F. O. C. U. S.: C is for Criticism
by Thad Burkamper
August 08, 2019

Sticks and stones may break my bones
But words can never hurt me
Tell that to one
Who’s survived the stun
Of a beating with a dictionary

Provided we’ve adequately dealt with and moved past failure and obstacles as reasons not to proceed towards a goal, you’re in a position to take your first steps, and now everyone gets to inform you of their opinion. Write this next part down. Maybe get it tattooed on your arm or something because this is very, very important.

· “Almost nobody’s opinion matters”
· “La opinión de casi nadie importa” – Spanish
· “Skoðun nánast enginn skiptir máli” – Icelandic (seemed relevant)

People are, by nature, very prone to taking the safe way through the path of least resistance. And, as people (likely your family and friends) hear of your new-found calling, it is in their nature and for your own perceived good that they will try to coax you away from what appears to be a dark and scary path. It isn’t necessarily out of ill intent that they’ll try to talk you out of moving forward. Very often, it’s because they simply don’t want to see you fall. They don’t want to see you hurt. They would rather see you do what so many others do, live unremarkable lives unremarkably, but with little to no pain.

It’s important to understand that the, “little to no pain,” part of that statement is also a perception. You can find yourself in just as much pain mentally, spiritually, or physically by going with the flow and not reaching for greatness as you can after a plan-altering boulder has placed your nose dirt ward. At the very least, with scuffed palms after a hard fall, there is a synapse firing of life being lived. Don’t fault the people who try to slow you or stop you from continuing. Understand their intent and likely their love and take that message from what they’re saying.

There are those, however, that will try to slow you or stop you for far different motives. Very often, when someone outside of your personal family circle (the family circle is any human who exists who you love and respect) will tell you reasons not to do something because if you succeed, their excuses for not chasing their own goals become invalid. It’s very important to weigh out the voices you choose to listen to. Here’s a quick and easy rule. The people who are not a part of your mental, physical, spiritual, or financial well-being don’t count. Those who are, do, sometimes.

Words and opinions are like gifts. If someone offers you a gift and you refuse it, it belongs to them. If someone offers you their opinion on how you should live your life and you refuse it, it belongs to them. To be offended, put down, or affected in any way first requires that you value someone else’s opinion.
But, I guess, that’s just my opinion.

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