Sunday, June 4, 2017

Being distracted by criticism and negativity

"Don't be distracted by criticism. Remember, the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you".'
~ Zig Ziglar

Saw this quote recently and it made an impression. You could replace the word criticism with negativity--it also works. Criticism is fine, as long as it's constructive (but it so seldom is). Negative criticism is destructive; its aim is to squash initiative and motivation. That's where negativity comes in. By negativity, I mean the words and behavior of those who wish to discourage others at all costs from dreaming and achieving those dreams. They behave that way because they don't want you to get ahead (of them). Maybe they had dreams and were defeated, by themselves or others or both. Instead of learning from their experiences, they want to inflict them on others.

You've got to really weigh the words of the naysayers. A few of them have your best interests at heart and don't want to see you get hurt; those are the people who love you and whom you trust and go to for advice. So listening to them is not in and of itself a bad thing--you can weigh what they say and decide for yourself whether or not to take a specific risk. They'll discuss it with you and won't try to stop you or squash your dreams. It's the naysayers you meet in everyday life, the ones who say, 'why would you want to do that?', or 'I would never do that', or 'I would never do it that way' ('You should do it my way'). Or the ones who, no matter what your plans, goals, or dreams, always put a damper on them by saying 'I thought about doing that, but there were too many problems involved, so if I were you, I would forget about it'.

I bring this up today because I realized today that too many women simply never pursue their dreams and ideas. They will tell you that they are bound by family obligations, work, and other things. But the truth is somewhere in between. I think what happens is that many women turn to other people in their lives for support and encouragement when they have a dream or an initiative they'd like to pursue. Or they discuss a potential dream with colleagues. And maybe the majority of the people they talk to are naysayers. And so they give up on a dream before it even gets a footing. We've simply got to really listen to each other, to respect the dreams and goals of others, and to encourage them to achieve them. This way of thinking cannot just apply to children or teenagers; adults must also be encouraged to achieve. It's part of my way of thinking--that motivating others to achieve is a lifelong goal. We are never 'finished products', we are always seeking and searching for ways to grow and become better. We are always looking for outlets for our talents. We should be able to encourage others to do that, and to allow ourselves to do that as well. It is what our lives are really about.

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