It’s never pleasant to be criticized—even if the person criticizing you has the best of intentions. But being open to criticism, even if you disagree with it, can potentially improve your path in life.
The path of self-improvement should be continuous. Part of this journey is a healthy and honest self-assessment, but we should also be open to the opinions of others. This doesn’t mean that you have to accept, agree with, or incorporate others’ criticism, but it never hurts to consider it. Sometimes someone else’s opinion is not meant with the best of intentions, and although we should be aware of their motives, that doesn’t mean that what they’re saying is wrong. Consider the motives of those criticizing you, but even if they’re hurtful or harmful, don’t let that get in the way if their criticisms are valid.
As children, we grow up wanting to be rock stars, or bestselling authors, or the president. We are “thinking big” — thinking about reaching the pinnacle of our passions. But achieving this height does not just happen. The realization of any big dream takes a combination of hard work, cultivating relationships with the right people, diligent preparation, and luck.
For some, the image of our dreams drives us to obsessive routines. Practicing for hours and hours every day, reading anything they can get their hands on, endless networking. For others, dreams remain dreams.
When things in life are going according to plan and clicking along, it can be comfortable. Sometimes so comfortable that we hesitate to make changes or take risks. It’s when things aren’t going quite right (or horribly wrong) that we often make fundamental changes in our lives — changes that can lead to evolution and growth.
Life never happens according to a script, and thank goodness. How boring would that be?
Everyone has times in their lives when it seems like the world is against them or they can’t catch a break. It’s very easy to feel sorry for ourselves, or feel like the world is against us. But it’s during those times that we might have an opportunity to “reboot” our lives. Instead of thinking about what we’ve lost, think about the potential for what we have to gain, or change, or try. There’s no reason we have to try to get back to our life as it was — we can try to get to where our life is going.
The meanings of certain words have been diluted in this age of instantaneous information. People throw the them around without a thought to their meaning or their impact. To me, “hero” is an important example.
In the past, I tended to cringe whenever I heard the word “hero,” mainly because I heard it so much. It used to be reserved for those among us who did truly extraordinary things or were able to get jobs done in extremely trying circumstances.
So what is the essence of acting heroically? Is it overcoming fear? Is it committing fully to a course of action? Is it going the extra mile? It may be all of these, some combination, or something entirely different. The essence of heroism is inherently ineffable. If it was something that could be measured or taught, it would lose its mystique.
Have you ever found yourself going down a path that you know isn’t right?
We may feel we’re stuck on that path, that the events that led us here will lead us relentlessly in the same direction.
We may feel that we’ve messed up, or dropped the ball, and that we can’t escape the consequences.
I’ve had several times in my life when I knew (or later realized) that I was on the wrong path—that I had done, or was still doing, something stupid (smoking, staying in unhealthy relationships, making poor choices). But I was shortsighted or pigheaded or oblivious—or a combination of the three.