Character and Criticism
The Coach's Corner
Published March 8, 2012 @ midnight
Most people I know do not take criticism very well. Criticism is very easy to avoid however; simply say nothing, do nothing, and do not strive to become something. Mediocre people play it safe and avoid criticism at all costs. Champions, winners, leaders and successful people however, risk criticism every time they perform. The more you do in life the more you accomplish, the more you risk being criticized.
However, it is important to remember that it’s not the critic who counts. Theodore Roosevelt once 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 up short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcomings, who knows the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the high achievement of triumph and who at worst, if he fails while daring greatly, knows his place shall never be with those timid and cold souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
If you are successful, people with be jealous or try to find fault. Don’t let that distract you from reaching your goal. It is easy to criticize other people, but it is hard to duplicate their efforts. Critics are not the leaders or doers in life. The leaders and doers are too busy with their own accomplishments to criticize.
It takes a belief in yourself to overcome the fear of criticism. Belief is the knowledge that we can achieve something great. It is the inner feeling that what we undertake, we can accomplish. One of life’s greatest fears is criticism or rejection from peers. Some people never participate in competitive sports for the simple reason that they are afraid of being criticized by friends or parents or others. This fear of criticism is more than just a lack of confidence. It is a preoccupation with self-image designed to minimize experiences of defeat.
Athletics, in order to be worthwhile and provide lessons for life, must always be accompanied by the possibility of criticism. Sometimes to be criticized in athletics is to realize and area of weakness and not succumb to it. It appears at times as though some people are looking for a reason to quit. Upon noticing a glaring weakness and experiencing a little criticism, a person my just check it in. It seems easy to forsake the real test, but a pattern of response could develop that would provide very unfulfilling in life. To quit at every challenge, quit in every difficulty, to avoid criticism becomes a habit, when we need to look at them at challenges to overcome and earn a sense of accomplishment and gain confidence in ourselves.
Realize some weaknesses are inherent. We cannot all be the fastest, tallest, strongest, etc…. We all have weaknesses but we also all have strengths and most of all willingness and focus to compensate or a weakness.
Do not be hurt, be not surprised,
If what you do is criticized.
There is always one or more who can
Find fault with anything and any man.
Mistakes will be made, we cannot deny,
But only by those who dare to try.
Eleanor Roosevelt reminds us that, “no one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” It is up to you to refuse to give that permission to anyone or any situation. A NFL quarterback once explained, “The criticism about my size and my arm strength does not bother me because I know I can compensate with my brain and other strengths over any shortcomings I might perceived to have. Real or imagined, critic or not, I know when the going gets tough, I know I can find a way to gut it out.”