This is life:
You swing and you try. You fall down and you get back up. Even if you fall down 9 times, you get back up 10 isn’t that what they say?
It’s not easy sometimes, right?
But what other choice do we have?
You take the pain. You take the criticism.
You take the bumps and bruises and the frustration that comes with learning your craft and you make your way up from the apprentice to the professional.
You say to yourself, “Something’s gotta give,” which is true.
Something’s gotta give but nothing ever gives when you quit
(or give up).
I once had a tough sales manager when I was a young salesman in the Garment District. He told me there will be three types of people that I will inevitably I encounter in this business. He said there will be people that buy from me no matter what. There will be people that might buy from me but I’ll need to work with them. And then there will be people that will not buy from me no matter what I do. No matter how low the price is, or how hard I work to sell them, there will be clients like this that wouldn’t buy from me to save their own life.
The idea is to see where my time is spent and learn to invest my time wisely. I can waste time trying to get the person that refuses, or, I can focus on my abilities and sell to the people that benefit me the most.
Either way, the idea is to keep moving. The idea is to remember this is a simple transaction. It’s not personal. It’s business.
In other words, this is just sales. Nothing here is life threatening. No one is going to take away your home or hurt you.
Some will buy. Some might buy. And some won’t buy no matter what. The trick is to maintain momentum. The trouble is when we lose momentum, then what? What do we do when we lose sight of our main objective?
If we give in and overthink ourselves, what happens next?
One could argue that we risk losing focus. If we lose focus then we not only risk losing the focus on our main source of income, we risk our own sanity.
I see critics the same way.
I see my pitches and my presentations in this very same context. I see coaching and business and life all the same. This all depends on our focus and the way we spend our energy.
I don’t mind the critics as much as I used to because why bother? This is what they do. They criticize. This is their role in life. There are people whose positions in life are to be the antagonist. They’re job is to oppose, by any means. There are people in this world that will oppose, no matter what you say or do or create. Get used to this.
Over the years, I have learned these people are only as powerful as I allow them to be. I have come to the understanding that the worst critic of all is me. And this is the only critic that matters because this critic can hurt me the most.
I have come to this understanding after literally decades of maneuvering through depression and anxiety that above all things, no one is harder on me than I am. This is not helpful. No one holds me back more than I do. And the same goes with us all.
I laugh sometimes at the interpretations I read about my posts. I laugh because clearly, I can tell when someone misinterprets my meaning, which is fine because art is subjective and if this is my art and if or whenever I put this out to the universe, I have to understand this is open to interpretation. And so be it, so long as I remember that none of what anyone says is about me. No, this is about their interpretation.
On another note, there are going to be people that cheer us on. This is the home team. There will be those out there that will swear by us, no matter what we build or create. This is the same as Mom or Dad being a proud supporter. This is like Mom when we drew scribble monsters with crayons at the age of three and to the rest of the world, the picture was a scribble circle in multi-colored crayons. But not to Mom. No, Mom would call this art. And there are people that love us this sincerely and deeply that regardless to what we come up with, to them, this will be art.
There are those too who may or may not be swayed. There are some that might be interested. All they’ll need is to see what we’ve created because this is art. And life is art. You, me, everyone we see around us is all an artform in one way or another,
So don’t be shy . . .
A few months back, I created something called Operation Depression. I wrote this manuscript on a daily basis for a few weeks. And then the book came out. And then the critics came out. Then the criticisms. And the supporters were there too. There are some that we swayed and others that said, “Yeah, this wasn’t for me.”
I get that. And that’s fine.
I took a swing.
I took more than one to be honest.
I have swung many times over the years. I’ve missed a lot. I’ve tried to build things and create events. I have fallen down more times than I can count but hey, at least I’ve learned to get back up.
No matter what happens in this life, we cannot submit to critics. More than anything, we cannot submit to the internal dialogue that criticizes our every move. It is okay to be your own best friend. It is okay to be your biggest supporter and be your own hero. This is allowed. It is okay to step up to the plate, swing, and miss because eventually, something’s gotta give.
There is a common misconception that champions never lose. In fact, there is a gross misunderstanding that suggests to be undefeated means you’ve gotten this way without losses. Not true at all.
Think about your best athlete. Think about the best actor. Think about any popular figure that can stand out amongst everyone of the same brand, and yet, this person is known as the best.
Of course there is such a thing as natural talent but even natural talent is meaningless if this goes unnurtured. Nothing so great comes without loss.
We all lose. Whether we lose in competition or we lose in personal struggle, we all fall down. We all hurt but we have to be sure to get back up no matter how badly the pain can be. No matter what the rejection may seem like; no matter how hard we get hit, we have to stand back up and return with fire.
I have sat in offices and been told, “Sorry, kid.”
I’ve had phone calls from people telling me that I wasn’t good enough. I’ve had people look to point out my flaws. And I’ve been hit so hard with both personal and outside criticism that yes, there are times I want to unplug my computer and throw it in the trash.
But that’s okay. I’ll start over. I’ll create again. I’ll find a new page and fill this with a new idea. Put simply, I will fall down but by any means necessary; I have to get back up.
There is no can’t. There is no won’t. There can be honesty. There can be self-assessment but there cannot be a time when we refuse to try or refuse to stand because life without art is lifeless and the last thing I ever want is to live lifelessly.
Not on my watch . . .
So get up. No matter what happens because above all things, if you fall, you cannot be afraid to stand up and try again.
Trust me. It’s time to get up.
Get ready and above all things . . .