Monday, July 30, 2012

You Can't Please Everyone

In high school, I was criticized for my lack of athletic skills, for being too enthusiastic, and for having a big nose. I never did fix the big nose, but I worked really hard not to be too enthusiastic. No one could accuse me anymore of being too enthusiastic. Today, I wonder if that's really a good thing. It would've been better if I'd just ignored that criticism and gone on with my life. On the other hand, becoming more athletic was probably a good choice. I'll bet I could beat most of the girls from high school if we all had a race today. I could probably beat some of the guys too.

My daughter has this quote from Bill Cosby on her wall : "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone." So true! One of the best parts of growing older for me is that the older I get, the less I care what other people think. I still try to correct myself if I think the criticism is valid, especially in my writing. If I don't think it's valid, I move on.


Breezing Up by Winslow Homer Photo Courtesy of National Gallery of Art

One of my favorite paintings is "Breezing Up" by Winslow Homer.  I love the waves and the sky. Once while I was looking at the painting in the museum, I noticed it has a huge flaw in the background. It looks like the artist once painted another ship then removed it. If you look closely between the sailboat and the ship, you might be able to see it too.  Noticing such a big flaw in this beautiful painting was a moving experience for me as a young college student. It meant that even with my imperfections, I could still be beautiful. Everyone is beautiful in his or her own way, and the fact that we're all imperfect only adds to our intrigue.

How have you learned to deal with criticism or imperfection?

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