Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Why opinions will hold you back

Have you ever decided to do something in life, had an incredible idea that totally lit you up from the inside out, and you knew without question that you had to do this thing?  And this idea makes you feel so amazing, you feel so excited to get started and you have bucket loads of enthusiasm and so you tell someone you know about it, and they say:

"Oh, no I wouldn't do that"


"That sounds risky/expensive/dangerous...have you thought this through??"

Or even worse, they may even start to point out your flaws and tell you why you'll fail (remember when I listened to the opinion of that art teacher all those years back? The one who told me I wouldn't make it as an artist because I didn't have what it took?  And I listened to her, and I didn't paint for several years.  All because I chose to ignore my own gut feelings, and listen to someone else's opinon!)

And as soon as you get this feedback, literally within a split second, your idea crashes and burns, you feel your stomach go into free fall as the negative feelings of worry and doubt descend.

You start to think "Are they right?  Well, you know they might have a could be risky, I might waste a lot of money doing that...and what if I'm awful at it after all the effort?  You know, it's probably best if I just forget it"  and you talk yourself out of the incredible thing you wanted to do, because someone told you it wasn't possible.

And the problem is, because we respect this person (parent, friend, partner, sibling, tutor etc), we value their response, and we are anxious to hear their thoughts and get their blessing on our new venture.

What we tend to miss in this exchange is a vital detail, and this is why other people's opinions will hold you back.  That person giving you the advice, or questioning your ability?  They're not you, they don't have your abilities and they don't have your vision.  

You need to remember that at this point, they can't see the possibility or the 'how', they haven't got your passion or enthusiasm for this thing, and they want to protect you.  Their fears and limiting beliefs will instantly come to the surface and because they don't want you to fail, they'll try and talk you out of it.

You might want to take a painting class, go travelling, or launch a new business.  It is essential that before you tell anyone about your big idea, that you feel confident enough to resist the naysayers, because I can guarantee you will come up against them, and most surprisingly it'll be the ones who know you best and care about you the most that will be the ones to do this to you.

It's quite hard to ignore advice when it's well meant and from someone you respect, but you have to look at the bigger picture and decide what you want your life to look like.  Do you want it to look like theirs?  Probably not.  Do you want to grow as a person, enjoy new experiences and live your life so it looks the way you want it to?  Of course.  And so you need to learn to breeze past the opinions of others.

Ok, so what if it turns out that they're right, I hear you say.  What if, their sound advice turns out to be dead on the nose and they turn around as you fail and say 'I told you so'.

It doesn't matter.

The fact is, you tried.  You had a go, you gave something you wanted to do your best shot.  Isn't that better than languishing on your couch and wondering 'what if?'  People who want to succeed in life keep trying.  They get knocked back, make mistakes but they pick themselves up and start again.  Learn to be tenacious, if you really want a thing, keep at it until you get it.

And of course, on the other side of the coin there's always the option of not failing, of going for this thing and achieving it, ramping your life up a gear and living it in a way that makes you feel happy and good.


  1. Just wanted to let you know I appreciate what you've written. I kept coming back to it this evening hoping to come up with a fitting response. Thank you for sharing. For me right now, I like the part about "what do you want your life to look like" and being tenacious about it. Alexine in Maryland

  2. Hello Alexine, thank you so much for taking the time to read and leave a comment. Im reall glad that you enjoyed the blog post. Julia xxx

  3. Hi Julia!
    Thank you so much for writing this and sharing it on your instagram. I opened it in a tab and intended to come back and read it right away. Well, 3 months later I finally read it. I feel very encouraged by you. I am a songwriter, and also pursue other artistic outlets as time allows. I have had to overcome negative feedback, often from people who gave me unsolicited criticism as though they are the authority on my music. I’m still working on moving beyond that and writing my music how I want to!
    Merry Christmas and God bless you! I love your art so much, and enjoy following you on Instagram.

    1. Hi Ellen, thanks so much for your comment, and apologies for my delayed reply I'm afraid I've been neglecting my Blog! I just wanted to wish you luck on your journey, it can be really defeating when we hear other people telling us what we don't want to hear - stay strong and focused, follow your passion and keep going!
      Best wishes, Julia xxx