Dream Big: Rethink who you listen to. 

 February 24, 2014

By  Pascal Depuhl

Step 2: Rethink, who you listen to. 

Ignore the critics ’cause they’ll support you, when you succeed.


That questions still rings in my ears. I was sitting in a clients office, editing a video with the creative director for a cosmetics company. His boss walked in.

Pascal’s gonna go to Afghanistan!” the creative director told the CEO.

A blank stare – and then a one word question: 


Almost every single person I spoke to, before I started this project, had the same reaction.

You’re crazy.

You’re gonna die.

“You are out of your mind.

I can count on one hand the people that were supportive of my dream. After getting over her initial shock of hearing, that I had been booked in Kabul, within 20 seconds my wife said “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, you gotta go.” She, Daniel and two or three others saw the beauty of the dream – it’s literally just a handful of people.

Everyone else tried to talk me out of it.

Tried to convince me that I was a fool.

Told me that there’s no way I would ever be able to pull this off.

You know why?

’cause it wasn’t their dream.

‘cause they didn’t have a passion for it.

So be careful who you listen to, because literally every single one of the same people (now that the film is finished),

the same people who had been downright hostile to my dream,

those people now think, that I did the coolest thing ever.

Wow, congratulations.

What a sweet idea!

and when I ask them “Wait, didn’t you tell me you thought I was nuts?” the answer usually goes something like

Did I? Huh. I don’t remember that.


(so why did I even ask you in the first place)

However the one person I want to caution you about the most,

the one person who can derail your dream,

the one who can destroy your vision,

who can that can deflate your passion.

THE most dangerous person is …

(wait for it) …

…it’s you.

Remember my still small voice?

My heart trying to tell me I should create this film?

You know what I did –

did to myself –

for a month and a half?

Wanna know? OK, I’ll tell you: Every single time, that little voice popped into my head the following conversation took place:

Still Small Voice: “Pascal, you should go and make this film in 


Me: “You’re wrong! It’s too dangerous. Don’t you know 

there’s a war going on there?

A week later.

Still Small Voice: “Pascal, you should go and make this film in 


Me: “You’re wrong! It’s  too expensive. I don’t have a 

money to fly half way around the world, and 

produce a short film.

A week later.

Still Small Voice: “Pascal, you should go and make this film in 


Me: “You’re wrong! I’m too inexperienced. I’ve only 

been shooting video for 6 months. I can’t produce a documentary.

This goes on for 6 weeks.

They won’t need it.

It’s to remote.

I’ve never filmed from an airplane before.

Often you’re your own worst enemy.

Finally I got over myself and wrote an email to my friend (I still have the email)

It was titled: A crazy idea, don’t you think?’

and went on to say (this is verbatim):

I wanted to get your opinion on an idea that’s been floating through my head over the last few months: I would like to seriously consider coming to visit you in Kabul, in order to shoot a documentary video of what you do, which you and Pactec could use” to communicate your vision and work. “Would something like this be even possible? Let me know.”

Side note: Go after your dreams. No one knew that I believed I was supposed to create this movie. Had I just waited for Daniel to call me, or for a similar organization to contact me, I’d still be waiting today. No one had any reason to believe in me. Why would they take that risk? After all I had NO experience, it WAS a complicated and dangerous project, I COULDN’T guarantee, that I was able to pull this off and I WAS going to be in some of the most remote places on Earth.

Bottom line: Make your own opportunities happen.

Anyway, back to the email. Honestly, the answer I was expecting – at best – was MAYBE, qualified by:

It’s dangerous, 

it’s expensive, 

you’re inexperienced, 

we don’t need it, 

it’s remote, 

you don’t have any work like this to show us, …

(Sound familiar?) Excuses – only this time I was even making them up for someone else.

Finally, after 2 weeks, the answer comes back.

It says:

That idea does not sound that crazy…” 

And over the next few days the emails read “We’d love to have you over to film for us – we know your photography, so we’re sure you can make this look great. Actually, one of our sponsors requires us to make videos showing what we do, we’re about due for a new one,  so we actually do have a budget, why don’t you put a numbers together.”


Of course now I’m thinking “Oh CRAP!” – ‘cause it would have been so much easier to get a ‘NO’, shrug my shoulders and say “Hey, I tried – to bad it didn’t work out – it was a long shot anyway …” Now I have to pull off this impossible, inconceivable, insane idea, but like Steve Jobs said – the sane people are the ones that quit. As for me – at this point – I’m all in.

You’re wrong, if you listen to others destroy your dream. 

However you’re even more wrong, if you let you talk yourself out of your dream.

This post is the 3rd in a series of blog posts that came out of a talk I gave titled “You’re wrong!” at the “Dream Bigger Conference” in February of 2014. Missed the first two post? Follow the link to read the introduction to the “Dream Bigger” series?

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    Pascal Depuhl

    Miami product photographer, video producer, cinematographer and chief mindchanger at Photography by Depuhl I love to share the knowledge I've gained over the past two decades. Catching light in motion.