We live a world where we are constantly being judged or judge others. It could be your weight, physical appearance, job performance, or on the athletic field of play. No matter how much we would like to stay out of the lime light people will always judge you in one form or another.
Having success does not alleviate negative opinions of you. There are people out there who are constantly living in a negative state of mind. Taking pleasure in criticizing people due to their insecurities and fears.
I remember watching an interview with Gene Simmons, one of the leaders of the iconic heavy mental band Kiss. Not only are they a member of the Rock n Roll hall of fame but they have built a multi-million dollar music empire. Despite all their success, critics would often say their music was garbage. When asked how he handles the critics, he came up with a great comment. He said, “who is a critic? There is no formal training or school they attend.” He goes on to add…
“We completely ignored critics, they meant nothing to us. I buried them in my backyard, they’re fertilizer for my greenery! They’re the guys who never got laid in school who have pus-filled pimples who still live in their mother’s basement. They’re not even journalists! It’s a completely unnecessary life form. If critics cease to be, nothing changes.”
Gene’s statement clarifies a few things, that is a critic is just one’s opinion and not necessarily the truth. Secondly, criticism should not stop you from excelling in your field. Thirdly, the biggest thing stopping your from becoming a better athlete or more successful entrepreneur is you.
One of the biggest reasons many people don’t achieve their goals in life is the fear of being judged. This paralyzing thought is enough to stop many from potentially achieving their greatest dreams. Hopefully after reading this you will think differently about yourself.
The Power of Criticism
Criticism can be painful if you don’t have techniques to deal with it. The feeling can linger in your head for many years causing you to make not so ideal choices based on this perception from someone else. Even the most positive person can feel the weight of criticism. Studies from Florida State University reveals we remember negative remarks more than positive. In fact, it takes five positive remarks to overcome one negative remark. It is therefore important especially if we are in a position of influence such as a sports coach to choose our words wisely when providing feedback to athletes.
In this article, I’m going to share with you my strategy on how to deal with the fear of being judged. Overcoming this feeling is probably one of the most liberating things you can do for yourself. If you want to become a great athlete, a leader, and be the best then you want to listen to what I am about to share with you.
You Are Your Biggest Critic
Learning to face criticism head on is probably one of the toughest challenges successful people undertake. It is extremely difficult to achieve a goal if you do not master this fear. First, it limits your opportunities by stopping you from starting special in the first place. Secondly, you may start something such as working out, a business, or a new sport, only to find yourself quitting shortly afterwards.
Being judged was my biggest hurdle growing up. I often found myself starting something and quitting shortly after. When I faced struggle, I turned the other way instead of dealing with it. It was not easy growing up. My parents were poor and didn’t have the luxuries other kids in my area had. I always felt like I was the outsider, never good enough to be a part of their group. However, as I look back on my youth I wish someone had given me some advice which is to embrace the critics with a personal filter. I needed to realize I was in control of what I accept as the truth.
This fear gripped me until my mid-twenties. It was during this time, I stood in front of the mirror, telling myself I am better than this, and I have a lot more to give to this world. I began to stick to my goals, never quitting no matter how difficult I felt the task would be. My biggest phobia public speaking disappeared as I began taking formal training eventually leading me down the road to speaking professionally. The turnaround has truly enriched me, allowed me to travel and meet interesting people around the world. Today tell myself why didn’t I do this sooner! If I had accepted my limitations I wouldn’t have achieved all this. I probably would have lived out my life unfulfilled, bitter, and angry with the world.
If you find yourself in a similar situation take my advice, build up the courage and screw the critics! Now I understand it human nature to feel validated and accepted but take this into consideration; not everyone is going to love you no matter how great you are. I will share with you a technique I use that helps me blow through the fear of being judged. Think about all the great thought leaders of our time such as Muhammad Ali. This legendary boxer risked his career and millions in earnings to take a stand against the Vietnam War. His message helped give strength to the war protesters, and he is revered as a great humanitarian. However, as loved as he was by the millions around the world, there are a lot of people who absolutely hated him. Keep this in mind when you begin to worry about being criticized; even the greatest had his detractors.
Ask yourself, if the criticism is valid or not. If it is than it’s an opportunity for improvement. Maybe it maybe a coach who feels you need to work on your footwork or speed, or a customer who gives you a bad review online. Not all criticism is bad. All it is information you need to sort through to find out what is constructive and what is not.
I prefer to share to others the great things my life experience can offer than to live a life where I don’t contribute out of fear. Imagine all the great inventions that would have not come about if the inventors worried about what other might think of them if they failed? The light bulb, personal computers, the airplane, the list goes on.
When dealing with criticism, I like to use what all great martial artists do and that is to focus on your opponent in front of you. You never want to take your eyes off your opponent otherwise they will be able to take advantage of your lapse in concentration. With that said, let the critic say their thing, move on and don’t take it personally. There are lots of people out there who spend their time posting nonsense. The problem is not with you but it’s a reflection of their life. Just think what kind of person spends their time spewing out negativity. There are so many hours and days in this beautiful life, don’t spend it wasting it away on something that does not contribute in a meaningful way to this world.