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“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” Walter Bagehot
Walter was a 19th century journalist. I don’t know anymore about him than that, but I can say with certainty that he must have had some hard knocks in his life and a raft of naysayers around him if he was inspired to pen these words.
Things haven’t changed much, have they?
While I’m not sure doing what other people say you can’t is life’s greatest pleasure, to my mind, it’s surely one of life’s supreme satisfactions. Let’s ponder, for a moment, all those around us who may be telling us we can’t do what we’ve set out to.
First, the ghosts of the past. All those voices at home or in school who may have dismissed our ambitions or dreams, and told us that we didn’t have what it takes.
Second, there are those pesky voices in our head – the nagging internal censors – who whisper all those self-defeating tapes we listen to, even though they deflate us.
Then there are those close to us, the ones who really should be supporting our goals — who should be our allies — but are afraid that we might actually succeed where they haven’t.
And then there are all the rest — the naysayers, gatekeepers, and critics who seem determined to keep us from getting what we want – who pass judgment on what we do.
What if we just didn’t listen to them all?
What if we just went on our merry way, doing what we love, what we’re meant to do, what we’re called to do, what we have to do because it’s in our bones and hearts?
What if we just put all the naysayers on a big raft, sent them out to sea, and let them argue among themselves about how to find land?
Mmmm. I like that vision! Let’s not let all these voices distract and discourage us. What do they know, anyway? As my great friend and mentor Dr. Rob Gilbert* says, “Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but no one can count the apples in a seed.”
No one knows what we’re truly capable of, do they? Often, we don’t even know ourselves until we get out there and do it.
So, let’s “merrily roll along” and take pleasure in the doing today – confident that someday soon, we’ll also know the great pleasure of doing what others say we can’t. Write on!
*Be sure to check out Dr. Gilbert’s Success Hotline: 973.743.4690!
You are so right Karin! Clint Eastwood and Elvis Presley were both told they wouldn’t make it in show business. Elvis was told to keep his truck driving job!