Who determines if we’re good at something or not? Who is the individual with the final say on our potential? Who is this person going around staking a claim on our future?
Because for some reason, more people are vesting the fate of their future in the opinion of others, and, for the life of me I can’t figure out why.
It’s either a “they think I can’t make it” or “they said I was too this,” if not that it’s a “he cut me from the team.” For some people, they let doubter stand in the way of where they are and where they’d like to be.
And that’s the issue: Too often we put our purpose, fortitude, and ability to defy odds in the hands and opinions of other people.
I’ve heard creatives, professionals, struggling students and many alike, give reason after reason as to why they can’t and won’t make it in life but, oddly enough, none of the reasons come from themselves. It’s always someone else.
Whether it’s lamenting about being told they’re not enough, fussing about not being on a list or cry about a lack of acknowledgment, it seems we like the source of a lot of our sense of self-worth comes from other people, not ourselves.
And, actually, it’s more common than you think. Even famous D.C rapper, Wale is guilty of it. Despite being Grammy-nominated, acknowledged by the greats as a lyricist and has, to be honest, quite an above-average career, he’s been relevant for over a decade and still signed to a major label.
The “Lotus Flower Bomb” lets the internet get under his skin with the slander and jokes he gets in on the regular. In an interview with The Breakfast Club in 2014 Wale said:
“I DON’T CARE ABOUT THE MONEY, JO. I LIKE THE SPORT OF RHYMING. I WANT TO HAVE QUADRUPLE ENTERDRES ON CERTAIN RECORDS AND EVERYBODY TO BE REWINDING THEM… THAT’S WHAT I CARE ABOUT.”
Who doesn’t relate to always feeling like you’re not good enough or that you must prove yourself to everyone? Who isn’t in it for the glory or to be the best?
I think we’ve all forgotten that. We are the only ones that can deem ourselves worthy of anything. We’re the only ones who can say we’re good enough or if it’s over for us, no one else.
Just like Wale, we all need to be reminded that we can instill and empower ourselves. The peanut gallery is nothing more than the peanut gallery and nothing is over until we say it is.
When you speak value into yourself and when you’re actively proactive in putting in the work, no one can tell you anything about yourself or where you can potentially go.
It’s just up to us.
Talk your shit
Sometimes we have to speak up for what we believe and what we deserve.
‘Fake it till you make it’ is a phrase that doesn’t get the credit that it deserves because of how it sounds. But honestly, faking is nothing more than practicing. No one can tell you anything when you’ve put in the work — at least that’s the way it should be.
Yet somehow we’ve normalized self-depreciation, and we let other people determine our worth for us. This does nothing more than destroying the very ego that’s needed to demand what we want out of this life.
Tell yourself what you’re made of every day — say it in the mirror if you have to.
A major factor that plays into proving yourself worthy of whatever you’re going after is the work you put in that proves that you want it.
At the end of the day, what we do defines us. Regardless of what people say or what their perception of what you do is, as long as you know you’re doing what it takes, nothing else matters.
Kemba Walker was recently on Desus and Mero on Showtime and he spoke on silencing doubters. Kemba is barely 6’1″. He just signed a super-max contract with the Boston Celtics and is currently one of the best guards in the NBA.
When asked what he would tell other kids from the Bronx — like where he’s from — for inspiration he said:
“I would always tell kids don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do somethig, cause it’s not true. I’m living proof — I’m small and im from the Bronx — there was always doubt, but I never listened. I just felt like I could do it.”
Only we know the work we put in when others are sleeping and where we’ve come from and the lessons we’ve learned along the way. We’re the only ones that can define our own odds.
The moment we realize that is the moment we become free.