They are going to sling it in your direction. They are going to spit it in your face, pour it in a glass and serve it to you, hoping you will chase it down with a smile on your face. Whether or not you swallow it, though, is your decision. No one can force you to drink their poison. No one can force you to subscribe to the limitations of their beliefs.
Don't Drink The Poison!
It doesn't matter if you attended an Ivy League school, were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, if you were blessed with the personality of God, the quick-wittedness of Jim Carey, the most enviable eyebrows within a 100-mile radius, or a face and body more flawless than Leonardo Da Vinci was ever capable of painting, someone somewhere is going to serve you up a poisonous concoction. Worst of all, they are going to expect you to swallow it with a grateful heart because, the majority of the time, it may be displayed on a platter of good intentions. In fact, it may even come wrapped in an appealing package.
You are going to be subjected to comparison. You are going to be "sized up." You are going to be criticized, scrutinized, discounted and dissected. But you know what? So what! You are going to be slapped in the face with humble pie, surrounded by passersby who will expect you to devour every unfortunate crumb.
You are going to be force-fed unpleasant statistics. You are going to be reminded of your competitors and those before you who attempted to achieve a similar goal, yet failed miserably. You are going to be painted nightmarish hypothetical scenarios so terrifying, you may be tempted to give up before ever finding yourself puking in a toilet mere moments before stepping foot into the arena. This is why some become so crippled by the venom that their feet never dare to enter the race. People are quick to warn others of prior failures more often than reminding them of all of the champions who triumphed despite the most back-breaking obstacles. The truth is, it is not your stuff. It often has nothing to do with you. I beg of you; do not drink the poison.
Sorry, But Your Junk Is Not My Junk
Upon returning from my honeymoon almost three years ago, I met a newly-divorced lady at a department store. She inquired about my ring, which then spawned a trail of questions about my newly-married life. I quickly detected skepticism, cynicism as well as pity from her. I found myself silenced by the sound of her vomiting every bitter feeling she had been hoarding in regards to her ex-husband and, truly, men in general.
For a moment, I feared she was one thought away from casting spells on the male species or something. Her countenance seemed to darken with every utterance and scowl. After a few minutes of torture, I politely interrupted her rant to express condolences about her situation but to also inform her that I was uninterested in hearing more. I had sympathy for her situation, but was unwilling to ingest her poison.
Do Not Heed Every Warning You Receive
The problem with being served a "reality check" is that the contributor often lacks pertinent pieces of information about the listener's situation. Oftentimes, the advice isn't even warranted! The newly divorced lady had a treasure chest of rocks she was eager to hurl in my direction, yet she knew nothing about my life. She may have even believed she was being helpful.
You are going to be advised to "manage your expectations" and to "not get your hopes up". You are going to be told to "hope for the best" as though everyone is either a victim or victor of random circumstance. But, what I want to know is: How does achieving success have anything to do with hope? Think about it. For example, I hope the sun shines tomorrow. I hope it doesn't rain during my beach vacation. I hope there are no major wrecks in my city today. However, in regards to my ability to achieve success in my life? It has nothing to do with hope. Hope isn't even a factor.
I believe the notion of success vs. failure has nothing to do with wishing for life to be kind to me. Life may not always be kind to me, however whether it is or not remains irrelevant. It has nothing to do with anyone's poisonous limitations or pessimistic expectations. It has nothing to do with the generations before me or how many times I've been told "no". It has nothing to do with the legion of individuals who are more talented, more clever or more skilled than I. It has nothing to do with keeping one eye on "the other guy".
I don't care who believes me or who thinks I'm crazy, I know what my future holds in regards to my writing career. I know that when I'm writing and sharing my stories with others, my soul is most alive and at home. I'm not interested in concocting an alternate plan for the sake of "just in case".
Plan B's Are Created When Poison Is Ingested
Whether or not I achieve success in my life depends solely upon my belief in my ability to do so. Your goals are either unattainable or "in progress", depending upon the beliefs they are rooted in. Even your wildest, weirdest dreams can come true if your mindset is right. You can either be overwhelmed by the mountain or engaged in the climb. If you concoct a "plan b", you are removing energy and belief from your original goal. People with backup plans achieve the goals of their backup plans; never their original plan. I've never seen it play out any other way.
It's not about the venom hitting you in the face. It's not about the poisonous words attempting to contaminate your brain. You're going to achieve it, whatever it is. Period. It may not be tomorrow, it may not be next week, but you're going to do it. You're going to know that you're going to do it every hour of every day until the day comes when your goal has been achieved. Write it on a post-it or declare it from the rooftops. Just make up your mind that you will not drink the poison. Do not even sip on it. Do not allow its colorful cup to even entertain the surface of your lips. Politely decline, thank the messenger for their time and remain rooted in the determination which resides in your brilliant, creative, life-shaping mind.
I'm just being honest.
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