It's easy to be seduced by the promises from people who speak glowingly of your talents and abilities. In a world that seems increasingly determined to limit our dreams and expectations, it can be especially tempting to take heed to those who offer unabashed optimism and encourage us to reach for more. But not all advice should be taken up, particularly when there exist larger ambitions for ourselves than our advisors have. We owe it to ourselves and to our future happiness to ensure that only listen to people's opinions if they have bigger dreams for you than you do.
Though we may sometimes feel inclined to take any port in a storm (especially in times of adversity), this kind of logic is ill-advised. Everywhere we turn in life it may seem as if we’re being confronted with conflicting opinions, but this isn’t always the case; instead it merely reflects the peculiar diversity of perspectives that life so freely offers. It is possible to learn from each one of these perspectives; however, it is impossible to incorporate them all without feeling helplessly overwhelmed and hampered by fear.
The allure of people offering dreamy predictions of lifelong joy and success is hard to ignore. But, no matter how comforting these words may seem, those who offer support that is less expansive than we can envision for ourselves is not just limited but also debilitating. Striving to achieve more than we think possible is an essential part of pushing ourselves forward and cultivating a sense of ambition; anything less will only keep us from achieving our true potential, and ultimately may lead us to feelings of discontentment and a lack of satisfaction.
This doesn’t mean we need to reframe all persons with prudence and mistrust. In fact, oftentimes the kindest souls with the most honest intentions are precisely the kinds of folks with whom we should consult and accept counsel. However, it’s important to remember that those who seek to challenge and elevate our dreams are those that are really worthy of our attention and esteem. To be sure, much of life is a mere series of trial and error, and the experiences we have can be simultaneously rewarding and heartbreaking. If we find ourselves surrounded by people with lesser dreams for us than we have for ourselves, then we’re doing ourselves a disservice and going against the grain of what we know: that our potential knows no bounds.
We’re born curious and ambitious creatures, driven by the depths of our own imaginings and desires. Listening to the opinions of others is can be incredibly valuable, but only when those opinions are designed to push us to reach even higher than we thought was possible. Realize that each person we meet has something to offer, but that only when those possibilities are grander than ours should those opinions be taken seriously.
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