Everyone’s a Critic

My mother has her PhD in criticism. Nothing has ever been enough and she is never pleased with anything. She believes that she motivates people by pointing out how they could be better.

Some days it feels as if everyone is my mother! They all want to tell me how to live my life. Not just family members but, the neighbors, some guy on the street, even billboards and commercials want to tell you how you should eat or what you should wear. It can almost be overwhelming all the people who want to tell us how to live and who we should be or become.

Then there are those who are just critical of everything you do. If you start exercising they feel the need to ‘help’ you by pointing out how you need to do more. ‘They’ want to tell you how you could run your business better. Naturally, ‘they’ have all the answers on how to improve you.

Here are some ways I have learned to deal with criticism. I hope they will help you:

1. What Can I Learn from Criticism? Most criticism is probably based, at least in part, on some truths. Through criticism we have the opportunity to learn and improve from their suggestions.

2. Don’t take it personally (If you can master this one, number 1 become much more easy) This is my biggest problem with regard to criticism. However, I try to remember that if my spouse criticize my  cooking,  it is a mistake to identify ourselves with an apple pie. Somebody may find good reasons why our cooking is bad; but, this does not mean they are criticizing us as a person. Respond to the suggestions not the tone of the criticism. I find that if I can take time to stop being upset BEFORE I respond (see number 5), I can more clearly see the value of the criticism and not just my hurt feelings. People may make valuable critical suggestions that we miss because we are too busy being hurt.

3. Value criticism As a society, quite often, we only value praise. When people speak kind words we feel happy. When people criticize we feel miserable. However, if we only received insincere praise and false flattery, how would we ever make progress? If we wish to improve and develop we should invite constructive criticism and appreciate their suggestions.

4. Ignore False Criticism Sometimes we are criticized with no justification. This is a painful experience. One option is to remain aloof and ignore it completely. We should feel that false criticism is as insignificant as an ant trying to harm an elephant. If we remain silent and detached the criticism is given no energy. If we feel the necessity of fighting it – in a way, we give it more importance than it deserves. By remaining silent we maintain a dignity that others will come to respect.

5. Don’t Respond Immediately There is a saying that time heals all wounds, and the wound of criticism is no different. It is best to wait a little before responding. If we respond with feelings of anger or injured pride we will soon regret it. I will admit this is a hard one for me but if I wait patiently it can enable me to reflect in a calmer way.

6. Smile Smiling, even a false smile, can helps us to relax more. It creates a more positive vibration and smooths the situation. It will definitely help psychologically. Smiling will motivate the other person to moderate their approach.

Criticism is a part of life. The important part is to learn to accept it’s value and not let it stop your forward progress.  Theodore Roosevelt, 26th US President (1901-09), 1858-1919 said:  “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 and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, 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 he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”



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You are Never a Failure until You Stop Trying

It is hard for me to accept when something doesn’t work. I have an idea and I try to go from idea to reality and it doesn’t work! Soon I am feeling like a failure. It is easy to take a lack of success and label it as failure; when the reality isn’t failure but lack of success.

Perhaps you have heard how Thomas Edison unsuccessfully tried over 6ooo times to create a light bulb. On one occasion a young journalist challenged Edison saying to him, “Mr. Edison, why do you keep trying to make light by using electricity when you have failed so many times? Don’t you know that gas lights are with us to stay?”

To this Edison replied, “Young man, don’t you realize that I have not failed but have successfully discovered six thousand ways that won’t work!”

Because Edison believed an electric light was possible, he refused to give up. He tried countless types of material in his search for a filament that would work. He sent men to China, Japan, South America, Asia, Jamaica, Ceylon and Burma to search for fibers to test in his laboratory–all to no avail.

On October 21, 1879, after thirteen months of repeated failures, Edison finally succeeded in finding a filament that would work. Then the thought came to him, “Why not try a carbonized cotton fiber?”

After going through two spools of cotton, he eventually perfected a strand only to break it while trying to place it in a glass tube. He refused to give up and persevered with this idea for two more days and nights without sleep. Finally he succeeded in placing a carbonized thread into a vacuum-sealed bulb! Eureka! It worked.

