The 10 Biggest Lies that Stop People from Getting What they Want

They say that “everybody’s a critic,” and that never seems truer than when you’re pursuing a dream. There will always be well-meaning people who want to “protect” you from your “unrealistic fantasies.” Critics tried to discourage the people profiled in the book Unstoppable. Everyone ignored the negative input and achieved their goals. Follow their lead and you, too, will be UNSTOPPABLE!

1. The timing is all wrong. In 1987, prior to accepting Paramount’s offer to host a late-night talk show, Arsenio Hall was told by everyone: “It’s too hard to crack into the late-night ratings. Television isn’t ready for a black talk show host. This is America, and you can forget it.”

2. Why don’t you get a real job? Not understanding his desire to become Mr. Universe, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s family pleaded with him, saying: “How long will you go on training all day in a gymnasium and living in a dream world?”

3. It’ll never work, you’ll lose everything. Weeks before she opened her first store, cosmetic tycoon Mary Kay Ash’s attorney said: “Liquidate the business right now and recoup whatever cash you can. If you don’t, you’ll end up penniless.”

4. Don’t rock the boat. In response to Muriel Siebert’s application to be the first woman to buy a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, officials responded: “The language on the floor is too rough and there’s no ladies’ room.” She bought a seat anyway and remained the only woman there for nine years.

5. It’s never been done before. Upon applying for a job after graduation from Columbia University, announcers for NBC Radio responded to Sally Jessy Raphael: “You have the perfect voice for broadcasting, but you should get a job as a secretary. We’re not using women.”

6. You don’t have enough talent. Responding to his desire to become a recording artist, Ray Charles’ teachers said: “You can’t play the piano, and God knows you can’t sing. You’d better learn how to weave chairs so you can support yourself.”

7. Don’t even try, you’ll just be disappointed. When auditioning for a part in a high school musical, a teacher rejected Diana Ross saying: “You have a nice voice, but it’s nothing special.”

8. You don’t fit the mold OR you’re not the right “type.” Trying to convince her she didn’t have the right look, fashion photographer Richard Avedon told Cher: “You will never make the cover of Vogue because you don’t have blond hair or blue eyes.” When she did make the cover, Vogue sold more copies than it had ever sold before.

9. Don’t give up your day job. Commenting on the first manuscript of an unpublished author, a New York publisher told James Michener: “You’re a good editor with a promising future in the business. Why would you want to throw it all away to try to be a writer? I read your book. Frankly, it’s not really that good.” Michener’s first book, Tales of the South Pacific, later won a Pulitzer Prize and was adapted for stage and screen as South Pacific.

10. There’s no market for it. When hearing his plans to launch Perrier in the United States, several consulting firms advised Gustave Leven: “You’re foolish to try to sell sparkling water in the land of Coca-Cola drinkers.”

The only opinion about your dream that really counts is yours. The negative comments of others merely reflect their limitations — not yours. There is nothing unrealistic about a dream that aligns with your purpose, ignites your passion, and inspires you to plan and persevere until you attain it. On the contrary, it’s unrealistic to expect a person with such drive and commitment not to succeed. Choose to be unstoppable!

Chicago CIO and Entrepreneur. Started @Orbitz, @AssureFlight, Team ITG, YourPrivateLine and others. I Love technology, startups and meeting interesting people.

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