There is a three step process that you can take to avoid criticism and opposition in your life. It is actually more simple than you might think.
Step 1: Do nothing
Step 2: Say nothing
Step 3: Be nothing
If you decide to go this route then you may as well crawl into a hole, pull a rock over your head and stay there. But to live a full and meaningful life, then it is wise to step out from the crowd and be willing to be punched, but learn to roll with the punches, get laughed at, but be able to laugh louder at yourself, take criticism and be wise enough to know that it is not a personal attack, but a role that certain people get to play in life. If they weren’t criticising you, it would be someone else. No criticism is ever personal, ever!
Now, with all that said, we all know people with chips on their shoulders who go around shouting their mouth off, with narrow minded opinions, just wanting to defend their point of view at ever turn and encounter they have. They are simply lost, following the echoes of their opinions. They are destined to wander around the same valley, their whole lives, unless by the grace of the grand organised design, they are jolted out of it.
Create a meaningful vision for your life and take action on that vision. It can mean getting quiet, going inward and asking yourself the hard questions. “What is my life really all about?” “What is most important to me in life?” You must be able to bypass the programming in your head and connect with the truth in your heart.
It doesn’t matter how far you have gone off track, you can still find your way, which reminds me of a time when I went way off track. I was in recruit training in the Royal Marines Commando’s, and we had a night navex to do over rough, inhospitable terrain. It was a criteria pass or fail test. I set off into the pitch black of a cloudy night, unable to even see my hand in front of my face and only guided by two small florescent specs on my compass.
All seemed to be going well until the ground disappeared from under me and I tumbled fifteen or more feet down an almost vertical embankment. Bruised and bloody I struggled to my feet and headed off on my way, still following the florescent dot. After some time I became concerned that I had not reached the first rendevous. Then I hit a fence to a farmers field, which meant that I was way off track. My heart sank, knowing that I could be kicked out of the troop if I did not pass this test.
I sat down, composed myself and took out my map and mini red flash light. I noticed that my compass dial had shifted considerably, which must have happened during the fall. I had been counting my paces so had a good idea how far I had travelled and in what direction, given my new compass bearing. I worked out a new bearing based on where I believed I was and set off running, knowing full well that I could end up at the bottom of another embankment, but I had lost time to make up and passing this test was too important to me let that fear get in the way.
To my amazement, I found the first rendevous, which happened to be my section commander lying in a sleeping bag under a large tree. I set a new bearing on my compass and set off running again, thinking that I must be so far behind everyone else, because I went so far off course. I reached the second rendevous and then the third and I had completed the night navex.
I saw no one else on my way around and thought that I must be the last in. To my surprise, I received a “well done Armstrong” from my sergeant, which confused me as I thought that I was in for a bollocking. I asked him where everyone else was and he told me that I was only one of three to have successfully made it around — out of over thirty recruits and they where about to call it a night and go and search for the rest.
It turns out that the training team hadn’t recce’d the route beforehand and given the zero ambient light and tough terrain, the other recruits had run into similar difficulties as I had.
It doesn’t matter how bad life beats you up, how far you vear off track or how far behind everyone else you think you are. Take a moment and centre yourself. Find out where you are. Look hard at where you want to go, and get up and go, regardless of the potential risks. The rewards are too great to be concerned about the risks.
“Our deepest fears are like dragons guarding our greatest treasure”
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