One of the strangest things that happens when you start hustling on your dream is the reaction you often get from friends.
People who you’ve known for years.
People who love you.
People who you were certain would support you, suddenly do just the opposite.
They criticize you, they attack you, they chip away at the progress you’ve made and discourage you at every step. This is not surprising to some of you.
For years, we’ve all heard the cliché, “the greatest insult a crab can commit against the other crabs in the bucket is to try to climb out.” Every crab immediately pulls their hopeful compatriot back into the bucket. But that’s “what” happens. Let’s talk about “why” it happens.
Why do friends attack your dreams?
Because we all go deaf sometimes.
I have a friend whose family doesn’t talk about Santa with his kids. That is exactly what he told me last December. His direct quote was “Our family chooses not to talk about Santa with our kids.”
Do you know what I heard?
“The Acuff family loves Jesus less than we do because you talk about Santa. Why do you guys hate sweet baby Jesus so much? You know where you can hide the Elf on the Shelf? In hades, where you’ll end up.”
Another friend home schools his kids. He told me, “We feel like homeschooling is the best option for our family.” Do you know what I heard?
“You’re a bad parent for sending your kids to public school. If you really loved your kids you’d home school them too.”
My younger brother Will is a vegetarian. When he first became one, he told me “I’m becoming a vegetarian. I’m going to stop eating meat.” Do you know what I heard?
“You’re dumb for eating meat. Only stupid people eat meat. Jerky is for jerks.”
Over and over again, what people say, isn’t really what I hear. I add all these other sentences to their words that are entirely untrue.
And the same exact thing happens when you start hustling on your dream. When you tell some friends, “I’m going to write a book. I’ve been getting up early to work on that dream of mine,” do you know what they hear?
“You’re not working on your dream. If you were smart or passionate about life you’d be working on a dream too. You’re failing right now.”
Sounds crazy, right?
It’s not. I promise this happens all the time. Your kindest friends turn into your greatest foes not because of something you said, but because of something they heard.
So what should you do when it happens to you? Give your friends grace and ask them what they heard versus what you said. If you’re honest and they’re honest too, this can actually be a chance for a friendship to deepen not weaken.
And above all, keep hustling. Never ignore wise counsel, but if the criticism is born from envy, jealousy or hurt, that’s not wise counsel. That’s one crab trying to drag the other one back in the bucket.
And nobody wants to stay in a bucket all their life.
Has a friend ever criticized your dream?