Have the audacity to defy your critics

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.~ Theodore Roosevelt

 From the time you are born, you are blessed with abundance of love, care, comfort, and critics. It begins with the usual “how cute…but…the nose is big, hair is thin, and you are bombarded with criticism and abundance of solicited, unsolicited and imposed, implied and self developed advice on what you could do better, could have done better, and should have done. Needless to say, these are only drowned in the flood of where you are going wrong and what you did wrong.

You face criticism from your home as a child, to your friends, to your teachers, to colleagues at work, to your boss, to your spouse to your children until you one day finally die. Then all your critics shall begin to sing your praises and reflect only upon the good you did and the value of your life that they all miss.  Ah! The envious blissfully wonderful world of critics! Ever so busy correcting everyone and telling them where they are going wrong that they seldom have the time to reflect upon their own life, mistakes and purpose. For if they did, their life will perhaps be consumed in fixing their own errors which will leave very little time to dwell in the wondrous gratifying world of saving others of their blunders by analyzing them and their every behavior as though they were a lab rat.

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self control to be understanding and forgiving. ~ Dale Carnegie

But thankfully there is such a thing called Bad criticism and Good criticism. A Bad criticism is exactly what criticism is not supposed to be. Which is to find faults and do it in a manner of ridicule or with prejudice.  Bad criticism is also offering ones judgment on subjects they are not fully aware off, have very little experience or knowledge, do not have a constructive purpose, and haven’t earned the right to offer their criticism.

On the other hand, good criticism is with a clear and constructive purpose. It is offered with a solution to help the other individual, it inspires the receiver to take positive action and us unbiased. Most importantly the critic has been given the right by the receiver or a situation to offer their criticism. But such constructive and developmental criticism is often far and few between and is usually hard to handle when given.

Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger. ~ Franklin P. Jones

But either way, it is a blessing or a curse that you shall take to your grave. There is no escape from your critics. But the way to handle them is totally left with your choice and attitude. You need to remember that only you know yourself and you understand your thinking, skills and intentions better than the other person. There will be times where you might not see your mistakes and errors, but be rest assured there will be someone not too far who will jump to your rescue and tell you where you are going wrong. Now depending on their criticism (good or bad) you may chose to ignore or take it seriously. A common and strong characteristic of every great person or anyone who has achieved something in their life is they could differentiate a good critic from bad and proved them wrong. No one can see what and how you think. This is one of the few things about life that cannot be measured, or captured. You can se things that is uniquely to your imagination. And others will always have trouble comprehending your ideas because the clarity of a vision is entrapped in your mind only. Hence others will find faults in what you think, do or say especially the ones who truly care about your happiness and welfare.

When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical. ~ Unknown

In general, your critics are almost always wrong. Because they cannot see your ideas and plans, and thus, their criticism is bad. Many successful people and achievers have always proved their critics wrong and done things against what they have been told will not succeed. The list of such achievers is exhaustive. These people not only proved the critics and often experts wrong because they believed in their vision, dream and had the courage to take action towards pursuing them against popular opinion. Often people who get paid to help you succeed or are considered to be subject matter experts in a particular field offer bad criticism blinded by their prejudice, arrogance and dare I say at times their blatant ignorance. How many of us have disagreed with our Managers, bosses, Doctors, MBA’s, economists, accountants, lawyers etc only to learn that they were actually wrong and offered bad advice? Many major corporations have failed by taking the advice of such educated critics. Several extremely talented people with amazing skills sets get rejected at job interviews daily by such ignorant and egoistic Managers due to poor judgment and being overly critical. People with good intentions can also be bad critics. Here are a few examples of those who proved their experts and critics wrong and stood as living proof to the fact that critics can be vain and ignorant people with biased and poor judgment:

 Robert M Pirsig – His well known book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” was rejected by 121 publishers. Since finally being published in 1974 it has gone on to sell millions of copies in 27 languages.

 Michael Jordan – A well publicized and well known fact about the most famous name in basketball was actually cut from his high school basketball team.

  John Wayne – Before his successful acting career he was rejected from the United  States Naval Academy.

 Steven Spielberg – This household name dropped out of high school and applied to attend film school three times but was unsuccessful due to his C grade average.

 Beethoven – His music teacher once told him that he was a hopeless composer.

Winston Churchill – This former British Prime Minister did poorly in school and had a speech impediment in his early years.

 Marilyn Monroe – Marilyn Monroe spent much of her younger years in foster homes. One of her first jobs, during the Second World War, was inspecting parachutes. Producer told her she was “unattractive” and could not act.

 Walt Disney – He was fired by the editor of a newspaper for lacking in ideas.

 Soichiro Honda – The founder of Honda was turned down for an engineering job by Toyota after World War Two.

Charles Darwin – His father told him he would amount to nothing and would be a disgrace to himself and his family.

 Thomas Edison – As a boy he was told by his teacher that he was too stupid to learn anything.

 The Vice President of Columbia told this actor that he was never going to make it in the business. The actor? – Harrison Ford

 Turned down by a recording company saying “We don’t like their sound and guitar music is on the way out” They were talking about the Beatles

Received 30 rejections and the author threw it in the trash. Luckily his wife fished it out again and encouraged him to resubmit it. The book was Carrie – the author Stephen King

Imagine these peoples lives if they are lived by the expectations of their critics as opposed to their sprit of their dreams and the courage to take action in achieving them. Of course, the critics will shamelessly come forth to claim the credit for their success as well by saying that if it wasn’t for their criticism they wouldn’t have achieved what they did. This is once again, the despicable nature we all have within our wonderful selves.

I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism. ~ Charles Schwab

Have the audacity to defy your critics. Prove your boss wrong, show the world how you see things, do it and lead your dreams. You will always have someone stepping forward with unsolicited criticism. But by knowing a good critic from bad will save you the hassle of taking things personal and getting bogged down by the unwanted pressures of living to other people’s expectations. Every person who dared to dream has always done it against popular approval. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, President Obama, are a few people who were also told they will not succeed and did what they believed in. But they will always stand tall amidst their critics and command the respect due to their achievements and accomplishments. There has never been a statue erected for a Critic. Dare to be different and do it your way.

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