Copy of #TheSafeSpace Column published in the Times Of Swaziland on the 16th of March 2016:
For the young and upcoming professional of today, challenges in the pursuit of success seem to be at every corner. In effort to rise above these challenges and carve a rewarding path in their desired field, young people have devised several strategies. These days, it is common to have a conversation with a peer or scan through social media and all the talk will centre on ‘haters’. Judging by all I have seen and heard, a hater seems to be anyone who constantly addresses your flaws, refuses to support your dreams or dismisses what you stand for. From my point of view, we get so caught up in the comments of others that our main goal becomes the need to prove people wrong. Every time we receive criticism, we log onto Facebook and compose 300 word monologues – reassuring the world that haters won’t keep us down. Every time we make positive professional strides, we post statuses that reveal how no one believed in us yet here we are, winning. These social media posts often get aggressive, cynical and emotional. In essence, our whole drive is to use other people’s negative criticism as the fuel to our fire.
Before I continue, let me state that everyone has the right to use whatever forms of personal motivation that they want. If your professional competency is sparked by the need to show others what you are capable of, that’s a personal decision and I respect it. With that said and done, I think it is a waste of your time and your abilities. In the world we live in, people will always say what they want to say for reasons best known to them. If our whole modus operandi is vehemently rejecting opinions, we miss the opportunity to learn, engage with new people and do self-introspection. Developing the habit of turning people’s ‘hate’ into your success is hardly a viable move in my view. It’s not only stressful but in most instances you tend to create invisible enemies just to be able to go through Monday mornings. As an individual, your eye should remain squarely on the goal(s) and any negative comments should be assessed for validity before moving on. Most of you are destined to become big deals in the future, how are you going to handle thousands of criticisms if you have not cultivated the ability to keep your eye on the prize?
Self-motivation is a key competency, one which we should continue to develop as we go through life. We must be our own all-time favourite cheerleader instead of expecting everyone else to fill that role. We must not be quick to brand others as haters because we will not be able to objectively deal with opinions. In other instances, a person might simply not like you. It happens, don’t waste precious resources getting mad or vindictive at things that are out of your control, just smile and move forward. It is really incredible when you realise how much you can achieve when your whole spirit is positive and your mind is locked on what really matters.
Feel free to share your comments with me through Twitter (@chr1sfleming), blog (www.chr1sfleming.wordpress.com) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org. Until we meet again, goodbye.
Feature image source: Google