Some things never change. Critics are some of the most pessimistic people on earth, promoting themselves by trying to bring down the person who is making a sincere attempt to succeed. All too often, we fall into the critics’ trap and listen to these self-important bystanders, letting them demoralize us and others.
I suggest that each of us stand up and oppose a critic at least once each week. Declare a subtle war against these agents of pessimism. It does not have to be an aggressive encounter: simply point out, publicly if possible, that it is far easier to criticize than to accept the risk and take action. Every time we succeed at dampening the enthusiasm of a critic, we help many people over time.
Full conversion of a critic is more difficult but it is possible too. Imagine if you convert just one critic into a person that inspires others — what is the longterm effect if the converted one then inspires dozens of people over the next ten years? The effect on dozens of lives can be profound. I personally feel especially good when I know I’m spreading the gospel of the Optimistic Few. Interestingly, the converted-critic-now-optimist is better off and happier too.
Here are words worth memorizing:
It’s not the critic who counts,
Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled,
Or where the doer of deeds
Could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man in the arena,
Whose face is marred by dust and sweat, and blood,
Who strives valiantly,
Who errs and comes short, again and again.
Who knows the great enthusiasm,
The great devotions,
Who spends himself in a worthy cause.
Who, at best, knows in the end
The triumph of high achievement,
And who, at the worse, if he fails,
At least fails while daring greatly
So that his peace shall never be with the timid souls
Who know neither victory nor defeat!
– Teddy Roosevelt
Fight the critics. Be subtle but effective. Be a secret agent of the Optimistic Few — it makes your day more exciting to target your next pessimist. Don’t let them tear down the optimists that dare to act. It is a fight worth fighting.
I.M. Optimism Man