I am often amazed how many people limit themselves. I often tell complete strangers that they can do it, to follow their dreams and accomplish their goals. To never quit and for them to keep pushing forward. They probably look at me and think that I’m a little crazy. No argument there, I probably am just a little. 🙂 But, that doesn’t bother me, I’m comfortable with who I am. What really bothers me is watching my close family and friends do the same thing day in and day out.

They are miserable and unhappy and when I speak to them about what would make them happy and what are their goals and dreams, their eyes seem to light up as if I had lit a candle within them. They talk about it for a while and then as quickly as the light was lit, it appears to go dark. I often ask them why they’re not following their dreams. What I get in reply is usually a bunch of reasons or excuses on why it just won’t work.  I tell them to not limit themselves and encourage and motivate them with words of inspiration and stories of others who have made it. They pause and think and then I get the common, well maybe I’ll do this, or maybe I’ll do that and I wish them luck and hope and sometimes pray that the next time I see them, they will have some positive news about how our conversation inspired them to follow their dreams and set goals.

Many times I feel as if I want them to succeed more than they want to. More often than not, when I see them again, it’s the same story, still unhappy, still don’t like their job or their money situation and in some cases, their life. But unfortunately, they’re not motivated enough to do anything about it. I’ll talk to some of them a few more times, I get the usual nods again, but sometimes they appear to be annoyed by my motivation and my persistence. I realize then that that maybe I should let sleeping dogs lay, but I’m tenacious, my wife says stubborn, so maybe I bring it up some more. I might do this more than I should and maybe it’s not welcome but it’s really because I love them and want to see them succeed even though it might not come across that way.

At some parties I even notice that they are kind of trying to avoid me because they know I will ask them how they’re doing and they don’t want to talk about it. I really don’t understand they’re mindset. It is all so foreign to me. I grew up poor, I didn’t realize it at the time, but looking back now, we were poor and what little we had my Mother had to work two jobs just to keep us afloat. We didn’t have a lot of toys, in fact we didn’t have much at all. After watching my Mother work so hard and our family just get by, I realized that I wanted more and realized that I was going to have to work hard to get it.

Don’t ever let somebody tell you that you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. When people can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.
– The Pursuit of Happyness

Unlike my close family and friends today who have so much more than I did growing up, and a more positive influence, all I heard from many, many people, was how I couldn’t do this or couldn’t do that. And that my goals and dreams were ridiculous and that I would never achieve them and that I should stop trying and just give up. You see I came from a family of first generation European immigrants and their idea was to work hard in a factory or some other labor intensive job and fall in line with everyone else. But I realized early on that I did not want to use my body and that I wanted to educate myself and use my mind. Maybe it was my stubbornness that didn’t allow me to quit or maybe it was the fact that I wanted to prove all the naysayers that they were wrong about me and my hopes and dreams.

First, when I was young I said I wanted to go to college and get educated, but not having any money, that was going to be difficult. I was also told that I wasn’t college material and that I should just get a job in a factory. I noticed that the military had the GI Bill and I could get money for school if I signed up so I decided to join the military. I was then told that the military was too tough and that I would never make it there. Next after talking to some of my fellow soldiers about getting out of the military and going to college to be an Electrical Engineer, I was told that it was way too much math and that I would never make it since this individual had tried and had dropped out. While in college I applied for Worcester Polytechnic Institute and was told that it was one of the best engineering school in the world and that it would be nearly impossible to get in, especially since my math skills were a little weak and I had been out of school for too long because I was serving in the military. While in college I spoke of following my dreams and going to work at Microsoft and having a beautiful home and a BMW and a wonderful family and maybe running my own business someday. All of which, I am blessed to say, have come true. Now, I’m not saying it was an easy road, God only knows it was not, but what I am saying is that if I can do it, it’s possible; if you can believe it, you can achieve it!

Now that I think about it, maybe what I should be telling my family and friends is that they will never achieve their dreams. Maybe I should tell them that it’s NOT possible and that they should just quit. Nah, I just can’t bring myself to do that. It brings back to many painful memories and that’s just NOT my style. So the next time I see them, I’ll ask them, how are those dreams and goals of your coming along and try to motivate them and tell them some more stories. I hope and pray that they might read this and maybe, just maybe, this will motivate them to get out there and follow their hearts, set some goals and accomplish all their dreams.