Do you need people to support your goals to be successful? Absolutely not. Self-trust is more important than reflex opinions offered by the people around you. Considering I’m fairly young for a personal development author, I think a lot of people assume I was given a lot of support for my goals and ambitions. This has never been the case.
Up until expanding my network several months ago, I had zero mentors and I was happy to get apathy for my goals from friends as opposed to outright resistance. I love my parents, but I didn’t exactly get rousing support for starting this website, becoming a vegetarian, writing a book or most of my personal experiments. I don’t believe either of them have seen this website.
A couple years ago, before this blog, when I started working on major goals, my close friends weren’t supportive either. I was happy to receive apathy instead of borderline sarcastic snips from many of them. Not exactly a cheerleading section.
In these times of having no certainty from the outside world, I learned to develop my own self-trust. When you lack external emotional support, it becomes easier to see how it is normally just a crutch people use to avoid making their own decisions.
Self-Trust is More Important than Outside Opinion
You need to be able to solve your own problems and make decisions in the absence of external opinion. Self-trust is the ability to thoroughly review a problem, come to an informed decision and then stick with it even when other people say your wrong. If you need to get a permission note from your parents, family or friends to make a life decision, you are no longer in control.
This doesn’t mean you need to be arrogant and never doubt yourself. I doubt myself every day and half the accomplishments I’ve made I was terrified before going forward. What self-trust does mean is that you aren’t outsourcing your decision making to other people and you can ignore uninformed opinions.
Opinion Weighs Less than Fact
When I decided to switch to a vegetarian diet, I can’t remember receiving a single positive piece of feedback. My parents were worried about my protein. My sister rolled her eyes. I didn’t know any other vegetarians and the base of opinion around me definitely wasn’t positive.
But I needed to ignore those opinions. I had done my research into the health benefits of a vegetarian diet from several books and hundreds of different online sources based on scientific research. Beyond that I recorded a journal to make notes of my personal experiment with a vegetarian diet and noticed many positive changes. Fact weighed more than opinion.
When faced with tough decisions, don’t outsource your thinking to people who haven’t done the research. Study the problem yourself and make a decision. When that decision conflicts with the opinions of the masses, trust yourself first.
Should You Care What Others Think?
Does this mean you shouldn’t care what other people think? Unless you’re a cold-hearted psychopath I don’t believe you have a choice. Compliments will always taste better than criticism and support will make you feel better than disdain.
You just have to be able to look your detractor in the eye and tell them that, “You value their opinion but sincerely believe they are wrong.” How’s that for a conversation ender?
Success Creates Positive Support – Not The Other Way Around!
At the beginning of this article I painted a rather bleak picture in terms of the external emotional support I get. The truth is that the situation has reversed itself. I now have dozens of people I am in close contact with who give me positive support for my goals and ambitions. Positive support is by no means universal, but I get a lot more positive feedback than negative.
My ratio of positive to negative feedback with this website is almost 100 to 1. I can say it definitely feels very good to read e-mails from people telling me how I’ve improved their lives.
This support came after success, not before it. Before you do something successfully there will be a million detractors to drag you down. It is safer to hate something then to support it and detraction is often just another form of cowardice. Once you have proven yourself, the risk of support is gone and it is far easier to get compliments than criticism.
Realize that emotional support is an investment. People don’t want to support someone because they would look foolish if they were wrong. Once you have proven yourself, more people are willing to invest in supporting you in the future. Respect is earned, and never let a lack of investments keep you from living your life.
I’d like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson who made the point more eloquently than I ever could,
“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”