It Is Not The Critic Who Counts


Lack of self confidence comes from having a very harsh inner critic. But how do you manage a harsh inner critic? Or harsh critics around you? Have you come across this speech from Theodore Roosevelt? Brene Brown surmises this quote in her now famous TED talk.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

If you have spent time in the comments sections on social media, you will know that anybody can criticise. Criticism is cheap and easy. Creating something of value is much more difficult. These days I think twice before criticising others, especially about something I haven’t tried myself.

The World Cup is on right now. My husband loves loves loves soccer. But I notice he never criticises the players. He says it’s easy for a non-athlete to find fault in a professional player, but each player is still the more impressive out of the two of us! Likewise, we can easily hear a singer hit a wrong note, but if we’re no professional singer ourselves, why insult someone who has worked so hard to sing as well as they do?

And what if they criticise me? Because I can only manage my own mind and not other people’s, I accept that they might judge me. My question is: Can I work on being less harsh on myself, as well as others?

It’s a full-time job staying in your own business, working on your own life and mind. So make an intention to mind your own business, develop your own inner and outer resources, learn new skills and knowledge, gain more self-awareness, and stop using up all your energy worrying about the critics.

Find people who support and accept you. Friends, coworkers, family members, therapists and mentors. One of the best things about finding a good mentor or therapist is the feeling of being accepted and supported exactly as you are, while simultaneously being guided and encouraged to grow and change.

And remember Roosevelt’s words, because it is not the critic who counts. It’s you.