When The Critics Aren't Raving

Have you ever heard of the term "arm chair quarterback"? It is primarily used for critics and fans of football players. They are the ones who see the quarterback make a mistake and are compelled to share with the whole world how stupid that player was for missing their target. Some even go as far as to berate and insult them.

"How could he miss that throw?" they scream, never assuming the fast pace of the game, the danger of 300-pound men charging at full speed to unleash pain, and the many other variables that come into play in those 5 seconds a quarterback has to make a play. 

I get so frustrated with these types of people. They don't know what it is like to play the game of football, or basketball, or anything else. (The term could be applied to anything really).  They "arm chair quarterback" the whole game from the comfort of their environment. People who have never played basketball criticize basketball players. People who have never played football criticize football players and so on. People who don't even participate are sometimes the loudest critics of these players.

This is the reality for the most of us. 

Some people will never know what it is like to be you and go through the things that you go through. Yet, that won't stop them from ever critiquing the results of your actions. They'll say things like, "I wouldn't have done that" or "so-and-so is too (insert critique here) to succeed." Some people even like to go as far as to predict your outcome. They are prophets of deception and they'll say the worse statements about your future like, "you won't ever accomplish that” or “you’re going to fail.”

"Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain, and most fools do." - Benjamin Franklin

We all have critics. Whether you know it or have never thought of it, the truth is that critics will always be present in your life. For some people, having critics is a sign that they are doing something wrong, or that they are not good enough.

For others, having critics is the evidence that they are on the right track of their lives. Both ways of thinking couldn't be more wrong. 

Before we get into what should be your mindset and reaction to criticism, condemnation, or complains, we should explore the mindset of the one doing the criticizing. 

The word Critic is referred to "a person who expresses an unfavorable opinion of something [or someone]." It comes from the greek word Kritēs which means "one who passes or arrogates to himself, judgment on anything. A judge."

Think about that for a second. When we criticize we do so because we have placed ourselves in the pretentious position of knowing better. Those who find it necessary to critic every little thing that you do are doing it because they are presumptuous. They believe that it is their right and duty to give their opinion on what you do, how you do it, and who you are.

That makes me cringe even as I write. I can recall so many times where I am critical of people or events and unknowingly I have participated in the swelling of my pride by doing so. I dislike that I have done that. Maybe you’re evaluating how critical you are of people. We’ve all played the part.

You’re probably thinking, “Me? A hater? No way!”

I am sure that those that hate on you don’t feel that they are doing so either. They must think they are just innocently passing along some valid opinion of you since, well, they can.

I feel so bad for athletes who are trying their best to follow their coaches plan to win with their teams when they have a bad game. Sometimes those athletes make crucial mistakes. Sometimes they just didn’t prepare correctly. Other times, the other team is just better. Or there can be other factors that contribute to the loss that those athletes cannot control.

When those bad games come they just know that they press, the bloggers, and the armchair quarterbacks will come out in full force. This can be detrimental to their confidence, potential growth, and leadership if they put too much stock on what the critics are saying about them.

You should not fall into this trap of listening to every single critical remark that was made by a person in love with your downfall. It can, and it very well will, make you make you second-guess yourself constantly. Have you ever stopped yourself from doing something new like going to gym and dieting to lose weight or signing up to go back to school because of what the critics may say?

If you answered yes then you must realize this. You stopped yourself because you were threatened. Some of you have been criticized so much that you’ve placed the motivation to do or not to do on the approval of your critics.

That is no way to live!

I know I am oversimplifying this but critics will always feel that there isn’t anything wrong with the comments that they make. What’s worse is that gossipers (that’s a different beast) fuel that habit with their approval in the form of listening. Mix the two and you have the recipe for what could be your downfall if you are not secure with your identity.

If you are dealing with people questioning your ambition then take a pause and evaluate.

Someone's opinion of you does not have to be your reality. You were made by God and for God. You were meant to be a blessing. As these people talk about you and try to call you names take heart that God calls you "mine."

Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you're doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you. - Joel Osteen

 

This is so true. Do not allow people, who have nothing better to do, discourage you or make you mad. Sometimes it's hard to notice the fools that do this because they mask themselves as friends and people who care. That’s when criticism hurts the most.

So what do the best athletes do when they are being criticized?

They do these two things:

They look at the source of the criticism.

They understand that not all criticism is bad. So they learn to filter what they listen to depending on who it is coming from. They won’t put too much stock on a tweet from some sports fanatic that tells them how horrible they are but they will place value on a coach’s demand for better outcomes. The reason they do this is because they know that the coach’s intention is the same as theirs: to win the game. This is more of a partnership.

Make sure that you surround yourself with mentors and leaders that you give authority to and the freedom to critique you. This kind of criticism isn’t any easier to take. In fact it could be the most brutal truth you’ll hear but it is really the most beneficial.

For these people, your success is their success. That’s the way it should be.

They stay focused on what they are trying to accomplish.

In baseball the purpose of the pitchers are to strike the batters out. If they can hit it is only a bonus to the team. If pitchers were to listen to the boos they receive when they strike out when they are batting then they’ll lose focus and that is costly.

Some people won’t ever be satisfied with what you do. Don’t start to change who you are for those people. Your purpose in life is constant and if you deviate from that then you’ll wonder why you aren’t successful in life.

I saw a meme the other day that said, “Your haters will see you walk on water and they’ll say it’s because you can’t swim.” There is some truth in that humorous post. You cannot please everyone so don’t try to.

 

Take care of your mind and heart. It is reserved for better than the vile words that come from a bitter critic. Now, please send this to someone who needs encouragement today. They will be happy you thought of them and you’ll be helping me out as well.

Love you all. Even the critics.

- Fredy