Getting positive feedback and encouragement is good for the morale and can boost sagging spirits. Going it alone without the support and encouragement of friends is difficult. We all need people to witness our progress and to cheer us on. It should be a high priority in your life to develop a positive network of people who appreciate you, love you and accept you. Be selective as to who you share your goals with. Mark Twain said “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambition. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great.”
We don’t need people that weigh us down with negativity and fear. There are many people willing to tell you how high the mountain is, but damn few will tell you how great the view is.
Be aware of wet blankets (negative people who do not know how to be supportive and will tramp on your dreams). Negativity and limited thinking is a way of life for them. Your excitement and enthusiasm often sparks and triggers some form of envy and they respond (often unknowingly yet still damaging) from the position “ If I can’t be excited about life and its possibilities, them damn it neither will you.” Sometimes their wet blanket mentality is disguised as rational, logical and sound thinking. They point out the risk to you; they always point out the risk and never understand that the risk might be worth it. They are professional “risk pointer outers.” Even when they attempt to be supportive, they will end the conversation with some “raining on your parade” comment that is prefaced with “but”. But, did you consider or did you know. Contrast that with people who say “That’s great” or “That’s really exciting” or “I’m really proud of you.” Their praise and encouragement is real, effective and unconditional. They truly share your excitement. They don’t need to bring you down. They are comfortable with your growth and excitement. You need awareness to determine who is really rooting for you and who has some other agenda. How do you recognize a saboteur? Whenever someone gives you advice, ask yourself how is it working for them. These people might be unknowingly practicing what Oscar Wilde observed “The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on, it’s never of any use to oneself.” I would be suspect of counseling from an unhappy therapist or weight loss tips from a overweight dietitian.
If someone always looks at opportunities with a high risk, fraught with danger, perspective, how well could their life be working? How can you ever grow without taking risk? If you aren’t growing, how can you be happy? If advice givers can’t apply the advice to their own lives, do they really understand and know what they are talking about?
If you having trouble with defining goals and dreams, find a kindred spirit (trusted close friend with similar interests or favorite author) for a discussion or review of how they envision goals, dreams and living a purposeful life. Gay Hendricks in Conscious Living wrote about what constitutes a meaningful life for him:
- To create a harmonious long-term relationship with a woman- a union in which both of us could express our full potential
- To live in a state of completion (nothing important unspoken or undone) with my family and close friends
- To generate a complete written record of everything of value that I have learned and put it in a form that I could pass down to succeeding generations
- To savor and enjoy all the moments of my life
- To get as complete as possible an understanding of and resonance with the laws of the universe and its creator force
These were an invaluable reference in helping me better to understand and articulate some of my unexpressed feelings.
The better you understand the significance of your goals, the easier it will be to determine that you are pursuing what you really want. You can ask specific questions that help you understand what the attainment of the goals really means to you:
- what will it look like when you have it?
- what will it feel like when you have it?
- what will your daily life or routine look like when you have it?
- How will your life differ from your current existence?
Beware that it isn’t the tangible object that you crave (bigger house, new car etc), it’s the feelings associated with attainment of that object. It could be feelings of achievement, security, freedom, purpose, of being appreciated by others, feeling of worthiness, or feelings that you can attain any thing that you set your sights on.
Defining and describing your goals in as many ways as possible will lead to a better grasp and understanding of your desires and how your life will be altered.
You deserve what you want and the desirability of what you want should be a non negotiable issue.