Beware of the Dream Thieves

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Why do so many people let their dreams die unrealized? The biggest reason, I suppose, is the negative, cynical attitudes of other people. Those other people are not enemies… they are friends, and sometimes even family members. Our enemies never bother us greatly; we can usually handle them with little trouble.

But our friends, if they are naysayers, are constantly punching holes in our dreams with a cynical smile here, a put-down there, a constant stream of negative vibrations — our friends can kill us!

Here’s a story: A man gets excited about the possibility of a new job. He sees the opportunity to make more money, do more meaningful work, rise to a personal challenge; the old heart starts pounding and the juices begin to flow and he feels himself revving up for this stimulating new prospect. But then he tells his neighbor about it over the back fence one evening. He gets a smirk, a laugh that says, “You can’t do that,” a foot-long list of all the problems and obstacles, and fifty reasons why he never will make it and why he is better off to stay where he is.

Before he knows it, his enthusiasm falls down to near zero. He goes back into the house like a whipped pup with his tail dragging the ground and all the fire and self-confidence he had gone. Now he begins to second guess himself. Now he is thinking of all the reasons he can’t make it instead of the reasons that he can. He lets one five-minute spurt of negativism or ridicule or just plain disbelief from a dream-nothing, do-nothing neighbor take the steam right out of his engine.

Friends like that do more damage than a dozen enemies can!

The easiest thing on earth to find is someone to tell you all the things you cannot do. Someone will always be eager to point out to you that anything new or daring is hopelessly doomed to failure. DON’T LISTEN TO THEM!

Give it a chance to happen. Don’t let your brother-in-law or your plumber or your husband’s fishing buddy or the guy in the next office rob you of that faith in yourself that makes things happen. If you have that flame of a dream down inside you somewhere, thank God for it, and do something about it. And don’t let anyone else blow it out.

My father was a great believer in the potential of individual effort. Every time he heard me say the word “can’t” as a boy, he would say: “There is no such word as can’t. And if you say it one more time, I’ll knock your block right through that wall!” He never did that, but I never forgot the point. I learned that there really are no good uses of the word “can’t.”

Believe you can, and you’ll find that you can! Try! You’ll be surprised at how many good things can happen.

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