You Determine the Weight of Others’ Opinions

ScaleThe fear of what others think is a major reason many people don’t pursue their dreams. While it’s in our nature to give consideration to what other people think about us, there is a huge difference between considering what other people think and fearing what they think.

It is very possible to consider what others think about you without letting their thoughts dictate your actions. It is nearly impossible to fear what other people think about you and keep that from hindering your progress. Giving too much weight to the opinions of others will eventually derail you altogether.

The desires to be liked, accepted, and to “fit in” are powerful forces. When we are young, it is easy to let them become the most powerful forces in our lives. But if you are serious about chasing down your dreams, you can’t give them so much power.

That starts by understanding that no matter where you try to go and what you try to accomplish, people will always have opinions. Some will agree with you and support your efforts. Others will not. They’ll say you can’t. You won’t. You shouldn’t. You’d be stupid to. Some of them will be adamant about their opinions. But that’s okay, because that’s all they are—opinions, words floating in the air that have no power over your actions except the power you give them. Choose to only give power to your own words and the words of those whom you trust.

As for the rest?

Let them drift to the ground where they can do you no harm. Then keep marching forward. It’s your dream, not theirs.

There Are No Shortcuts to Success

No matter what you read or hear, there are no shortcuts to realizing your dreams. The message of simple success has become believable today, but it’s the furthest thing from the truth. The unfortunate reality is that those who buy into that message are ultimately buying into something much more dangerous called apathy.

These days, apathy rules the majority. Few people want to work hard. It’s all about how little you can do and still manage to get by. It’s all about trying to succeed with as little effort as possible, trying to look like success comes easy.

I can tell you that in all my years of living I have never met a person who held those beliefs and ended up being successful. Most of them end up living with remorse. The irony is that whether you decide to work hard for what you want or try to find a shortcut, you will end up putting in your time.

If you decide to take the lazy route, you might get more sleep today, but you will put in your time later as you struggle through days, weeks and even years of disappointment and regret.

If you decide to work hard, you’ll put in blood, sweat and tears today, and soon you’ll be reaping your reward while everyone else is wondering why they gave up so soon.

Years ago, author Napoleon Hill wrote about a man who traveled to California during the 1849 Gold Rush. Like many of the prospectors there, he was hoping to strike it rich and never have to work again. Deep down he was looking for a shortcut. For a period of time the man rose early and spent his days chipping away at the surrounding hills with his pickaxe and shovel. While he found small flakes of gold here and there, it was nothing that would make him rich. He kept digging, convinced his fortune was out there.

Then one day, after a couple months of digging, he couldn’t dig any more. He put down his tools and gave up.

After hearing the man had given up, another prospector working nearby offered to buy his tools. The man agreed, sold his tools and left the area to never prospect again. The new prospector immediately hired three men to study the land and determine where the big deposit of gold was most likely to be. A few days later they zeroed in on a spot that was three feet from where the previous man quit digging. The new prospector began digging in that spot and within a matter of days discovered an enormous deposit of gold.

The big difference between the two men was not what they did. They both dug in the same area, with the same tools, within thirty-six inches of each other. The big difference was in their perception of success. The first man thought success came easy. He was only willing to give a little effort. When success didn’t come quickly, he quit. The second man knew success required ongoing diligence, resourcefulness and collaboration. He give it everything he had. And he was eventually rewarded.

Every day, you choose which prospector you will be.


Everyone who has ever lived can find a reason to settle for less than what they are capable of achieving. Life is very hard at times. We get burned out, tired, exhausted, afraid, frustrated, defeated, lost, scared and hopeless. We all have these feelings at some point. They make us want to give up, stop fighting, settle for something less than the best.

I’ve been there. I’ve been kicked, beaten and bruised by what this life dishes out. I have scars and wounds that may fade with time but they’ll never completely go away.

So do you.

Despite all the doubters and difficult circumstances you may face, settling for less than what you are capable of has to be your greatest enemy in life because it’s the only enemy you can personally defeat. You can’t always control the forces around you – Things like who your parents are and what choices they make or where you live or whether or not you have any money. But you can control your response to the forces around you. It’s not always easy, but how you react remains your choice. You can let the forces shape you, or you can refuse to let something or someone else control who you become.

Your surroundings often act like a funnel, trying to squeeze you into a clone of the others around you. The pull of peer pressure is to fit in, dress the same, act the same and even misbehave the same. But the promise of peer pressure – that you will be successful if you fit in – is a lie. It is a lie because the people who go on to achieve great things are never clones of those around them. They are unique, one-of-a-kind individuals. That’s because every dream inside a person is unique, and if your dream is unique, you must be too in order to see it happen.