So… when I talk about criticism in this context, I’m not talking about well-meaning and sometimes perfectly reasonable and useless advice that only the deluded choose to ignore….
I’m talking about the ‘haters’. The people that have all the advice in the world, on any and every subject, despite never having achieved what it is that you’re trying to achieve. Those that dish out judgement and nonconstructive criticism everywhere they go, about what someone else should have done.
If you’re one of lifes’ natural people-pleasers like I am, it can be hard to take these kind of people; to listen to them without either believing what they say, only adding to your own self-doubt, or simply being annoyed/angered by it; to hear without reaction. Because…why give them that power?
I’m going to pass over to Teddy Roosevelt here. I first saw this quote on the wall of my Jiu Jitsu gym and it’s commonly used in these circles, because whenever we compete – when we lay it all on the line and make battle in public – there are always the bystanders who either don’t compete or do very little at all, with their opinions about what you should/shouldn’t have done to achieve more.
“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, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; 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 fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I don’t think you need to be a competitive martial artist to understand what this really means. I think you could apply this to any and every area of life whereby you decide to take the road untraveled; where you step out of your comfort zone; where you push yourself to do, be, feel more.
Having critics is an unfortunate part of living a brave life – one which makes you feel alive.
When the haters get you down… remember that living this kind of life, even with its’ downsides, is still far more preferable to the opposite; to being with those ‘cold and timid souls who neither know victory or defeat’; to living without really being alive.