How many times could you have made a real contribution to the world, only to retreat back to the warm, bubble bath of your comfort zone, afraid of what others would think of you if you failed?
Like the time you could have spoken up when the leaders were all in the room, and shared your expertise and unique perspective on the problem, but you pulled back, and the opportunity slipped away?
What about the business you dreamed of launching, but shelved the idea because your friends said you were “crazy”, that you should “play it safe” and “not take chances with your retirement?”
Or the beautiful someone you were afraid to approach, for fear you didn’t measure up—fear of being rejected?
At some point, someone who cares about you saw you pull back in one of these moments, and said, “Don’t worry about what other people think…”
Truth is, they’re only half right.
The Whole Truth
Someone once said, “Never accept criticism from someone you’d never take advice from.”
There it is. The truth. Some people in our lives are very, very important, and we should care about what they think. Others are not important, and their input should be highly suspect, and likely best ignored completely.
The people who are important—for whom you should value their opinion, are the people who:
1.) have achieved or are making great progress toward achieving what you're pursuing—people you take take advice from
2.) are instrumental in generating your income so you can pay your bills, or
3.) help and encourage you in other ways to reach your goals
Everyone else can and should be ignored at all costs. Their negativity, criticism and, unfortunately, sometimes even hate, are destructive. The shame they try to smear on you can be crippling.
Research suggests that shame is the most hurtful, negative, destructive emotion anyone can experience.
Consciousness researcher David R. Hawkins ranked it in the lowest level of his scale of human consciousness. He says:
“The level of shame is perilously approximate to death, which may be chosen out of shame as a conscious suicide or more subtly elected by failure to take steps to prolong life, as in “passive suicide.” Death by avoidable accident is common. We all have some awareness of the pain of “losing face,” becoming discredited, or feeling like a “nonperson”. In shame, people hang their heads and slink away, wishing they were invisible. Banishment is a traditional accompaniment of shame and, in the primitive societies from with we all originate, banishment is equivalent to death.”
Jen Sincero, in her book, “You Are a Badass”, writes, “Nobody who ever accomplished anything big or new or worth raising a celebratory fist in the air did it from their comfort zone. They risked ridicule and failure and sometimes even death.”
Shame researcher Brené Brown says, “The data proves that vulnerability is essential to whole-hearted living. Vulnerability is not weakness; it is our most accurate measurement of courage. It is to let ourselves be seen and to be honest. It is emotional risk, exposure and uncertainty, and it fuels our daily lives. Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”
Look, if you’re living a full life, if leaving nothing on the field and no song unsung, it’s going to hurt. A lot.
As Taylor Swift says in her hit song, “Shake It Off”, “Haters gonna hate, so shake it off…”
You will experience shame and embarrassment. People will have opinions about you, what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and how you’re doing it. And of course, whether you’ll succeed at doing it or retreat to them in their nice, safe, messed up world. />
Teddy Roosevelt 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, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
May victory be yours.
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