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Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that. by Mark Twain

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that.”

A Mark Twain quote

Reading time: Around two and a half minutes

What does this quote mean?

At first glance, Mark Twain’s timeless words, “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that,” might seem to simply warn us of negative influences. Yet, upon further reflection, we can understand that the quote penetrates deeper into the fabric of our relationships, ambitions, and personal growth.

Twain urges us to guard our aspirations from those who seek to undermine or dismiss them. The “small people” are those with narrow minds and hearts that cannot appreciate or encourage the dreams of others. These individuals often lack the courage or ambition to strive for their own dreams and, as a result, belittle the aspirations of those around them.

This quote is a powerful reminder that we live in a world filled with different perspectives and attitudes. Among them, we need to recognize and avoid the ones that can chip away at our confidence and hinder our pursuit of ambitions. Twain calls us to cultivate an environment that fosters our dreams, free from the disparagement of the “small people.”

How can I use this quote in my life?

You can incorporate this timeless wisdom into your life in several ways. First, identify the people in your life who uplift you, believe in your dreams, and encourage you to chase them. These are the people who help you grow, the ones who make you believe that your ambitions are achievable and worth the effort.

Second, become aware of the so-called “small people” in your life. These are individuals who, perhaps due to their own insecurities or fears, might ridicule your dreams or dismiss your ideas, or mock your ambitions. It’s vital not to judge these individuals, but to consciously avoid letting their negativity impact your goals.

Third, consider setting boundaries. If it’s not possible to completely eliminate such influences from your life, it’s crucial to find ways to minimize their impact. This could mean not sharing your future plans with these individuals or taking their criticism with a grain of salt.

Lastly, remember that your dreams are your own. They are a part of your personal journey, your growth. They don’t have to make sense to everyone. Hold onto them, foster them, and pursue them, regardless of what others may say or think.

About the Author

Mark Twain, born as Samuel Langhorne Clemens on November 30, 1835, in Florida, Missouri, was an esteemed American author and humorist. Notable for his masterpiece works “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” Twain spent much of his life along the Mississippi River, drawing rich inspiration from its culture and characters for his enduring literary contributions.