I love stories of people doing what someone told them they couldn’t do.
In reflection, I’m really lucky to know some people who have achieved in life. D’Wayne Edwards became the Director of Footwear Design at the Jordan brand after his high school career counselor wrote off his dreams. Bonner Paddock became the first person to complete the IRONMAN Kona with cerebral palsy (after he was the first to climb Mount Kilimanjaro). And many more.
My story isn’t too crazy. My accounting teacher told me I shouldn’t be an accounting major. In hindsight, she was right. But at the time, her doubt motivated me more than ever to hit journal entries.
To get some inspiration, I hit Terkel for stories about people doing what someone told them they couldn’t do. Here’s the tales.
What did someone say you couldn’t do?
From traveling as a digital nomad to starting an adventure travel company, here are five answers to the question, “What did someone say you couldn’t do, but you did it anyway?”
- Live as a Digital Nomad
- Find a Well-paid Job Right After College
- Play the Piano
- Drive Over a Mountain Range Alone
- Own an Adventure Travel Company
Live as a Digital Nomad
When I first mentioned to my colleagues that I was planning to go for a workation to Rwanda and Uganda, they told me it was impossible. They all said there were problems with basic facilities like electricity and the internet.
Not to mention their safety concerns. As I always struggle not to perceive the world through the prism of projections but through reality, I did in-depth research and found a lot of information contradicting those claims. Finally, I went to Rwanda and Uganda, and that was the best digital nomad experience of my life!
Find a Well-paid Job Right After College
I’ve often heard that I couldn’t find a satisfactory, meaningful, well-paid job right after college. So I should adjust my expectations and take what I can get. However, I didn’t take it to heart and worked hard for my success during my studies.
As a result, not long after graduation, I found a job with qualities that they said I couldn’t have. I began networking, developing relevant skills, being persistent in my job search, and being open to different career paths.
This allowed me to overcome the job-search challenge. I also took on internships, workshops, and freelance work that helped me gain experience and make connections. These finally led to my winning a well-paid job soon after graduation. I overcame the challenges of finding a well-paid job with hard work and determination on my way to success.
Playing the Piano
When I was in school, I wanted to learn how to play the piano. My friends and family told me it was impossible for me because I had never even touched a piano before. Despite this, I stayed determined and worked hard to learn how to play.
After many months of practice and dedication, I could learn how to play the piano and eventually even give live performances. It was definitely worth it in the end!
Driving Over a Mountain Range Alone
Someone told me I couldn’t drive to a job interview that required driving over a mountain range because to them it was too far, and dangerous and gas would be expensive. Well, I did it anyway. And my life is what it is today, thanks to trusting myself, that I know what is best for me, what I can do, and what boundaries I can expand.
The same goes for people in gender transition who I work with every day. Despite losing friends and family, getting fired from jobs, being totally rejected by strangers, and suffering to the point of no return—-it is just something they have to do for their own peace. Workers can consider appealing against wrongful dismissal to be rightfully compensated.
Would you want to spend a life in the shadows, hiding, pretending to be someone you are not? If we have one life to live, and it is ours to enjoy to the fullest, even if it just means being a different black sheep (albeit my true self)—well, I would do it anyway too.
Own an Adventure Travel Company
To be fair, it wasn’t the most obvious transition. I was a program director at a university and had to deal with lots of paperwork and bureaucracy. I had no entrepreneurial experience, and the only thing I knew about adventure travel was that—I liked it. But I educated myself and put in the time until it paid off.
Flash forward 13 years later; I still own the business, have location independence, and start most mornings skiing or hiking before I work. Let no one tell you that you can’t do something. You’re capable of more than what you or anyone else realizes.
Submit Your Answer
Would you like to submit an alternate answer to the question, “What’s something someone told you that you couldn’t do, but you did it anyway?”
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