Don’t Let Anybody Tell You What You Can or Cannot Do

Posted by Fitz Villafuerte under Mindsetting on January 27, 2013

Looking back at the things I’ve done in my life, I realize that the ones which had the most impact and value to me were also the times when I experienced great uncertainty and doubt from the people closest to me.

For example, I took civil engineering in college, and back then, all I knew about computers were how to create and print documents in MS Word, make simple spreadsheets in MS Excel and play Warcraft on the PC.

That’s why when I decided to change careers and go into software development, my parents and friends raised their eyebrows and asked why I’m throwing away my engineering license along with my five years of formal education to pursue a new field.

“You cannot do that,” I remember a friend telling me so. “Even if you succeed at learning computer programming by yourself, you’ll still be one-step behind those who have an I.T. background.”

He was right – because after spending several months on self-study, I realized that I would never be as good as those who graduated with a computer science degree.

But I discovered he was also wrong – because despite my lack of formal education in I.T., I was still able to land a job as a junior programmer in a software development firm.

Interestingly, I knew I was not hired because my skills were better than the other applicants. My boss later on told me that he hired me because I was the one who had the most enthusiasm to work for the company.

And if there’s anything I learned from that experience, it’s that there will always be people better than you – but that’s not as important as having the passion; and working hard to become good at what you want to do.

yoga smile Dont Let Anybody Tell You What You Can or Cannot Do

Another experience which I can recall happened a couple of years after I got that job. My boss have already promoted me to senior system analyst for the company, and I have also started working as a freelance developer on the side, working with other developers in several offshore projects.

It was during this time when the idea of becoming an entrepreneur came to me, and it didn’t take long for me to decide that I wanted to leave the corporate world so I can start my own business.

Again, my plans were met with disagreement. This time, my boss had the biggest doubts, and he told me this when I informed him that I might tender my resignation soon.

“Are you sure you want to do that?” he asked. “Not everyone succeeds in business you know. I actually have friends with MBA degrees who failed in putting up their own businesses – so think about it again, and make sure this is something you can do.”

I honestly didn’t know if it was something I can do, but I did it anyway.

Later on, I realized he was right.

Indeed, starting and growing a business is difficult, and not having an MBA degree meant I had to dedicate time to self-study and learn business planning, SWOT analysis, market research and all the other things that an MBA graduate knows.

However, I also realized he was wrong to think that one can either fail or succeed in business – because I learned that failures are actually part of success.

It’s true that not everyone will succeed at their initial business venture, some will even fail several times first before finally achieving business success.

That’s why I can say that entrepreneurship is not just about knowing what you can or cannot do. Your ability to persist through all the failures and your willingness to learn from your mistakes – that’s what truly matters if you want to succeed in business.

yoga stand Dont Let Anybody Tell You What You Can or Cannot Do

The two stories above are just a few of the many times I chose not listen to what others are saying. Some people will call me “stubborn“, but I like calling myself “driven”.

And I learned that, when it comes to making life-changing decisions, it’s natural to hear uncertainty and concern from the people closest to us, most specially our peers, friends and family.

However, I realized that accepting their beliefs on what we can or cannot do, will only limit us from achieving our true potential.

Don’t wait to be given permission to do the things you want to do.

Look inside yourself and find your own motivation – you’ll discover there’s so much more you can achieve, but only if you believe you can.

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Photo credits: lulemon athletica

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8 Responses to “Don’t Let Anybody Tell You What You Can or Cannot Do”


  1. Jostine says:

    Very true!

    Right now, I have also made a life-changing decision that I know not everyone would see as a smart choice. Not many people know this yet, but of the people I’ve shared this with, my mom is one of the folks that told me that she didn’t want me to pursue this decision of mine. I am grateful though that even though she said that, she still allows me to make decisions for myself and follow my own path. I’m also grateful because the few friends that I’ve told have given me their full support.

    I know that once I leave my current job and start my new one — many people would raise their eyebrows and ask me why I made that decision. Fortunately for me, this is not the first time that I chose the road less traveled so I already know more or less what the reactions of the people around me will be. I definitely don’t look forward to explaining myself and defending my decision to those who have different views than I have, but this is just a small price to pay for living my life purpose, so I’ll just have to smile and receive their opinions graciously. ;)

    Thanks for sharing, Fitz!

  2. weng says:

    Bravo sir Fitz! Very inspiring and motivating story again from you. I always make it a point to read your article coz they are all informative and gives me inspiration to be a better person. I also have an engineering degree but to some extent I was not able to practice it because I was already preoccupied with my children after I graduated and that is one of my regrets in life (not able to practice my degree). Now that I’m already 39, I don’t think somebody would still hire me for a job. I just hope that I could start a business of my own and be successful in business just like you.

  3. Zion says:

    I second this article Sir Fritz! My parents were initially concerned about me dropping out of school to pursue another course but I told them that it would be for the best of the family. Thankfully, everything has gone its course and I’m going back to school this next semester hopefully, to pursue my love of psychology and run my business in the sidelines.

  4. Written with so much passion! And i think it’s your passion and desire to win that paved the way to your success!

    Cheers!

  5. Blackeyes says:

    Belated happy birthday sir! More power to you…keep writing and inspiring other people. Cheers! ;)

  6. al ceasar says:

    Congratulations Senpai Fritz) maki-kampai with Burn Gutierrez)

  7. Lou says:

    Sir Fitz!

    Inspiring to kwento mo. Pwede ka bang maging resource speaker sa plano naming Financial Literacy seminar sa aming opisina? Plano pa lang naman. But we are scouting for resource persons. Can I get your email address and contact numbers? Thanks!!

    Lou :)

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