If I had a hundred dollars for every great business idea I’ve had I would be wealthier than Oprah Winfrey. But turning million-dollar dreams into reality requires more than just a positive attitude and well wishes from family and friends.

Whenever my path becomes cluttered with people who only see the tunnel at the end of light I use their words of criticism to motivate me on my journey to success. Everybody who has experienced some level of achievement has had their share of naysayers. So I want to share some of their critcisms to help you stay focused on your goals:

  • Everything that can be invented has been invented.” – Charles H. Duell, Commisser, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899
  • “Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground and try to find oil? You’re crazy.” – Drillers who Edwin L Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859
  • “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” – Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
  • “Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” – Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
  • “I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fafd that won’t last out the year.” – The editor in charge of busines books for Prentice Hall, 1957
  • “But what … is it good for?” – Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.
  • “There is no reason anyone wold want a computer in their home.” – Ken Olsen, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
  • “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” – Western Union internal memo, 1876
  • “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” – David sarnoff’s associates in response to his urges for investment in the radio in the 1920’s
  • “The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a “C” the idea must be feasible.” – A Yale University management professer in respose to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Fedearl Express Corp.)
  • A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say Americans like crispy cookies, not soft and chey cookies you make.” – Response to Debbie Fields’ idea of starting Mr. Fields Cookies.
  • “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is in the way out.” – Decca Recording Company rejecting the Beatles 1962.
  • “You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all of yor muscles? It can’t be done. It’s just a fact of life. You just have to accept inconsistent muscle development as an unalterable condition of weight training.” – Resonse to Arthur Jones, who solved the ‘unsolvable’ problem by inventing the Nautilus.
  • “Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” – Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics at Yale University, 1929
  • “Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is rediculous fiction.” – Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872

Everyone will try to tell you that something worth doing can’t be done, but in the end, the only person who can prove them right or wrong is you.

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Send questions, comments or requests for speaking engagements to Steffanie at [email protected]. And see the video version of her journal at youtube.com/steffanierivers.