Early in his career Dale Carnegie discovered that although he couldn’t keep people from criticizing him unjustly, he could do something infinitely more important: He could determine whether he would let the unjust condemnation disturb him.
Eleanor Roosevelt, who probably had more ardent friends and more violent enemies than any other woman who ever lived in the White House, once told Carnegie that the only way we can avoid all criticism is to be like a Dresden-china figure and stay on a shelf. “Do what you feel in your heart to be right,” she said, “for you’ll be criticized, anyway. You’ll be ‘damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.’”
When Carnegie asked Matthew C. Brush, president of the American International Corporation, if he was ever sensitive to criticism, Brush replied, “Yes, I was very sensitive to it in the early days. I would try to please first one person who had been sounding off against me; but the very thing I did to patch it up with him would make someone else mad. Then when I tried to fix it up with this person, I would stir up a couple of other bumblebees. I finally discovered that the more I tried to pacify and to smooth over injured feelings in order to escape personal criticism, the more certain I was to increase my enemies. So finally I said to myself, ‘If you get your head above the crowd, you’re going to be criticized. So get used to the idea.’
“That helped me tremendously. From that time on I made it a rule to do the very best I could and then put up my old umbrella and let the rain of criticism drain off me instead of run down my neck.”
Think about it—would you rather have your head above the crowd and deal with the criticism, or keep a low profile and deny yourself the opportunity to advance? Remember … just do what’s right and let people say what they will.
Photo credit: graur razvan ionut