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Daily Journal
     August 20, 2021      #99-232 KDJ

Don't listen to naysayers 

By Toby Moore

Most people who want to achieve big dreams will encounter naysayers.

They’ll say, “It’s already been done; the competition is too fierce.” They’ll tell you, “You can’t have a career in that business; you have to know somebody; you have to be an insider,” while others might be more mean-spirited, “You’re not talented enough; you’re not smart enough; you’re not good looking enough.”

It takes great courage and faith to follow your dreams. If you listen to the negative voices, you’ll never find that courage and faith.

I’ve always dreamed big dreams and gone after goals that seemed impossible. It’s who I am; my father encouraged me to think big.

In that sense, it was easy for me to go after my dreams because I never had anyone in my own family tell me I shouldn’t or that I couldn’t. The naysayers in my life came from outside the family.

As a high school athlete, I grew passionate about competitive swimming. I became enamored with the idea that I could be an Olympic swimmer. Some said I couldn’t do it. I paid them no attention.

I swam four hours per day and did a lot of cross-training. I got much faster. After graduating high school, four of my closest friends and I swam from Mackinac Island to Chicago in Lake Michigan, a 375-mile journey. We did it as a relay, and we made it in 15 days.

Out of that experience, I met the fastest swimmer in the world at the time. His name was Tom Jager. Tom was amazing. He coached me through a few workouts, and I even raced him a couple of times. He was way faster than me. There was no comparison. I knew I just had to work harder if I wanted to be as fast as him.

I was determined. I barely made it onto a Division 1 swim team. By my junior year, I was much faster than in high school, but I was also one of the slowest swimmers on the team, nowhere near the Olympic level. I was crushed as I realized I didn’t have what it took to make it to the Olympics.

That experience created an even stronger desire inside of me to accomplish my dreams. If I’d have listened to the naysayers, I wouldn’t have learned the lessons that I needed to take with me to the next phase of my life.

I turned my attention toward a different dream, one that I had since childhood. It wasn’t long till I had a few big successes in my belt. It’s an up-and-down industry, and I’ve had many tell me through the years that I should give it up, forget about my past successes and hang up the towel.

What I’ve discovered is that if you keep going and don’t give up, doors will open that can lead you on a path of accomplishing your dreams in unusual ways.

Your destiny isn’t up to the naysayers; it’s up to you. It doesn’t matter what they think about you; it does matter what you think about yourself.

Abraham Lincoln had many successes in his life; he also had many failures. He failed in business, was defeated for the state legislature, lost for Illinois speaker twice, didn’t get the nomination for Congress, finally won a congressional seat but lost renomination, was rejected for land officer, defeated for the U.S. Senate, defeated for the nomination for vice president, and then again was defeated for U.S. Senate.

I’m sure many negative voices were telling him to give up and quit through the years.

Instead, he was finally elected president of the United States. He became one of the most important presidents in United States history. He held the country together and helped win a war that resulted in the end of slavery.

What would’ve happened if Abe Lincoln listened to the naysayers?

Toby Moore is a columnist, star of the Emmy-nominated film “A Separate Peace,” and CEO of CubeStream Inc. He resides in Bourbonnais and can be reached through the Daily Journal at editors@daily-journal.com.

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