Socializing Keep "Can'ts" at Arm's Length

Chase

Chieftan
Staff member
tribal-elder
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Oct 9, 2012
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3,955
The vast majority of people will never do anything all that adventurous, ambitious, or interesting with their lives. Plenty will... but the majority won't.

If you're posting on here regularly, you're probably an at least somewhat ambitious person who's very change-oriented.

One of the worst (maybe THE worst?) things to have around you when you're ambitious and changed oriented are "Can'ts." These are the people who want to tell you you can't do things, because you're being unrealistic or not facing the truth or in denial or you're kidding yourself.

These people seem like they're just looking out for you, which makes it harder to fight. And if you get into a debate with them, they'll tend to reference the majority - "Most people who try that fail." Their arguments normally are, "Well, since most people aren't successes, YOU won't be a success." Sometimes the argument is that no one has EVER succeeded at a thing... therefore, you ought to give it up.

When only encountered in passing, these people can serve as motivation - you can have one of them tell you what you can't do, and then defiantly raise your first in the air and say, "Oh really? WATCH ME!"

But if you have them around you in your social circle, it's really draining.

I've found that very often, as soon as you recognize someone is doing this - they're telling you to quit, or adjust your thinking, and to accept limitations you formerly did not accept or stop trying to "do the impossible" - something that works much of the time is to sit them down and say, "Look, I'm an ambitious person, and I'm going to work on the things I believe in. I realize you think there are certain limitations - I don't, and I can't tolerate having you telling me what I can and cannot achieve. So please knock it off." Much of the time, people aren't consciously aware they were doing this, and they'll take it as a wake up call and they'll stop.

Sometimes it even inspires them to assess their own views and realize they've placed limitations on themselves (don't suggest they do this, though - it's better if they arrive at this conclusion themselves, after some introspection; if you try to push it on them, they'll just resist it and become more entrenched in their views).

Occasionally someone will stubbornly refuse to stop telling you to quit or give up or realize your own limitations. Listen to their suggestions and see if they have a point. If they're saying you're behaving too extremely, and that you stand to lose everything, it may be time to back off. Extremes are the enemy of success - you're gambling big, and when gambles don't work out they're devastating. Most things you'll do, there's a way to do it that doesn't involve betting the farm.

However, if they're not telling you you're being "extreme," and instead they're just saying you're wasting your time and should quit, that's a sign they're just a Negative Norman and don't see the potential for success in you (or anyone). Typically, these people believe that you are "born with" whatever it is you need to succeed - talent, money, family connections, etc. - and that anyone else without those things is just wasting his time.

When you have people with beliefs like that in your life, the only thing you can really do most of the time - if they won't stop trying to douse your fire after you talk to them about it - is fade them out of your life in significance. If you let them hang around too long, they can serve as dampers on your enthusiasm - and on your ultimate success, too.

Chase
 

PinotNoir

Tool-Bearing Hominid
Tool-Bearing Hominid
Joined
Jan 4, 2013
Messages
747
Location
USA
Thanks Chase.

I've had a friend doing this to me recently, and it has been draining. The problem is that he's a good friend of mine, and unfortunately, he has affected me a little every week. The area that I'm talking about is running. He says that it'll just hurt your knees and that you can't be an elite athlete, but I still desire to try. I shouldn't have let it affect me, and now I don't run as much as I used to. I also see this guy everyday at work. I'm thinking that I should just tell him straight, "Hey, if you want to think negatively that's fine, but I don't want to hear that shit anymore." That's probably a little too direct, but is what I feel like saying. Any advice?

For a little bit, I had a friend also doing this in my dating life, but I just stopped telling him the details of my dating life haha. I was specifically trying out not paying for a 1st date (my first time ever). The date didn't go well, but I honestly don't think it was because I didn't pay. However, he guilt-tripped me on how bad it was that I didn't pay and how it really hurt the romantic side of him (or whatever). Basically, I told me that I was just trying out new things; I was just sick of getting the same results. In the end, I just stopped telling him about any of my dates, except for the surface-level aspects.
 
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