Have you ever almost given up on an ambition of yours just before you finally succeeded? Why were you ready to give up? Who or what got in the way? What would you have missed out on if you had given up?
When aiming towards a goal, some of us are slow and steady, while others charge ahead and bulldoze through everything irrelevant. Both ways work, depending on your personality and risk tolerance. However, one thing we all have in common is facing distractors (or being distractors for others) along the way, especially in the final mile.
You’ve heard that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step; I am here to tell you that it also ends with a pessimist with his nose to the sky 9 times out of 10. Even when you ignore the distractors and move on past the finish line, they remain unconvinced.
I’ve noticed this phenomenon very often in my life and, unfortunately, I have sometimes been successfully distracted by the nay-sayers. As an avid Harry Potter fan, I’m surprised I didn’t see the “dementors” (soul-sucking tormentors that disable their captives from escaping) coming so often. But how can you spot them?
Misery loves company. As long as you’re feeling unhappy, you will find yourself surrounded by supporters. You will always find someone to drink, smoke, overeat, and complain with. But then, say one day you decide to shift your attitude and behaviours towards more positivity, self-care, health, and happiness… and watch how your “friends” drop off the face of the earth. On our first day of marriage, I woke up and smiled at my new husband and said: “I made my friends disappear!” And so I learned this the hard way.
It’s easy to spot a dementor if you are paying attention.
Watch out for the person who is distracted as you tell her about something new that excites you, and changes the subject persistently to something irrelevant.
Watch out for the person who asks you how you are and, without waiting for a response, reminds you how much luckier you are than him, then complains for hours.
Watch out for the person who rolls his eyes and tells you that people, “not you, but people,” who believe what you believe are stupid dreamers.
Watch out for the person who places a bowl of Cheetos in front of you when you’ve expressed a keen desire to eat healthy.
Watch out for the person who starts to complain that “you’ve changed and you’re not fun anymore” because you refuse to drink, eat meat, smoke, watch sad movies, or whatever.
Watch out for the person who says that you celebrate too much and it’s annoying because “life is not all shits and giggles”. I beg to differ.
I’m sure you can count the dementors in your life on two hands and a foot. Maybe two feet.
Guard yourself like a hawk and GET. AWAY. FROM. THEM.
(And, for the love of God, don’t BE them!)
Do not try to engage in a conversation or debate to prove that success is attainable to them. Do not try to justify yourself or your choice to be happy and positive. Do not, under any circumstances, apologize to them for inconveniencing them with all your joy. Do not try to argue or wrestle the Cheetos into the garbage. Do not try to show them the dream hoping that they may fall in love with it (they won’t).
Abort mission and jump ship.
Yes. I’m serious.
If I’ve learned anything from the people who got in my way when I:
- Fell in love with reading
- Started writing poetry/blogging
- Affirmed loudly that I believe in God
- Chose to flirt with vegetarianism
- Started saving my money
- Pursued my Master’s degree
- Chose to get married
- Bought a house
- Chose to have a more positive attitude
- Chose to be charitable
I learned that arguing with them only took time away from my goals, introduced new distractions, and contributed to failure. So now, unless the person in question is family or an extremely valued friend (which is not often the case because we tend to see eye-to-eye), I am unwilling to waste my time.
Abort mission and jump ship.
You are the sum of the 5 people you spend most of your time with. If you’re reading this, there is a high chance you are not destined to be a dementor, so why waste any more time on those who are?
Focus your energy on people who will help drive you forward, so that you can meet your goals and, in return, can help others meet theirs.
And remember… we design our own luck!