Know Who to Share Your Dreams With

Edition: February 2002 - Vol 10 Number 02
Article#: 1168
Author: Repertoire

This excerpt from Envy of the World: On Being a Black Man in America, by Ellis Cose, a Newsweek columnist, speaks to people of all races. It is the fourth of what Cose calls his “commandments,” or “keys to survival.”

Don't expect support for your dreams from those who have not accomplished very much in their lives. The natural reaction of many people (especially those who believe they share your background) is to feel threatened or intimidated or simply to be dismissive if you are trying to do things they have not done themselves. As a very young man and a “junior leader” in my neighborhood Boys Club, I was invited to a dinner at which multimillionaire W. Clement Stone spoke. After delivering a stirring talk detailing his personal journey of success, Stone handed out an inspirational book (whose title I can no longer recall), which I took with me to bed that evening. Don't share your dreams with failures, warned the book, which went on to explain that people who had not done much in their own lives would be incapable of seeing the potential in yours. While that is certainly not true in all cases, it is true much too often. The book's observation helped me to understand why some people I knew seemed more interested in telling me what I could never accomplish than in helping me achieve what I could. It also helped me understand why I owed it to myself to tune out the voices around me telling me to lower my sights.