In our last few +1s, we’ve been exploring some wisdom from Darrin Donnelly’s great sports fable, Victory Favors the Fearless.
We’ve talked about the importance of conquering fear (and laziness!), named the seven fears that are holding you back, and talked about the importance of feeding faith and starving fear.
Today we’re going to talk about critics and the fact that they will never stop criticizing.
I want to quickly review those seven fears as we have Darrin’s wisdom in mind that “The first step in defeating fear is recognizing its voice. Recognize it, block it, then battle it back. Don’t passively allow fear to have its way with you.”
Here are those seven fears:
“1) The fear of what other people think.
2) The fear of change.
3) The fear of making the wrong decision.
4) The fear of missing out on something better.
5) The fear of not being good enough.
6) The fear of failure being permanent.
7) The fear of being ‘due’ for a setback.”
On to dealing with critics.
Darrin tells us: “Critics will never stop criticizing you because they can’t stand the idea of someone they know chasing their dream and succeeding. It makes them question themselves. It makes them wonder what they could have been if they’d taken the risk and tried something different. And they hate to think about that.
It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about you. It only matters what you think about you. Only you know if you’re giving your personal best and becoming the best you that you can be. No one else can possibly know that, so their opinions should not matter to you.”
That wisdom is from the chapter on the first fear: What others think of you.
Nietzsche, Pressfield, Paulo Coelho, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Brené Brown come to mind.
In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche tells us: “The higher you ascend, the smaller you appear to the eye of envy. But most of all they hate those who fly.”
Plus: “They punish you for all your virtues. They forgive you entirely—your mistakes.”
In The War of Art, Steven Pressfield tells us: “The professional learns to recognize envy-driven criticism and to take it for what it is: the supreme compliment. The critic hates most that which he would have done himself if he had the guts.”
Paulo Coelho blogged about the subject back in the day. He quoted John Grisham who told us:
“Critics should find meaningful work.”
And, he shared this anonymous one that’s pretty good: “Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it’s done, they’ve seen it done every day, but they’re unable to do it themselves.”
In Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson tells us: “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness.”
Then there’s Brené Brown.
In Daring Greatly, she tells us: “Going back to Roosevelt’s ‘Man in the Arena’ speech, I also learned that the people who love me, the people I really depend on, were never the critics who were pointing at me while I stumbled. They weren’t in the bleachers at all. They were with me in the arena. Fighting for me and with me.
Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands. The people who love me and will be there regardless of the outcome are within arm’s reach. This realization has changed everything.”
In other words: Ignore the critics. Trust thyself.
Conquer your fear. Do your best. Give us all you’ve got.
P.S. Who should we listen to?
Darrin tells us: People we admire.
And, I’ll add: Most importantly, listen to your DAIMON.
As Darrin puts it, every time (!) you think of people who might be critical, immediately (!) ask yourself: “Am I giving my best? Am I becoming the best that I can be? Am I chasing my dream? If I am, then who cares what anyone else thinks?”
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