called friends and co-worker knows that I want to go to nursing school and she says to me, "Oh, you do know that means you will have go to school full time and people who usually go to nursing school full-time do not work?"

Yes, I am financially short. However, my wm friend keeps cheering me on and reminding me about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. That's my Frosty always positive.

I cannot say to my co-worker that I do not want to end up like you middle age, divorced, clerical job, has a "friend" but no husband, etc.

I would say to any woman if you have the chance to improve your life take that opportunity, it maybe a while before you get another opportunity.

And, let the nay sayers talk.


Muse said...

We must be cognizant that sometimes people in your own family can unintentionally be detractors to our dreams. For example my sister is starting her freshman year at Stanford and her goal is to become a neurosurgeon. My stepmother who is also a physician is trying to encourage her to go into dermatology because the pay is good and the lifestyle is much better. My stepmother stated to my sister that becoming a neurosurgeon will be too long and difficult. My sister is a smart girl and knows that to be a neurosurgeon is the most difficult medical specialty one can undertake. She probably won’t be a full fledged neurosurgeon until age 35. She is perfectly fine with that but some naysayers keep talking about how long it may be. Just because they may not have the patience to be in training that long doesn’t mean that same applies to my sister. She’s extremely focused and disciplined. Although my stepmother’s intentions were to be helpful she turned into a detractor by imposing her own ideas of what specialty my sister should go into.

I advised my sister that she should do her own research and look within her heart of hearts to see where her passion in medicine lies. I also advised her it’s okay to change her mind when she goes to medical school if she finds another discipline that’s more interesting. Since I’m not a medical professional I ended up connecting her to a friend of mine who is a 2nd year resident as a neurosurgeon. I didn’t want to end up being a detractor as well by giving her bad advice regarding a field I’m not familiar with. If we want to be assets to others, we should also be mindful of our words, even if they are meant to encourage. Be okay with admitting being unfamiliar with a particular area and don’t give advice on issues you aren’t knowledgeable about.

Khadija said...


Yes, it is an inspiring essay. I'm happy that I came across it.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

LaShelle said...


I hear you. I didn't want to end up being a 40 year clerical worker, so I high tailed it back to school to work on my lifelong dream of being a college instructor. I worked in corporate America for over ten years and I saw too many black women become overworked, under paid fashion slaves who only came to work to talk about their no good boyfriend or husband every day. I am a divorced mother of two and let me tell you the best feeling in the world was when my girls saw me walk across the stage and receive my Masters. I know my PhD is not too far behind.

Anonymous said...

Very timely article for me. I working hard at making all the changes necessary to meet people who will only take me to higher levels, in life and consciousness. I have let go of all parasitic and toxic people. Great post Khadija!

Brother OMi said...

I WIll use that doctor analogy...

i couldn't convey that to people before


Khadija said...


Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate it.

Brother Omi,

De nada!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

KM said...

This is coming at a good time for me as well.

I'm waiting to hear if I've been accepted into a MSW program here, I just got a new job. It's a pay step down and until I get a 2nd job, I won't be able to move from the hood as fast as I want to (but its enough to pay down my existing bills). The job is also in the field that I want to work in when I finish my MSW (early child hood behavioral development) and most importantly, my coworkers are supportive (2 BW, 2 WW, one Latina, one AW, 1 WM, 1 BM).

My last two jobs were very stressful and very unsupportive with backbiting BW who noticed that I wanted to go back and further my education (telling me that a bachelors is fine), that I had no plans to have children before marriage (hounding me to have children, saying I was getting too old not to have any) and basically trying to break me down.

At church, even though it is open to IR as a whole, I've had to pare down my group of BW associates. A BM, a nice guy but totally not for me, was giving me attention and people were acting like I was crazy for not taking him up (guy was living at home like me but had no energy to leave, had a degree and a job, in school but my ambitions and his did not match, especially since he felt he was God's gift to me because he was a BM) and then treating me like Boo Boo the Fool because I opened up about my preferences not only dating wise but IR wise.

Today, I still have a long way to go (lots of debt to pay and I need to move out of my parents' home despite their health issues b/c I don't want to end up trapped) but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Anonymous said...

Hello Khadija!

This is an awesome article thanks for sharing it!

"The Only Expert About You is You!
On The Road to Success, Be Careful Who You Ask for Directions!"

I wish I had known this at 9! I would have never made many many decisions had I owned/been aware of these truths.

Khadija said...


You're welcome; and better late than never!

Peace, blessings and solidarity.

Southland Diva said...

Just finished reading your last 4 or 5 posts....and most of the comments. Thank you, thank you for the nourishment!! I am pondering what I've read, nothing coherent to contribute yet, my thoughts are still percolating.


SunHun said...

Hello Khadija,

I have been following your blog for a very long time. Thank you so much for posting this entry. I am in a situation right now where it seems like life is stagnant and my some of my "friends" are not friends at all. This entry has spurred me on to try different methods and basically shut up and just do it.

"One more effort might be all it takes to get you back on course to your own New World." is going to be my new FB status :-). On a serious note this entry is very thought provoking. Please continue to write your words of encouragement because you never know who you may touch.

I agree about not telling everyone your ideas or endeavors. There is a Jamaican saying that my mother always tells me "Bad girl nuh talk she just do!" I hope to be that bad girl one day

Khadija said...


You're welcome!


You're welcome! You said, ""One more effort might be all it takes to get you back on course to your own New World." is going to be my new FB status :-)."

Yes, I'm on a quest to reach my own personal "New World." I look forward to getting there.

Peace, blessings and solidarity.