A critic is a man who knows the way but can’t drive the car.
In my family, we follow many traditions throughout the year. One tradition that we have during the summer is to get together for a barbecue and watch boxing. I am not fond of boxing. I think it is a brutal sport, but I love connecting and catching up with friends and family. Last week we got together for the Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chaves fight at a friend’s house. Usually, I keep myself busy with other things when the fight starts. I find any excuse to leave for a while. I run to the store to get some wine, dessert, or anything else that comes to mind. But this time I did something different. I stayed. Yes, I decided that I would stay and not just watch the fight but observe my family and friends watching the fight. I wanted to discover what all the fuss was about and why we have not evolved from the ancient Roman times. Just like in the Roman colosseum, family and friends yelled, and cursed when the boxer they favored was not meeting their expectations. It appeared to me that they transformed from being spectators to being boxing coaches. They became the experts and the critics. For the most part, everybody wanted Canelo to win. Everyone yelled and cursed at him when they thought that he was not giving one-hundred-percent. And they all laughed at his opponent and his performance. Then I got it! We all had become harsh critics, even though we would not make it through one round in the ring. This experience made me think about the harsh critics that we encounter as we follow our dreams. People that are not in the ring will tell you how crazy and stupid you are for going after a life goal or passion. Here are three tips for overcoming harsh critics.
There is a reason that your harshest critics are not in the ring.
I have had many harsh critics on the road to my dreams. Just like the critics in your life, the people that are yelling at the boxer couldn’t be in the ring because they don’t have the drive or passion to pursue such a lofty ambition. From the outside of the ring they become experts because being a critic does not require great skills. On the other hand, it takes special talents and abilities to be a boxer. Only the athlete in the ring knows the strategy for when to punch or not to punch that we see in the ring. If we compare life to boxing, we find that our harshest critics think they know what our fight is about. But they have no idea. It’s easy to yell and curse at the boxer for not punching enough, or for avoiding a punch, when we are not in the ring. And it’s easy for others to criticize you. But remember, they are not in the ring. You are.
Only listen to people that have your best interests in mind.
When I think about the boxer, the only one that has the right to be a critic is the boxing coach. Only the coach knows what the boxer is capable of and what the strategy is. Even people that love you may want to discourage you from pursuing your dreams and goals. They believe that they are incapable of acquiring their dreams so they assume you can’t either. This belief exists because of who they are. It has nothing to do with you. People who love you may have the best intentions, yet know who your true coaches are, listen to them with care, but always take the advice of your soul because it knows the true fight you must win.
When all else fails, ignore them.
If you can’t delete your harshest critics from your life, simply ignore them. Don’t give them the power to hold you back. Ignore what they tell you and move on. I ignore those who doubt my dreams and ambitions by incorporating humor. I can laugh doubts away by not taking everything to heart. For example, when one of my harshest critics once told me that the world already had a Latina Oprah named Cristina, I told her that the world never had a Latina Oprah named Nancy Salmeron. I let it roll and laughed it away.
Boxing champions in the world are few, but the arena is filled with thousands of spectators and critics. There is a reason they are in the arena and not in the ring. Remember, you can’t listen to those that don’t know who you are or have lived your journey. Ignore those who doubt your dreams and don’t forget that champions of the world are few. Be the champion of your life by not listening to outside critics and staying in the ring long enough to see your dreams come true. Until next time, Believe. Change. Become.