On a recent flight, an Arab asked for permission to stick his rear end in my face for a few minutes. I did the same thing you would have done—I said yes. When he was finished, he looked me straight in the eyes and thanked me. I smiled and told him he was welcome. Deep down inside, what I actually wanted to say was something along the lines of “done so fast? Please come again”.
I thought about taking a picture of him as he was doing it but I was scared that God might punish me. Not a pleasant thought when you’re flying 30,000 feet above Kuwait. The man was not showing me his derrière for sport. He was a Muslim. He was using my extra legroom to pray.
I have no idea what he was praying about. I also don’t understand why he didn’t just pray silently in his seat like the other Muslims. All I know is that this guy was not embarrassed to pray in front of me. In fact, he seemed to do it with pleasure and a lot of confidence. He was acting in accordance with a deep internal belief that I simply do not understand. As far as he was concerned, though, I didn’t matter—and he was right.
When you live your life according to your core internal beliefs, people that don’t matter won’t understand.
Some people will see your talents or ideas and never encourage you to pursue them. Others will flat out tell you that your plans are silly and will never work out. At the end of the day, this is your life. Never allow other people to make you feel embarrassed about something that’s important to you. If you have a goal and you believe strongly enough in it, keep moving forward. It will get tiring. You will feel lonely. Just keep pressing on.
Most people won’t understand where you’re going or why. Your family may not support you. Your friends probably won’t get it. So what?
Your job isn’t to win the confidence of every Tom, Dick, and Lazarus. Focus on identifying the people that matter. People that will have a direct and measurable influence on helping you reach your goal. Explain yourself to these people. Leave the rest.