The #1 Poison to Your Potential—and How to Overcome It
As humans, we’re constantly worrying about obstacles that can derail our growth.
The economy. Health issues. Whether or not a giant cement block is going to serendipitously fall from the sky while we walk down the street for some I-promise-it’s-the-last-time-this-week ice cream.
None of these scenarios are under our control. We can cross our fingers and hope there’s not another recession anytime soon, or that we don’t get sick in the next year, but that’s about it. Okay, we can also burn sage, but that probably won’t help either.
There’s something else, though. Something that can impact your future more than a bad economy, or even breaking your leg. And guess what? You have 100% control over it.
The #1 poison to your potential is caring what other people think.
You have a dream. A big fat one you’ve labeled “stupid.” One so impossible you shake your head and immediately move onto something else whenever it knocks against your mind and asks when it’s allowed to come in for some tea. I’d be willing to bet you’ve decided this dream is “stupid” because of things others have said. Maybe you let it slip that you’d like to be a millionaire one day, and your friend Sam burst out laughing. Maybe you mentioned to a co-worker that you’d like to start a business of your own, and they raised their eyebrows at you. Other people’s reactions to your deepest, truest desires can often be the thing that kills your dream before it’s even had a chance to sprout wings.
Or maybe you’ve never told anyone your dream. Instead, you haven’t acted on it because of what you think people might say. If I start that blog, my friends will laugh at me. If I start that book, my boyfriend won’t understand. If I post that video on YouTube, my family will think I’m crazy.
Let me tell you something: These fears are like maggots, weaving through your mind and eating your dreams like they’re dead flesh.
And you’re letting them.
There was a time when I cared what others thought. I never told anyone I wrote books, because I was afraid they’d think it was stupid, since I’d never gotten a book deal (at that point). I also never mentioned that I was a good singer because I thought people might think that was weird. In fact, you might be judging me right now for being so outright about my ambitions.
When I was in college, those fears crumbled up and blew away, just like the leaves on that East Coast campus. Freshman year, I tried out for an a cappella group—one of the first times people other than my family heard me sing. Sophomore year, I started an Instagram account where I (gasp) recorded singing videos and posted them for the world to see. Within a couple of months, I had tens of thousands of followers.
Imagine yourself posting a video on the internet doing the thing you love most, for the public to watch and judge. Just take a second—really imagine doing it. Does the thought fill you with anxiety? Does it make a chill run down your spine? Does it make you shake your head like a grandma and say, no, no, no child ?
Why? Because you’re afraid of what people might think.
Having a talent is like having a really cute puppy (stay with me). You want to feed it, and nurture it. Love it. But, wouldn’t you think it was cruel if you kept that talent locked in a tiny closet, hidden away? Wouldn’t it be better to share it with others? To let it roam free, breathe, and unfold into its best potential?
Life is too short. Tomorrow, all of the things you can’t control might happen at once, in true TV apocalyptic fashion. So, today—not a week from now, not a month from now, not in 2020—put a stop to one of the only limiting factors you absolutely can control.
Who cares if your neighbor Katie judges you? Who cares if some internet troll comments something nasty on your video? Anyone who judges you is just jealous that they aren’t as brave as you.
Live a life that makes your future grandchildren open their eyes really wide and say, grandma you did what?!? Don’t be the one telling them stories about other people—be the hero of your own badass narrative. And, let’s be honest—at that point, all of those people whose thoughts you were once so afraid of will either be dead, or in rocking chairs anyway.
Hello, good Karma! Share this link with friends who might need it.
Hi! I’m Alex Aster, an author and singer in NYC. You can follow me @ByAlexAster for more. Thanks for reading :)