Yet, you overcame your self-doubts and decided to just take the plunge, on whatever scale. You told your friends and family about it, and some of them decided to flat-out drop a nuclear bomb on your ideas. Once the smoke cleared, you were left hurting. But, don’t worry — if you ever hear any of the below 9 things that people say to stop you from following your dreams, just smile at them because their reactions mean that you’re headed in the right direction.
1. “Don’t waste your time; you’ll never be famous.”
People who say this miss the point entirely. You’d be happy writing, singing, or tinkering away in complete obscurity if you could just do the thing you love and get your bills paid at the same time.
2. “You’ll never make any real money doing this.”
And yet, some people in the field of whatever your passion is do make a living doing it. The thing that you know for certain is that if you never try to do the thing you love, you will make exactly zero dollars off it in the future.
3. “But you don’t have a major in this.”
For most jobs or pursuits, you don’t actually need a college major to be good at it. You just need diehard interest and passion. And, for those licensed professions where you do need a relevant degree or training, there are courses and programs that you can sign up for to achieve your goals. I know a former ballet dancer who is now in medical school; a doctor who quit to become a bird photographer; and a chemist who now designs websites. If you have the interest, the books, classes, and teachers are all out there to get you up to speed.
4. “No one cares about this.”
True, the person who says this to you might not care at all about the thing that passionately interests you. But there are thousands or maybe millions of other people in the world who do share your interests, no matter how obscure.
5. “But you are really good at [insert current job here]; you’re wasting your talents by doing this.”
If you’re really good at being a pilot or a surgeon, but are interested in cultivating cacti, you’re not obligated to remain a pilot to serve the greater good with your flying skills. You’re not even obligated to save lives by being a surgeon. As soon as you leave your job, another pilot or surgeon will take your place. Very, very few people are so good at something that they are irreplaceable.
6. “That field is really competitive.”
Every field is really competitive on some level. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Case closed.
7. “You’re too old.”
The only time that it’s truly too late is if you’re on your deathbed or if you waited too long to start. For instance, you wanted to join the CIA but now you age out. Otherwise, you can always go back to school, join a weaving club, launch a website, or become a café owner. You can become a personal trainer, dentist, bartender, florist, or anything else that you dream of in this wide world if that is what really interests you.
8. “You’ll have a gap in your resume.”
The truth is that most people have a gap in their resume at some point. It’s almost unavoidable if you’re in the workforce long enough. Kids, marriage, sickness, and a death in the family, as well as getting laid off or fired from a job will do that to you. You can’t run your life for fear of how it will look on your resume.
9. “You’ll never work as a [insert current job here] again.”
Whoever says this does not have a crystal ball. It’s up to you to decide if you will want to return to your field after leaving it. It might be a little harder to get back in later once you’ve left, but your name does not go on a blacklist if you quit to follow your dreams.
The friends and family dropping these generic 9 sentences on your dreams are just trying to get you to stop. These 9 sentences will never be constructive, and are only meant to be discouraging because your ideas feel threatening to these people. Usually, it’s because your best friend or coworker is also harboring a secret passion of her own (but is too afraid to pursue it) or has no passion at all and can’t understand that you do. Whatever the case, don’t let them bring you down. If you keep working on what you love, doors that you never knew existed will open in your life; you’ll meet other people who inspire you and share your interests; and, years from now, you’ll never regretfully ask yourself, “What if?”