Are you having trouble sticking to your diet? Has your exercise routine fallen by the wayside? Have you lost your job? Is your marriage falling apart?  Are you feeling stress and that you are a failure? Are you ready to throw up your hands and give up?

Don’t do it!

Stop, take time to assess what hasn’t worked and figure out a new way, a new path, a new career, or a new routine.


Success is just around a corner; all you must do is find the corner.

You are NEVER a failure, until you stop trying!


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What are you Doing Today to reach your Goal Tomorrow

I suffer from PROCRASTINATION, in an all caps kinda way. Unfortunately, the busier I am, the less I seem to be productive.

Here are 8 of my favorite suggestions on how you can make your day more productive.

  1. Daily goals. Without a clear focus, it’s too easy to succumb to distractions.  Set targets for each day in advance.  Decide what you’ll do; then do it.
  2. Worst first. To defeat procrastination learn to tackle your most unpleasant task first thing in the morning instead of delaying it until later in the day.  This small victory will set the tone for a very productive day.
  3. Peak times. Identify your peak cycles of productivity, and schedule your most important tasks for those times.  Work on minor tasks during your non-peak times.
  4. Deadline. Set a deadline for task completion, and use it as a focal point to stay on track.
  5. Promise. Tell others of your commitments, since they’ll help hold you accountable.
  6. Resonance. Visualize your goal as already accomplished.  Put yourself into a state of actually being there.  Make it real in your mind, and you’ll soon see it in your reality.
  7. Glittering prizes. Give yourself frequent rewards for achievement.  See a movie, book a professional massage, or spend a day at an amusement park.
  8. Nuke it! The most efficient way to get through a task is to delete it.  If it doesn’t need to be done, get it off your to do list.


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Be Smart Implementing New Found Inspiration

After yesterdays blog post I was thinking about the things I am more grateful for in my life. So, I started a list. The first thing I wrote on my list was my health. It seemed liked a good place to start; without being healthy many things in life become much more difficult.

With my new inspiration, I decided to start some yard tasks I have been avoiding. It felt great to see the progress of my labors and I was proud of my accomplishments at the end of the day. Then, after dinner it started. PAIN!

I naturally thought, ‘oops, over did it’ but the pain was relentless. Nothing I could do seemed to relieve it. I considered that it may be a heart attack, but then dismissed this thought. The reality is that I have let my body become a body at rest. The movement and exertion were too much for my sedentary body.

The moral of my story is, be smart be safe, and remember if you haven’t been active in a while, don’t over do it. Go slow! Reintroduce (or introduce) your body to exercise at a reasonable pace. Learn from my mistake 🙂


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Are You Feeling Overwhelmed?

Sometimes life can leave you feeling like you are a starfish caught in the ebb and flow of a tsunami. The world around you is pushing and pulling so hard you are unable to plant your feet. The ensuing feeling of instability is the cause of much stress and the root of a feeling of being overwhelmed.

Many articles I have read related to how to deal with feelings of being overwhelmed offer good advice. Things like take a walk, or focus on what is important, But what if it is ALL important? What if …..

The truth is that the feeling of being overwhelmed is related to trying to do too much or seeing that there is too much to do. Try focusing on just one thing. Do the one thing to completion and start the next thing.

Try it! Start today find one thing you can start and finish.

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Worries Got Your Down?

“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.”
Swedish Proverb

Worries are slippery little devils! In my experience the root of my worry is rarely what I think I am worried about. For example I may think I am worried about my relationship but the reality is that I do not want to grow old alone. My relationship is fine, but my concerns over being old and alone are causing anxiety.

I recently heard someone say stop letting your worries bully your mind. The truth of the statement was immediately relevant to me. I, and maybe you, let worries bully our minds. I can worry for day over a comment (either to me or from me). I rarely take action; I just mull it over in my mind for hours.

Find the root cause of your worry and take action. Inaction is the fuel of worry. Get busy first finding the root of your concerns and then working through solutions to those concerns.  Do not let small concerns overshadow your greatness!

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