On Critics and Naysayers

What if we quit listening to the naysayers, the critics, the news, celebrities with more dollars than sense and whatever society tries to convince us is currently in vogue?  What if we were the one with guts, the one in the arena who “failed?”  It’s easier and safer to take cheap potshots, second guess after the fact or be part of the problem.

I share two pieces – one from this year and one (a personal favorite) from 117 years ago. Timeless wisdom is just that – timeless, because it never changes, even if the prevailing winds are blowing from a different quarter. Wisdom from God is timeless and unchanging, just like He is.

Closing thought – “Never pass up a golden opportunity to say nothing.”

Decision making, after the fact

Critics are eager to pick apart complex decisions made by others.

Prime Ministers, CEOs, even football coaches are apparently serially incompetent. If they had only listened to folks who knew precisely what they should have done, they would have been far better off.

Of course, these critics have a great deal of trouble making less-complex decisions in their own lives. They carry the wrong credit cards, buy the wrong stocks, invest in the wrong piece of real estate.

Some of them even have trouble deciding what to eat for dinner.

Complex decision making is a skill—it can be learned, and some people are significantly better at it than others. It involves instinct, without a doubt, but also the ability to gather information that seems irrelevant, to ignore information that seems urgent, to patiently consider not just the short term but the long term implications.

The loudest critics have poor track records in every one of these areas.

Mostly, making good decisions involves beginning with a commitment to make a decision. That’s the hard part. Choosing the best possible path is only possible after you’ve established that you’ve got the guts and the commitment to make a decision.                      Seth Godin 2017

 

The Man in the Arena

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 and shortcoming; 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 the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the 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.                  Theodore Roosevelt 1910

 

Comments

  1. Tom, you should be writing regularly. You have such a gift of knowing how to say what needs to be said at the proper time. Our political arena is in such a state that we forget the heart and intentions of those whom willingly put themselves in the line of fire in order to do what is right and follow God as their lead. While none of us do that as well as we ought much of the time, worthy credit to those still are willing to whatever risk to do so.