Whether your dream is financial independence or something totally different, pursuing your passion often takes getting on a different path from the people around you. As a result, you’re bound to encounter a few people who are going to question your lifestyle.

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.

Albert Einstein

It’s not easy to go against the grain but you can’t let a few bad apples ruin your attitude.

Regardless of what your dreams are, here are some words of encouragement to help you rise above any hate you may get along the way:

Nobody knows you like you do

Whatever passion it is you are pursuing is precisely that: your passion. Others don’t have to share it or understand it.

Your goal in this life is to find your calling and live it out faithfully. Don’t let the naysayers get in the way of that.

Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.

Fred Rogers

Step one is to accept yourself exactly as you are. Work hard to get to know yourself better; understand your dreams and goals and accept yourself.

From there, remember that you can trust yourself - you know what’s important to you and what’s not. You get to choose how to live your life.

You’re not alone

My experience since launching this blog has been overwhelmingly positive from the online community.

Readers and fellow bloggers have put resoundingly positive comments on the posts here either expressing words of support or asking respectful, intelligent questions in response.

Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much. -Helen Keller

Find your community. I know it may feel lonely out there, but you’re not alone - there are others out there like you.

That’s one of the beautiful things about living in such a connected world - even if there are only 200 other people in the world like you, you’re bound to find at least a few of them online :)

If you’re not sure where to start, Reddit has a place for just about every topic. Otherwise, for something a bit more local and in-person, find meetups for your area of interest.

If personal finance is your jam, Mr. Money Mustache has an awesome forum and there’s even a whole section dedicated to meetups for fellow mustachians. I attended one earlier this year in Madison and it was so cool to meet and talk with others that have the same nerdy passion I do :)

Different is ok

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

God doesn’t direct you to try to be “normal” or live the way everyone else is living. If everyone else was jumping off a cliff would you do it? If everyone else was racking up credit card debt, would you do that?

Instead, you should be challenging everything society says is right to see if it’s right for you. Think deeply about your values. Pray. Converse with others.

As an example, you know this life isn’t about money - money is just a tool and you don’t get to take it with you when this life is over.

Don’t overvalue the tools of this world. The value of a painting isn’t in the paintbrush; it’s in the heart that the artist poured out on the canvas.

What are you trying to put on your canvas?

You’re not average

We shouldn’t waste our energy trying to fit the mold that society tells us is “normal” or spend our lives striving for an average existence.

…if we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average…

Shawn Achor (TED Talk - The Happy Secret to Better Work)

I love this TED talk.

Beyond being hilarious, there is real truth to the many messages in there. One of the biggest ones for me was the failure in dismissing people outside the average as “outliers” and only focusing on those inside the average.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not trying to live a merely average life - I’d like to strive for something better for myself and my family.

You can’t change others

Haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate

Taylor Swift (Shake it off)

Ever think you’d see quotes from Taylor Swift, Einstein, Theodore Roosevelt, and the bible all in the same context?

All joking aside, it’s true - haters are going to hate; mostly because they can’t appreciate the positive in something if it isn’t directly positive for them.

Unfortunately, you can’t force others to change - you can only focus on you.

Take joy in your own successes and try to be different than the haters - celebrate the successes of others even if those successes aren’t something you’d strive for yourself.

Keep the course

In all, much of this is about remaining confident in yourself - not letting self-doubt and negative talk creep in.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. -Theodore Roosevelt

Keep the slow and steady course toward your goals.

You don’t have to have all of the answers right this minute and you very likely won’t ever have them all.

That said, you’re on the right track and you’ll accomplish great things if you keep focusing on moving toward your goals.

Any other thoughts on dealing with the naysayers and haters? Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter with your thoughts!