Pop quiz. What do Jesus Christ, Seth Godin, and Barack Obama all have in common?
They all got haters and critics — people who can do nothing else but tear things down.
All these men have done something worthwhile in their lives. They’ve earned their fame. But greatness and popularity comes with something quite sinister …
When you’ve “made it,” strange critters come out of the woodwork. The chief among them is the hater.
Don’t believe me? Just ask Matt Forney.
(Whether you love him or hate him, you gotta admit though … you can’t ignore him.)
It happens to all great men. Therefore, it will happen to you too — if you choose to ascend above mediocrity.
When you have your crowd of boo-hoo-ers, rotten vegetable throwers, and armchair tough guys, do not fret … because you run the show. You are the one who toils, sweats, and bleeds. And therefore, you are the one who will control the course of destiny.
For you are the gladiator, and they are just the spectators.
The Gladiator and the Spectators
You’re in the arena. There is no escape. The exits have been gated shut. The midday sun wraps you in its scorching embrace. And in front of you stands the hugest motherhugger you’ve ever faced.
You’re sweating. You’re bruised. You’re bleeding. You’re tired. A couple corpses already litter the dry-dirt floor. They fought half-heartedly. And now they’ve bitten the dust. They couldn’t make it out of the death pit alive.
Your helmet obscures your vision. Your hand is dead-tired, but nevertheless glued to your sword. Your muscle aches and quivers. You just wanna drop your weapon and take a rest, but you can’t do that. It is a matter of survival. You’ve decided that you’re not gonna end up as a lifeless corpse.
You notice a crowd on the perimeter. It is like a sea of eyes all focused on you. You can’t make out the faces though. There are just too many of them. They are seated high above the pit and far away from the danger.
Well, since you got a crowd, the least they can do is cheer you on. But they don’t. Instead, they sneer at you. They don’t give a piece of crap about you. They rejoice whenever you stumble and whenever you get hurt.
Why are they even here? Why aren’t they at home tending to their business?
You’re just a distraction for them from their dreary existence — at least for a short while. They wanna be entertained by you. They wanna feel alive through you.
As much as they follow what you do, spectators, critics, and haters will never know the pain that you feel. They’re not the ones who sweat. Nor are they the ones who bleed. They’re not the ones who train 7 days a week. They’ve never stared death in the face and defied it.
No, they don’t dare. They’re afraid. And they’re jealous of you.
And because they cannot be like you, they grow to despise you. They insult you. They mock you. They throw rotten vegetables at you.
Because of their cowardliness and jealousy, the only things they can do are watching and taking cheap shots at you from the sidelines.
But they won’t ever confront you face-to-face. Their “bravery” comes out only when they feel safe. You know (and they know) that if they ever dared to set foot in the arena, you will destroy them.
They are not important. Their presence does not make a difference in your fight. Your battle continues, no matter if they’re there or not.
Pay them no mind, my friend. For you are the greater man — a free man. And since when does a free man ever bow down to a chained man — especially one chained by fear? Never!
That is why when you win (notice … not “if” you win, but “when” you win), they will not get the glory. The glory is yours alone — for you are the gladiator in the arena.
Our 26th President said it best …
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
How to Overcome Spectators
Listen up, guy. This is important.
Although critics are not important, you have to watch out. You gotta guard your drive to excel. Do not let them destroy that.
Wishy-washy Willie has great dreams and wants to pursue it. He shares his grand ambitions with his friends. His friends laugh at him. “Don’t be stupid,” they say. “You’ll just fail, so why waste your time?” Wishy-washy Willie gives up his dreams and goes back to his average life and to his average friends.
Determined Dave tells his friends about his grand plans too. His friends are also dream killers and laughs at him. They say, “Don’t be stupid. You’ll just fail, so why waste your time?” But unlike Wishy-washy Willie, Determined Dave is a true gladiator and fights his battles. He gives up his average friends and hangs onto his dreams. He finds new friends — ones who support his ambitions — and ultimately achieves greatness.
Are you a Wishy-washy Willie or a Determined Dave?
If you chose the latter, this is want you gotta do …
1. Develop a mindset of superiority.
Without the mindset of superiority, you’ll have no chance of winning. You’ll crumple at the slightest whiff of disapproval.
That is why you need to know that you are superior. When you’re better than the common folks and when you know you’re better, you will stop seeking their approval. Their boo-hoos and rotten vegetables will no longer deter you from your goals. You’ll have the courage to ascend above average. You’ll have the courage to keep on fighting in the arena. You’ll have the courage to win.
2. Associate with winners.
You’ve heard of the expression: like hangs out with like. That means people who are similar will group up together. High-value guys get with high-value girls. Rich people have rich acquaintances and live in rich neighborhoods. And you are a reflection of your five closest friends.
So you gotta ask yourself, “Are you a loser or are you a winner?” Look at your friends. Look at the people you hang out with. Do you want to be like them? Do you want to be associated with them? If the answer is no, you better start looking for a new crowd.
If you’re truly a winner, you cannot stand losers. A gladiator will not mingle with spectators.
3. Keep on fighting the good fight.
When that big-ass motherhugger is standing in your way, you keep on fighting. You keep on clenching onto your gladius until he is down and defeated.
The best way to get back at your critics and haters … to prove to them that they’re wrong … is to succeed. Don’t waste precious energy and time trying to out-argue them. Don’t try to convince them that you’re right. Just focus on winning, because success is indeed the best revenge.
Thank Goodness for Spectators
With the right perspective, you’ll see that having haters is a good thing. You probably won’t feel good when you get your first dose of hater. You’ll probably wanna gouge out his eyeballs and drop-kick his face in. But cool down, my friend. Look at the silver lining. Being hated and being criticized mean that you are worth talking about.
Think about it … Would you talk about a piece of ordinary lump of coal? Or would you rather talk about The Blue Hope Diamond — one of the world’s most famous diamonds, with a terrible history of cursing its owners?
Once you start having a following of spectators, critics, and haters, it proves that you are doing something worthwhile. You’re making an impact somewhere. You’re no longer a piece of boring ol’ coal. You’re a diamond, baby!
In addition, they will reveal your character. Are you willing to follow conviction and do what is right by you? Or will you succumb to peer pressure and give up who you are, just to appease a bunch of jealous cowards?
Those who give up are not true gladiators. They will never become great men. They are easily weeded out from achieving success.
Those who are willing to fight, even in the face of staunch opposition, have what it takes to become great. They will have their victory. They will have power. They will be “loved.” (Because everyone loves a victor.)
Are you strong enough and determined enough to be a gladiator? Will you take all the glory?