I thoroughly enjoyed the Olympics. It’s always personally and professionally inspiring to watch people who’ve put the heart and soul into something for many years. Whether they win or not, they’ve worked their tails off and I tip my hat to all of them.
A few days ago I saw Lolo Jones cry when being interviewed the day after she placed fourth in the women’s 100m hurdles. But she wasn’t crying because she didn’t medal. She was crying because she had been asked about a recent article in The New York Times. The article ripped her for being all style and no substance, and questioned whether she had any chance of success in London. (I won’t link the article because I don’t want to have anything to do with driving traffic to it.) Lolo recounted how hurt she was when she had read the article because she had trained so hard for so long, and as the results proved, she was absolutely full of substance.
All I could think of while watching that segment was on of my favorite quotes, from Theodore Roosevelt. It rings true for athletes, business owners, artists, musicians, and anybody who has poured themselves into some endeavor and subsequently been stung by a critic…
“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 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 and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for 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 he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
Don’t let your critics bring you down. Don’t let your doubters impeded your path. Rather, let them live in fear of doing great things and use them to fuel your fire, so that no matter the outcome, when it’s all over you can hang your your shoes knowing you made it to the arena and spent yourself for a worthy cause.