Saturday, August 22, 2020

Rising Above Criticism


Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy received endless advice and criticism from the media concerning how he should run the country. Much of it he took good-naturedly. In fact, he often used a favorite story in response to the media’s comments about how they thought he could do a better job.

He told about a legendary baseball player who always played flawlessly. He consistently hit when at bat and was never thrown out at first. When on base he never failed to score. As a fielder, he never dropped a ball and he threw with unerring accuracy. He ran swiftly and played gracefully. 

In fact, he would have been one of the all-time greats except for one thing – no one could ever persuade him to put down his beer and hot dog and come out of the press box to play.

Most of us can empathize, for we all have people in our lives who criticize and second-guess. They are quick to point out flaws and quicker yet to offer advice.

When it comes to receiving criticism, I believe it helps to remember first that not all criticism is invalid. Wisdom listens for the kernel of truth and saves it for future growth. Norman Vincent Peale put it well. He accurately said, “The trouble with most of us is that we'd rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” Thoughtful criticism truly can be helpful.

But when criticism seems unfair or unwarranted, it helps to take a lesson from hawks. When hawks are attacked by crows, they will not counterattack. Instead, they will soar higher and higher in ever-widening circles until the pesky birds leave them alone.

The next time crows caw and attack, be a hawk. Quietly rise above the noise and learn to soar. 

--Steve Goodier

Image: flickr.com/Stan Lupo


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