“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee…” II Timothy 1:6
Recently, I read an inspiring story about Louis Armstrong, the great jazz artist. Mr. Armstrong reportedly applied to attend music school when he was a young man. It was reported that at his audition he was given scales to sing, but he could sing only the first two notes properly. After his audition, he was told he didn’t have what it takes to be a musician. He was heartbroken.
Though he was heartbroken, he did not allow the rejection to hinder his dream of becoming a Jazz artist. He told some friends, “I know there is music in me and they can’t keep it out.”
If you know your music history, then you know Louis Armstrong became one of the most successful and beloved jazz musicians of all time. He sold more records and made more money than many other jazz musicians who were more talented than he was. Today, Louis Armstrong is forever etched in the history of music.
What made the difference for Mr. Armstrong? The difference was that he knew his dream and he did not allow others negative commentary keep him from going after it. He knew that there was music in him and he was going to get it out. When he determined to put in the time and energy perfecting his gift of music the world opened doors to receive it.
I learned from Louis Armstrong’s story of perseverance, six distractions you must avoid to live your dreams.
1. Pessimistic words of others. Don’t forfeit your dreams because others say it is impossible. Don’t give into the naysayers because they don’t see what you see. Turn a deaf ear to their words of despair and open your ears to what God says is possible.
2. Fear of rejection. Being rejected can be devastating. It can be very frustrating to put yourself out there and then, be told “no.” We all want to be accepted. I have learned that sometimes getting rejected is a blessing in disguise. It may open the door for something better to happen in your life.
3. Negative inner conversations. Negative inner conversations often arise from low self-esteem, failures from the past or discouraging words from external voices. You combat negative conversations by focusing on who God says you are and what He says you can do. Make a list of affirmations that you know is true about yourself and read them each morning, noon and evening to feed your mind with the right conversations.
4. Fear of Failure. The fear of failure is a crippling feeling that will influence you to make excuses to why you will fail. It will persuade you to cancel pursuing your dreams. How will you know if you will fail if you don’t try? Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a part of success. When you fail learn from it, get back up and try again.
5. Blaming others. It is your responsibility to live the vision God designed for you. Stop blaming others for where you are. Situations may have happened in your life that was not your fault, but it is your responsibility on how you respond. Blaming others will not empower you to move you forward, but hold you hostage from living your best.
6. Being an imitator. You exhaust valuable time and energy trying to be an imitator. Today’s over communicated, media driven society have duped many into believing that being an imitator is safer than being an original. If you discard your originality and focus on being an imitator, you reject who God designed you to be.
What is your unique vision that the world is waiting for? Are you ready to live it to the fullest? You can experience tremendous success in your life as Louis Armstrong, but you must avoid the distractions and live your dreams.
Question: What distractions do you need to avoid to live your dreams? Leave a comment below.