“Don’t ever let somebody tell you that you can’t do something. You got a dream, you got to protect it. When people can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.” Will Smith, actor
Can pessimism be helpful?
I think not.
Not that there’s anything wrong with critical thinking and trying to be aware of potential obstacles.
But I’m talking about people who are negative for the sake of being negative. Because they have not succeeded, they don’t want anyone else to succeed either.
An eye-opening comment
I like to increase my odds of success by being a thorough researcher. So when I was working on The Wind Is My Mother, I took a class on how to get a non-fiction book published and did absolutely everything suggested. It worked.
Part of the process was to draft a query letter and send it to literary agents willing to accept them from an unknown author.
My roommate at the time told a writer friend of hers that I had sent out query letters and her friend’s reply was, “Now she can sit back and wait for the rejection letters along with the rest of us.”
Wow! Talk about pessimism. [Note to self: don’t share my dreams with people who will try to tear them down].
Choose your friends carefully
But you also have to find balance between holding the energy on something so the nay-sayers can’t tear you down versus sharing your dream with those who will support the dream.
In other words, choose your friends wisely.
12 years ago I set a goal of going to Ireland. I had no money for it but I told all my supportive friends that I was going to do it [not wanted to – would do it!] The money manifested in a wonderful surprising way and I went!
So what I am saying is: shed the naysayers. They don’t support you blossoming into the person you were meant to be.
And don’t be discouraged by failures
The pessimists would prefer we not try or that we give up after the first obstacle.
Fortunately for us, some of our greatest athletes, writers and inventors didn’t let their failures deter them. To me, that’s what separates the successful from the unsuccessful.
You may find some inspiration from the following successful people who didn’t let pessimists or obstacles stop them:
- Michael Jordon was cut from his high school basketball team
- J.K. Rowling got 12 rejections before finding a publisher for the Harry Potter series
- Col Sanders received 100s of rejections when seeking backing for his Kentucky Fried Chicken.
- Thomas Edison failed over 9,999 times in the process of inventing the light bulb, and he tested 6,000 materials
- Dr. Seuss was rejected by 28 publishers
- Starbucks founder Howard Schultz spoke to 242 potential investors – all but 17 turned him down
- Walt Disney was turned down 302 times before a bank lent him money to build Disneyland
- Steven Spielberg was rejected when he applied to go to the USC Film School
Here is a list of famous books and the number of times they were rejected:
- Auntie Mame, Patrick Dennis (15)
- Carrie, Stephen King (30)
- Chicken Soup for the Soul, Jack Canfeld and Mark Victor Hansen (140)
- Diary of Anne Frank (16)
- Dr. Seuss books (15)
- Dubliners, James Joyce (22)
- Dune, Frank Herbert (23)
- Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell (38)
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach (18)
- Kon-Tiki, Thor Heyerdahl (20)
- M*A*S*H, Richard Hooker (17)
- The Peter Principle, Laurence Peter (16)
- The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot (17)
- Watership Down, Richard Adams (26)
- A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle, (26)
Success belongs not to the most talented, but to those who perservere.
“The pessimist sees the problems in every opportunity. Whereas the optimist sees the opportunity in every problem. Never give in, never give in, never; never; never; never in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. “ Winston Churchill
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