Protect your Goals and Dreams.

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You got a dream. You got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves… they want to tell you, you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period. – Pursuit of Happyness Movie

On your path to achieving your goals, dreams, and aspirations, you would have to deal with the following sets of people: naysayers, critics, experts, killjoys, dream killers and stealers, the spiteful, frenemies and foes. You’ve got to find a way to protect your goals from these sets of people, especially when they do not see your big picture.  Dreams are somewhat fragile, exposing your dreams to any form of negativity can be detrimental to achieving them.  When you were young, your dreams were wild but as you grow older, the world beats it out of you.

It is the people closest to us who first indoctrinate us with self-limiting beliefs such as “You can not become successful because you are a person of color”, “Money is the root of evil”, and “You need to live cautiously” etc. Your spirit gets dampened by people you thought had their Sh**t figured out. But the reality of life is that: Everyone is trying to figure it out. It is ok to get feedback from people but you need to be mindful of who you share your dreams with. 

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.― T.E. Lawrence

In his book, Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It, American leadership author John C. Maxwell outline whose feedback to pay attention to. He writes:

Which critics count and which don’t? Here is my advice. Heed the advice of the critic when . . .

  • You are unconditionally loved by the one who criticizes you.
  • The criticism is not tainted by his or her personal agenda.
  • The person is not naturally critical of everything.
  • The person will continue giving support after giving advice.
  • He or she has knowledge and success in the area of the criticism.

Maxwell advised further to ask the following questions:

Here are the questions I ask to get to determine what kind of criticism it is:

  • Who criticized me? 
    Adverse criticism from a wise person is more to be desired than the enthusiastic approval of a fool. The source often matters.
  • How was it given?
    I try to discern whether the person was being judgmental or whether he gave me the benefit of the doubt and spoke with kindness.
  • Why was it given?
    Was it given out of a personal hurt or for my benefit? Hurting people hurt people; they lash out or criticize to try to make themselves feel better, not to help the other person

One of the toughest challenges of following your dreams is dealing with the emotional roller coaster of the sarcasm and discouraging words of your family, friends, relatives, and loved ones. Most adults are operating below the veil of consciousness, they have settled for a life of mediocrity, living a life of quiet desperation as Thoreau noted.

“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things. ― Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience and Other Essays

One of my favorite movies of all time, the pursuit of happiness features Will Smith as homeless salesman Chris Gardner and his son Jadon Smith as Christopher Jr. A scene in the movie pass across the message of protecting your dreams perfectly. While playing basketball, Christopher Jr. Muttered  “Hey dad, I am going pro! … I am going pro! 


Will: Okay yeah. I don’t know you know I… You’ll probably be about as good as I was. That’s kind of the way it works you know. I was below average. You know, so you’ll probably ultimately rank…somewhere around there you know so…I really – You’ll excel at a lot of things just not this. I don’t want you shooting this ball around all day and night. All right?

Jadon: All right
Will: Hey! Don’t ever let somebody tell you … you can’t do something. Not even me. All right?
Jadon: All right
Will: You got a dream. You got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves… they want to tell you, you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period. Let’s go

You got a dream. You got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves… they want to tell you, you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.

I have seen the movie multiple times and I have not been able to not cry while watching the movie. I totally relate with Chris Gardner’s character and the advice he gave his son about protecting his dreams. Our loved ones say most of these discouraging statements not to harm us but to keep us safe, avoid risk and keep out of danger. The reality of life and becoming successful is that: No Pain, No Gain. No Thorn, No Throne; No Cross, No crown; No guts, No Glory. If you want to win the prize, you have got to pay the price. As American author and professor, John Augustus Shedd once said “A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.”

“An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less until finally he knows everything about nothing.” 

Apart from our family and friends, you also need to deal with so-called experts that are very sure of almost anything. Here are some statements made by experts about budding innovations before they became well-known:

  • “The phonograph is of no commercial value.” —Thomas Edison, remarking on his own invention in 1880.
  • “There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.” —Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize winner in physics, 1920.
  • “It is an idle dream to imagine that automobiles will take the place of railways in the long-distance movement of passengers.” —American Road Congress, 1913.
  • “With over 50 foreign cars already on sale here, the Japanese auto industry isn’t likely to carve out a big slice of the U.S. market.” — Business Week, August 2, 1968.
  • “I think there is a world market for about five computers.” —Thomas Watson, chairman IBM, 1943.
  • “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.” —Ken Olsen, president of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977
  • “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” — Western Union internal memo, 1876.
  • “While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially it is an impossibility.” — Lee DeForest, inventor.
  • “There will never be a bigger plane built.” — A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that holds ten people

 First people will tell you that you are wrong. Then they will tell you that you are right, but what you’re doing really isn’t important. Finally, they will admit that you are right and that what you are doing is very important; but after all, they knew it all the time. – Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine


Inventor and founder of Dyson, James Dyson writes about being weary of experts in his 2021 autobiography, In Invention: A Life, Dyson. He writes:

Experts tend to be confident that they have all the answers and, because of this trait, they can kill new ideas. But when you are trying to break new ground, you have no interest in getting stuck in engineering conventions or intellectual mud.

Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known, we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgement in science stands on the edge of error and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible. –  Jacob Bronowski

Dyson further noted

“After the event, a revolutionary new idea can look so obvious − surely no one could possibly have doubted it? At their conception, though, new ideas are not blindingly obvious. They are fragile things in need of encouragement and nurturing against doubting Thomases, know-it-alls and so-called experts. Just as Frank Whittle discovered, it is easy for people to say ‘no’, to dismiss new ideas, and to be stick-in-the-muds, pessimists, or even cynics. It is much harder to see how something unexpected might be a success.”

“The depressing thing is that harbingers of doom and gloom get far more attention than optimists and problem solvers.”

People would instinctively discourage you and say things that might derail your goal attainment. You have got to be wary of this kind of people. You meet them everywhere as so-called experts, concerned parents, envious siblings, passive-aggressive in-laws, frenemies disguised as friends, know-it-all instructors, doubting Thomases, killjoys, naysayers, and critics. As Indian statesman Mathama Gandhi once said “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.” The journey to achieving your goals is going to be arduous but you have to see the end in mind, execute relentlessly and protect your goals religiously.

The best lack all conviction, while the worst. Are full of passionate intensity. – The Second Coming , William Butler Yeats.

All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile |

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