One sentence kills more dreams than anything else in the world. It’s kind of a cliché to be honest, so you might know what I’m about to write: “What will people say?”
Yet, it still has a big impact on many people’s life. A lot of people hold back and they never work on fulfilling their dreams.
Let’s make one thing clear: Critics are unavoidable.
Some critic is good and constructive. Some critic is simply mean and unnecessary. Either way it’s out there and most people will face it at work, at home, on social media—or most likely—all of these places at one point.
This is out of your control, so let’s get back to what you can control: how you handle critics. Instead of trying to run away from the impossible like a dog chasing its tail, then learn how to disarm your critics by following this simple life philosophy.
Take the pain and wear it like a shirt
No one is perfect. If such a person exists, then I definitely haven’t met them yet, or heard about them. We’re not born to be perfect. Most of us know this, but we still let it get to us.
Very few people like to air their dirty laundry. It’s normal to want to represent yourself in a good way and appear likeable to new people, co-workers and all the other the people around us.
Even though it has become popular to embrace ourselves and our flaws, it’s still hard to actually stand up and be proud of them.
And I’m not saying you should be proud of every part of you. I’m definitely not. But you should embrace it and allow it to be a part of you. It shouldn’t hold you back from going for whatever you want in life (big or small).
Amanda Palmer said: “Just take on the pain and wear it as a shirt. Disarm the insult by adopting it completely.” (Tim Ferriss, Tools of Titans, 521)
If you haven’t heard about Amanda Palmer yet, then shame on you. I’m just kidding. I actually hadn’t heard about her before reading Tools of Titans (so shame on me I guess).
Amanda Palmer was once a part of the acclaimed punk cabaret due The Dresden Dolls, and then she became a big surprise hit with her TED presentation, “The Art of Asking,” which lead to the book, “Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help.“
Print the shirt
Okay, you don’t actually have to print the shirt, but adopt Amanda Palmer’s life philosophy when it comes to handling critics. If I had to cut it down to one sentence, I would say: It’s about acceptance – and getting ahead of things.
If you know someone is going to point out a flaw in you, then disarm them by mentioning it first. I’m not saying you should put yourself down in any way, but if you know you’ll be asked about a specific thing, then get ahead of them and own it.
Accept it. Own it. Let it be.
Because you’re not defined by a mistake or a flaw, but you can be defined by how you handle them.
A great example is Eminem who disarm his critics by dissing himself. This way he points out what the critics might hit him with, so there aren’t much left to say. Even if they do say something, it won’t be much more than a boring repetition.
Many hold back from putting themselves out there, because they’re afraid of what people will say about them. They’re so afraid of letting other people destroy their dreams that they destroy them themselves.
Embrace a flaw. Make it a part of who you are, but don’t let it define you or what you do with your life.