A few years ago, I created a video and put it on my video channel. I was taking a position on a very controversial topic that's still controversial, concerning race, and I knew that there might be some people who disagreed with me.

shed other people's negativity

The video didn't get a single comment, though it had a nice number of visitors. It even got a thumbs up; it also got a thumbs down.

That kind of freaked me out. Out of the almost 100 videos that I'd created by then and put online, I'd never had a thumbs down before, even though I've had people disagree with me here and there. But there was something about that thumbs down that irked me and bothered me more than I thought it would; how strange...

It's bothered me for a week. An anonymous person does a cruise by, gives me a thumbs down that I can't address, and that bothered me more than if someone had left a negative comment? What's wrong with me?

What's wrong with me is what's wrong with all of us; we want to be seen as perfect, or we want to be perfect. Those are two different distinctions so let me clarify my thought about them.

Wanting to be seen as perfect means that whatever you say, however you dress, and wherever you happen to be, you want to be accepted positively and have no one ever disagree with you or say anything negative about you.

Wanting to be perfect means that you've thought everything through, believe in your position or anything else, expect that there will be some people who go against you for whatever their reason is going to be, have thought about why people might not like what you do and then you're prepared for anything. In essence, nothing can get by you because you're prepared for both pro and con arguments.

Then something happens that messes up your striving for perfection. Turns out you didn't think of everything because you couldn't think of everything. Turns out that even if you're dressed perfectly, everything's pressed and you're looking good that there's always going to be that one person who hates you for trying to be perfect because they have their own issues.

And most of the time... there's not a thing you can do about it.

That's not quite true; there are things you can do about it, most of them not very good.

You can pout for awhile.

You can decide to rant about it, although that might not bring you a lot of satisfaction if you don't get enough people to agree with you. And if they tell you to just get on with life... you might not like hearing or reading that either.

You can decide to withdraw for awhile, do some soul searching, and decide if you're really able to handle negative criticism.

Or you can get over it, let it go, and get on with life.

There's a guy named Derek Halpern who talked about something in one of his videos; I can't remember which one. He said that most of us get a majority of positive reactions in our lives that one would think would carry us on to greatness. Yet it's those few negative reactions that carry more weight with us, which makes us scared to pick up the phone to call someone, ask for a date, ask for directions, get up on stage to speak, on and on.

He's right, and here's the thing. Successful people hear as much negative things as the rest of us do; way more. The difference between them and everyone else is that they don't let any of it stop them from reaching for their goals. There isn't a single successful person who stopped doing something because they were criticized. Instead, they used it to push themselves even harder.

That's a hard lesson to learn, and though I'm usually pretty good at overcoming it, every once in awhile even I get caught off guard. I didn't let it stop me, but I did let it stay on my mind much longer than the person who gave me the thumbs down probably did, and neither of us knows each other; what a major waste of time.

It's critical that we all stay on focus in trying to achieve our dreams, goals, whatever, and never let anyone else kill our dreams. Even if we modify them based on what someone said because we might fight out they're right about something, keep going, keep improving, never give up. Heck, even William Hung got a record contract. πŸ™‚