by Niall Doherty

Last week I told a guy I met here in Burgos about the 5 Tongues of Awesome, aka my goal of becoming fluent in the five most widely-spoken languages in the world.

No sooner had I put it out there than he was shooting it down. “You should learn German,” he said. “That would be more useful to you than Mandarin, Hindi or Arabic.”

I tried in vain to emphasize the whole most-widely spoken thing, but he wasn’t getting it. He was convinced that German was a superior language, and that I’d be wasting my time learning anything but. In the end I just let it go, reminding myself of two things:

  1. You can’t change someone’s mind unless they want it to be changed.
  2. It doesn’t matter if other folks think your goal is ridiculous. All that matters is that it’s meaningful to you.

I also couldn’t help but marvel at how prone we humans are to project our personal beliefs and desires onto other people. That chap was so smitten with German that he was willing to piss all over the dream of some guy he’d just met. I mean, dude, you go learn fucking German if you want to, nobody’s stopping you. But don’t tell me I should learn German. This is my dream, not yours. You don’t get to learn your favorite languages through me. You go do that yourself.

I feel lucky these days that I’m able to recognize such dream-zappers pretty quick and take appropriate action (i.e. ignore them). Rewind a few years and such a person would have had me seriously second-guessing myself, and perhaps even compromising my goals.

After the great response to the goal sharing post last week, I know a lot of you reading here have your own big goals that you’re working towards. I‘m hoping you won’t fall victim to the narrow-minded projections of other people, honorable as their intentions might be. Lend such folks an occasional ear, sure, because they may bring up some important points that you’ve failed to consider. But refuse to let them belittle or ridicule what you’re trying to do.

And likewise, be careful not to belittle or ridicule the dreams of others. Their dreams don’t have to make sense to you. It’s the spirit of the goal that matters, not the goal itself.

How about you? Have you had to deal with many people pissing on your dreams? How do you handle it?

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