“The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time.” – Henry Ford

Do you ever have people in your life that no matter what you do, it’s never good enough?  These are people that no matter what your accomplishments are, they always find some flaws and they’re quick to point them out. I call them “negative farmers”. There is this story by Joel Osteen, a pastor I watch on t.v. and the story goes something like this:

There are these two farmers and one day, one of the farmers invited his buddy to show him something remarkable about his new dog. He invited him to go goose hunting at a lake. When they get to the lake, the farmer shoots a goose and commands his dog to retrieve the duck which had landed on the water. The dog starts to run on the water towards the goose and brings it back to the farmer. The farmer excitedly asks his buddy what he thinks. His buddy shakes his head and says “Just what I thought,  that dog can’t even swim.”

Fortunately, I’ve only had a few negative farmers in my life,  but it used to bother me a lot when I heard criticisms about me.  I have to admit, it still bothers me from time to time, but no to the extent they used to. I used to spend my time and energy trying to prove myself to them but not matter what I did, I wasn’t good enough. I even felt like I had to get their approval to move on. It’s funny how I used to take to heart that one criticism I received and disregard the praises when I accomplished something. One of the important things I have learned (and still learning) during my career was to learn how to ignore these criticisms, distractions and stay focused towards my goals.

I found out about the death of a former co-worker today and it’s a sobering reminder of how fickle life can be. He was relatively young. It’s a reminder that life’s too short not to focus on what matters in life – my family, friends, doing the right things, helping others succeed and working on life’s goals. Forget the naysayers, the critics. Ignore them as they’ll only distract you from your goals.