5 Keys to Staying Motivated, Even in the Face of Criticism

It seems like no matter what it is that you do, from digging a ditch to operating on human brains, there is always someone around to criticize you. I know that seems like a negative outlook on people, but it is true. I personally am all about lifting people up, but sometimes the only person that will be there to lift you up by your proverbial bootstraps is YOU.

Look, I get it – sometimes criticism is a good thing.

More times than not, that is the case. But, let’s face it: nothing makes achieving success harder that negativity from other people, even if it warranted. That being said, here are my 5 keys to maintaining your motivation levels, even when the people around you are criticizing what it is that you’re doing.

Quit Justifying Your Actions

In the face of a perceived failure, most of us are quick to justify our actions or intentions. When it comes to our goals and the things we are trying to achieve, WE are the master of that journey. It’s easy for people to step back and say that you should have done something differently. The truth is, those people weren’t in your shoes at the time you made the choice to do what you do. I call this type of criticism “Monday Morning Quarterbacking”. You make the choices that you make – good, bad, or otherwise, based on the situation you are in. If things don’t work out, learn from the experience and move forward.

Look at the Source of the Criticism

A lot of time we get so wrapped up in the fact that we are being criticised for something that we don’t even pay attention to who is doing the actual criticising. Ask yourself, “does this person’s opinion even matter?” There is a difference in a boss criticising your work and someone who has no idea what they are talking about. Keep in mind also, there are people out there in the world who live to criticise because it is the only way they know to feel better about themselves. I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in the opinion of someone who has to find something wrong in you to feel right about themselves.

Eyes on the Prize

No matter the level of criticism, justified or not, the one thing you can never do is lose track of what it is that you are trying to achieve. You set out with a goal in mind or a task to accomplish, and you should never let anyone take that from you. The secret to life, in my opinion, is just like the old Japanese proverb says: “fall seven times, stand up eight.”

Seek Out Like Minds

When you evaluate the sources of your criticism, pay attention to the people who are on your side. Take that a step further, and find people who are doing what you are or have done it in the past. Find people with experience, not opinions. There are lessons in experience. The great thing about this notion is that there are endless forums online and entire websites dedicated to this very idea. There it positive input all around, you just have to seek it out.

Celebrate the Small Stuff

Finally, although you should never sweat the small stuff – you should always celebrate small victories. Anything you do in life is going to require small steps, not giant leaps. Pay attention to those small steps, even when you end up taking two forward and one back. I’ve made it a habit of “storyboarding” the things I am working on, where I break everything down into little, bite-sized chunks. Every time I check one of those little tasks as complete, it’s like a little victory. Life is all about those little victories.

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