Happy 1st of May! Don’t be confused by the title, this is actually an article filled with encouragement for YOU! Hope your resolutions are going by okay!
Come to think of it, it actually isn’t the PEOPLE themselves but rather their MINDSETS, which are always subject to change (and yes, I do mean always!).
The general rule is this: believe those who want to help you up, and don’t believe those who want to push you down.
However, it can also occur to me that, sometimes, I myself may have written or said something that you may have construed as discouragement or the like. I will say that it is NEVER, EVER my intention to express anything less than “all human beings deserve fulfilled dreams”.
Sometimes there are people who, due to some circumstances, may be wounded or otherwise having a hard time. They may also be blinded on behalf of a belief system (and not just religious ones, mind you) that may prevent them from thinking in any other ways.
To celebration 1/3 of 2018 being over, let’s take note of some variety of opinions you should watch out for:
- People Who Focus on What You HAVEN’T Done (Vs. What You HAVE Done)
I remember when I was in the Orthodox Jewish Day school of Hard Knocks, I was feeling insufficient, doubtful and overall extremely insecure (this was in my early teenage years, by the way).
The reason? A lot of the teachers were getting me to think about what I WASN’T doing to be a good Jew vs. what I WAS doing.
By contrast, the people at my local minyan in rural Connecticut as well as my rabbis here in New York DO actually tell me that, despite my spiritual failings and any hardships / sins I may have gathered, that I actually am a good person because of the work I’ve done for the proliferation of my own Jewish heritage as well as healing in the world.
As a language teacher I focus on what my students have BUILT UP vs. what they don’t have yet.
An example of this: someone who compares a language you’ve learned in adulthood to that of a native speaker (in an unfair light). Another example: someone who puts down your language abilities on account of one mistake. (The latter is significantly rarer).
- People Who Adjust Goalposts Arbitrarily
One very toxic YouTube personality, within the same video, said that YouTuber X was not a real polyglot because he didn’t do any work in field linguistics with languages with no written form…followed by saying that YouTuber Y was wasting time because he was focusing on rarer languages from the developing world.
Another person tried to accuse me of claiming fluency while knowing only a few sentences of the language. Presented with evidence to the contrary, he proceeded to call me a bunch of names and told me that I didn’t understand how “hard it is” to learn a language. (If you know only how to speak only in insults and diatribes, I bet not only learning a language would be hard but literally everything else in your life).
There is no way to reason with such people. They only seek to infuse self-doubt into the people enjoying the success they wish they were having. And they can have it. But only with changing a toxic mindset. Luckily, this can come easily.
- People Who, Without Proof, Say That You Haven’t Accomplished What You Actually Have
I’m certified in multiple languages (Yiddish, Hebrew and Danish) and I teach nearly nine others. Someone who tries to tell me that I only know how to speak English? Disregard. Someone who tries to tell me that my teaching business is a scam? Disregard. Someone who tries to tell me that I didn’t learn all of these languages when there are videos of me using them? Disregard.
You should ask no less of yourself.
- People Who Invest More Negative Energy in Their Writing and Speaking Styles than Positive Energy
In playgrounds for children there are the variety of kids who want to cooperate and help other people build things and have a good time. There are others that want to destroy the fun for everyone else, perhaps out of boredom or some other negative emotions. (I’ve been both kids, so I know how it feels).
There are people who have an aura of bitterness and pessimism throughout, and this can be especially true on the internet. Some people can’t even bring themselves to say anything positive. Don’t try to get them to. Instead keep on playing and building sandcastles.
- Anyone Who Discourages You from Following Your Dreams
Yup. Even if that anyone happens to be myself.
Ever since I graduated from college I decided I would adopt a new rule for my life: this is my life and my dream, and I do what makes it possible. Those who are willing to support me – I will actively seek their company and provide them with support. Those who seek to discourage me in any form – I will distance myself from them, until they learn to do otherwise.
This is your life. You are the hero/ine. You will be a legend to be remembered to whatever degree you want to. Don’t let anyone else take that from you.
I’ll be focusing on Kiribati and Rotuman for May 2018. The Fijian and Fiji Hindi videos should be up in about a week. I’m still thinking about how to do the “cover” of Ari in Beijing’s “Fail to Win” video. It’ll be on its way!