On the 4th of February, around midnight, we heard loud sounds outside our house. My husband and I were a bit startled, wondering what was happening.

As the sounds grew intense, my blood pressure began to rise. My heart pounded against my chest and I couldn’t control my breathing. “Could it be gunshots?” I asked.

“I don’t know.” My husband responded.

“Should we turn off all the lights? What do we do?”

My husband tried to peep through the window. “I can’t see anything. Let’s just stay calm.”

The skin on my forehead began to fold and wrinkle, my palms and feet were sweaty and goose bumps crawled all over my skin. “Do you think the neighbours will be awake? Maybe they’ll have an idea about what’s going on.”

Without waiting for his response, I picked up my cellphone, scrolled to one of the neighbour’s number and started a chat. “Hello. Please, what’s happening? I can hear some sounds.”

She responded “Yes, they’re fireworks. We thought they were gunshots at first, but they’re celebrating the Chinese New Year.”

Every element of fear fizzled out of my body. I smiled, rolled unto my side and slept peacefully.

In the same manner, words produce sounds that can either scare us or make us leap for joy. Whatever the case, the effect words have on us depends on what we are actually hearing. The sound of a gunshot will naturally make you feel scared, while the sound of fireworks will make you feel like celebrating.

While chasing your dreams, you will have to deal with the sound of people’s words. You will be sorely criticized. People will tell you that your dreams are too big. They will try their best to shush you. They may even nickname you “Jack of all trades.” However, it’s up to you to decide the sound you want to hear – gunshots or fireworks.

You should have realized by now that people will always talk, no matter what you do, and you cannot control that. You only have the power to control what you hear, how you feel and the effect the sound of their words will have on you. You can turn their criticisms into building blocks, instead of stumbling blocks. You can allow their words to make you feel scared or make you feel excited to celebrate your dreams. You can allow their words to drown you or allow them to be the wind beneath your wings. What you hear is what you feel so don’t allow anyone walk through your mind with their dirty feet!