To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing
Most people hate getting critcised. Many people try to avoid it. Yet, there’s really no way to get away from it.
I recall this story of the mule and the Old Man and His Grandson…
There was once an Old Man and his Grandson, travelling to the city market with their mule and luggage. Midway through their journey, they chanced upon a group of men, who commented that the couple were “idiots for walking” when they had a mule.
Thinking that they made sense, the old man lifted his grandson onto the mule and joined him soon after.
A little while later, they came across a group of middle aged women. Like the men earlier, they too commented. This time, however, they criticised the pair for lack of sympathy and thoughtlessness for making the mule bear both their weight.
Taking their words to heart, the old man alighted and proceed on foot.
Again, (they must have been cursed or something) a little while later the pair chance upon another group of women who criticised the grandson for making his aged companion walk!
Ashamed, the little boy alighted and had his grandfather rest atop the mule.
To complete the sequence (and prove that they were really cursed!), the pair came across one more group of a few teenagers a few moments later. Incensed that the man was making the young boy walk, the group criticised the old man for being selfish!
Bewildered, the pair did next best thing they could…
…THEY CARRIED THE MULE FOR THE REST OF THE JOURNEY!
* * *
Moral of the story: You cannot please everybody.
Since we can’t please everyone with whatever we do, then why bother getting so preoccupied with it in the first place?
Many of us become so concerned with pre-empting criticisms that our actions and thoughts revolve around trying avoid getting criticised than what’s the best thing to do. The opportunity cost of this is often a result that is less than appealing and attractive than what we could’ve achieved had we dedicated our efforts to evaluating our choices and next course of action!
What do you think?
Are you preoccupied with what people might think of you when speaking or meeting new people?
Or are you really focused on getting to know other people and giving them value?
“I don’t know what the key to success is, but the key
to failure is trying to please everyone.”
– Bill Cosby