I had the opportunity today to speak to 500 Middle School and 750 High School students. I spoke quite a bit on the subject of handling criticism and I would like to share more with you.
How to build your house
People like to throw bricks. Some throw insults, some criticism, some doubts and scoffs…they feel like bricks. When I was younger, the common bricks that were thrown were, “You’re too small.” “You’re too weak.”`”You will fail!” Now, I think their are three ways to handle these bricks.
1. Ignore them: A lot of people take on this strategy. No matter what anyone tells them, no matter what anyone thinks about them, they will go on and live their life. They let nothing effect them. To be frank, the people who do this are actually just running away. They pretend not to be hurt, and they spend their lives running away from bricks.
2. Carry them: The second option you can do with the bricks that others throw at you is this. You can carry them with you. Alot of people do this instead. They soak up everything that people say. They meditate on criticism and negative feedback. They spin those same thoughts in their head over and over and over again. And if they carry those bricks long enough, they will eventually be burried. Paralyzed by the thoughts and opinions of others.
3. Build: This is the winners choice. I do not believe that there is such a thing as useless criticism. Every kind of criticism can be used to build. For instance, when people told me I was short, they were absolutely right! If I ignored them and pretended I wasn’t short, I wouldn’t have ever made it. If I would have carried those words around with me, I would have moved on to a new goal. Instead, I needed to build my house with that resource. Ok, if I’m short, what can I do to make my height work for me instead of against me? How can I succeed anyway?
Or when they said, “You’re weak.” Once again, they were right. This was valuable information. I needed to know I was weak, so I could get to the gym and make myself stronger. My strength was in my control. That was positive building material that I used to succeed.
Finally, “You will fail.” Well this is an interesting one. I didn’t need to run away from this or meditate on this thought. No, only I could determine if I would truly fail or not. That was in my control. This was fuel. Not to prove anyone else wrong, but to prove to myself that I could do it.
See, criticism is a part of everything you do. The key is to find away to use the material that the critics give you, and use it build a house they can’t crumble. See, if you do this long enough, eventually those bricks will bounce right off that strong house you built, possibly falling right back on their own head. In fact, this may be one of the only instances where the old saying, “I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you!” The beauty of it is that the very people who wanted you to fail or said you would never make it, are the very ones who can directly contribute to your success…That is If you know how to use the materials they give you.