So many of our dreams get crushed every single day by believing those who don’t believe in us. In a perfect world, we are surrounded by supportive people who encourage us to be different, think differently and take the less travelled path in life. But we don’t live in a perfect world so we shouldn’t wait for approval to proceed with our dreams. So here is how to believe in yourself.

Tuning out the disbelievers

Most of the people you admire today have experienced doubt, skepticism and critique along their way to greatness. What makes them different is they continued in spite of it all. They navigated their way through messy, treacherous terrains to get to where they are now. Yet most of us give up before we are even half-way through because we lack the admiration or approval of others.

But the truth is, those who tell you to stay ordinary are, themselves, afraid of change and failure. They take comfort in the safety of predictability and want you to do the same. So they project all of their fears on you and make you doubt your abilities, ideas and potential. Sadly, most of the time we believe them and we lose the drive to continue.

Navigating the messy beginnings

I get how difficult it is to keep going when no one seems to believe in what you do. I wish I could tell you to disregard the disbelievers and keep going, but it’s not that easy. We need positive feedback to know our time is spent wisely and productively on things that can ultimately sustain a dream life.

Now, a dream life looks different for everyone. For one person, it may be accumulating great wealth and achieving status recognition. For another, it may be living a simple life in touch with nature. Two very different lifestyles that require taking a similar path to be achieved – building competence through education and a great amount of dedication.

Competence builds confidence

Sometimes, we think we don’t have the resources to achieve our goals, but according to Earl Nightingale: “if you’ll spend one extra hour each day in the study of your chosen field, you’ll be a national expert in five years or less.” Yes, all you need is one hour a day to dedicate it to the goal you wish others believed in as strongly as you do. That is how you build competence, which gives you confidence in what you do and in your ability to do it well. And when you feel competent you are less likely to believe those who don’t believe in you.

Whatever it is you are trying to achieve in life, pay attention to how you feel each morning you get the privilege to wake up. Do you feel energized and motivated to start your day? Do you look forward to working on your projects? If your answer is yes, then you have already found your purpose, which is a gift you should not take for granted.

So many people sleepwalk through life, unable to find their purpose or too afraid to pursue it. And before they know it, time has run out. Don’t wait too long to believe in yourself because there is no perfect time, nor situation, to live a life that makes you feel alive. Inaction is a disease. Just start, keep going and you’ll get there somehow.

Read next: When You Feel Like You Don’t Belong

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