When I think about unsolicited opinions I think about people giving negative unwanted opinions. Like a person taking aim at a dart board without paying attention to see you extracting your darts from that same board, they shoot blindly and make you the new target. Why do people insist on raining on someone else’s parade?
I’m in the process of publishing my first book. It’s something I’m REALLY excited about. Writing has always been a passion of mine. Too afraid to pursue writing professionally, I always put my dream on the back burner, until now. Why? Chasing your dream is scary. It requires chutzpah.
The other day I was on the phone with a friend when he nonchalantly repeated an unsolicited opinion concerning my writing. It completely caught me off guard. I didn’t know what to say. I became aggravated and thoughts raced through my head. Why was he telling me this? What was the point and why did this person’s words bother me so much?
In life there are very few intimate and private things we choose not to share with the world. We hold these personal bits of information inside and keep them close. Sometimes these secrets that we choose to hide are our dreams.
Secrets, such as dreams, are fragile. Like pieces of crystal, they can easily break if not held by a sturdy hand. When our hands tremble and our doubt kicks in, we’re more inclined to see these dreams slip from our grip and shatter. When someone provides what they may think is a harmless unsolicited opinion that happens to relate to my dream, I get defensive and protective. This is my dream, it’s not any of your concern. I’m the one laying it all on the line, not you. I’m the one who’s brave enough to say, “Let me see what can happen. Let me throw everything I have into this dream and see where it goes.”
While I’m well aware of the fact that becoming a successful author is no easy feat, I don’t need to be reminded of it. Besides if every artist thought that their book, their music, their piece of art would never be good enough, they all would have given up before they even got started. They would have automatically assumed that they would fail. It takes a strong individual to think differently. Someone who is bold asks a different question; they ask, “Why can’t I succeed? “
At the end of the day other people’s successes or failures have absolutely nothing to do with us, so why feel the need to weigh in? Since we can’t go around policing what others say, we can do one of two things; we can ignore their nasty nonsense or find amusement in their behavior.
Dreams are important. We have them for a reason. It took me a long time to decide to pursue a career as a writer. I spent most of my life telling myself why I shouldn’t go after my dream. Rather than just going for it, something always kept holding me back, and that something was fear. In the end I decided I’d rather live my life trying to achieve my dreams, as opposed to running from them. I knew that if I didn’t, I’d always have this nagging voice asking me, “Why?” I didn’t want to look back and wonder what if. I also knew that I’d be disappointed and annoyed with myself if I didn’t give life my all. How could I let the fear of failure or someone’s negative opinions keep me from being the person that I could be? After all, what did I really have to lose except time? Everything in life is an opportunity to learn, success or failure, it’s all the same; it’s life and it’s worth living.
I used to work with this girl who called me Seabiscuit. I loved it. We would watch the movie over and over again and I would always get chills and tear up when Seabiscuit beat War Admiral in what was called “The Match of The Century.”
Fairytales or not, people’s dreams do come true. What’s important is not to let the naysayers keep you from moving forward. Unsolicited opinions are just that, unwanted unnecessary thoughts provided by an individual you may or may not even know. Rather than see their comments as demoralizing, see them for what they are, amusing. After all isn’t it interesting that you’ve stated the obvious, fulfilling our dreams is difficult. Thanks for the heads up. If we focus on those that support us and focus on ourselves, unsolicited words can longer hurt us. Words can only be weapons if we let them be.