If we made a list of dumb things we do to sabotage our own
success, surely this one should be in the top ten: Placing too much
importance on other people’s opinions. We’re so programmed to care
and care deeply about what others think, we sometimes lose sight of
the significance of our own thoughts
– beliefs in our potential, our goals, our dreams.
If we made a list of dumb things we do to sabotage our own success, surely this one should be in the top ten: Placing too much importance on other people’s opinions. We’re so programmed to care and care deeply about what others think, we sometimes lose sight of the significance of our own thoughts – beliefs in our potential, our goals, our dreams.
When we’re children, we are susceptible to all manner of negative commentary being foisted upon us. Those experiences shape and mold our personalities and often hang around in the background, making us act weird as adults – even though maturity supplied us with greater knowledge and better coping skills.
If we judge ourselves by others’ opinions, we should steel ourselves for a bleak outlook. Our revered 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, turned out quite nicely in spite of this unbecoming assessment from his teacher: ” … he is a daydreamer and asks foolish questions.” Another student labeled a daydreamer was Albert Einstein, whose disapproving teacher recommended he be “removed from school at once.”
Winston Churchill, grandson of the seventh duke of Marlborough, assertively forged ahead despite his nay-saying external feedback. Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill – statesman, politician, world leader, historian, soldier and brilliant orator who saved the world from Nazi domination in the dark days of 1940 – was sadly, the object of his father’s derision. Lord Randolph Churchill was something of an ogre who deemed his son a dolt. When young Churchill was attending school at Harrow (the same place where he was later to deliver his immortal Never Give In! speech), his father wrote what may be one of the most spiteful letters any child of such historical import has ever received.
After chastising the boy for his “slovenly happy-go-lucky-harum-scarum style of work for which you have always been distinguished at your different schools,” Lord Randolph continued: “Do not think I am going to take the trouble of writing long letters to you after every folly and failure. You need not trouble to write, as I no longer attach the slightest weight to anything you may say about your own acquirements and exploits. If you cannot prevent yourself from leading the idle and unprofitable life you have had during your school days and later months, you will become a mere social wastrel, one of the hundreds of the public school failures, and you will degenerate into a shabby, unhappy and futile existence.”
Well, well, wasn’t that the voice of encouragement?
Churchill gave us a glimpse of his fiber when he wrote this response: “Thank you very much for writing to me. I am very sorry indeed that I have done so badly. Ever your loving son, Winston S. Churchill.” Lord Randolph would be appalled to discover the only reason anyone today even remembers his name is because his dufus son wrote a book about him.
Bottom line: Resist the darts others aim at you, your prized plans or fondest hopes. As author and speaker Craig Harrison says, “Be resilient, stand tall and reject rejection.”