They Only Affect You As Much As You Let Them

Anyone who has done anything consequential—whether good, bad, ugly, or worse—has been criticized. Sometimes for things they deserved to be and sometimes not. Everyone from Mother Teresa to Winston Churchill has had to face, and face down, opposition in the public, the press, and even among the people closest to them. They’ve had their names dragged through the mud, their motives questioned, their methods scrutinized.

And yet, all of these people found ways through the noise. They found ways to manage their reactions and responses, to discipline themselves to continue to press on.

We talk about thick skin. Marcus Aurelius called it “tranquility.” It was, as he put it, “The tranquility that comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do. Only what you do.”

That’s what we can control: what you do. You can’t control what they think, say, criticize you for, call you out on, or look down on.

So if you take heat today—deservedly or not—just remember it doesn’t matter what they say (you choose whether you care about that or not). It only matters what you do.

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