Seeking Validation Kills Dreams

“That won’t work.”

This is the typical response from an adult when their 5-year old speaks of their dream to become an astronaut.

And while the dream may not die, it becomes small and hides in the corners of the mind.

This search for validation extends into adulthood. Job applications, book proposals, elections, awards…the list is endless.

We often miss the important point that validation doesn’t mean “right.” Corrupt politicians win elections. Bad books become published and good books have multiple letters of publisher rejections. Phenomenal athletes are frequently passed over in draft picks and many first-round picks fail in the first season.

When someone reacts to your idea, they’re processing it through their filters; their collection of perspectives, habits, and experiences.

Do we think Henry D. Thoreau (born 200 years ago this week) went to Walden Pond seeking validation? Or Abraham Lincoln thought everyone agreed with the Emancipation Proclamation? Did the Americans ask the British to concur with the Declaration of Independence?

Get ready. Tell the 5-year old in you to listen up.

Someone will tell you that your idea is “pie in the sky”. Will you make your dream small and tuck it in a corner? Or will you thank them, remember that everyone has filters, and become your own version of an astronaut?


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