I started my blog out of the belief I could help people. I was young, and thought I knew everything. (Funny thing is it wasn’t until I turned 26 that I actually knew everything, but you couldn’t have expected me to know that at the time.) So I started a shitty little website with a shitty little name where I put shitty little workouts online.
A lot of people didn’t like them – surprise, surprise. My lifting technique was awkward to the point of me appearing sexually frustrated and my programming didn’t make sense at all. So I was called out on it. At first I was arrogant and defensive and this got me nowhere. I argued with people. I said hateful things. Because they said hateful things! And so my “blog” was a smearing of vitriol, a series of staggering, arguments with other hot-heated people like myself.
But then I got a comment from someone I admired, and still admire – someone who had no business ever looking at my site – and he said, “Look, Pat. I can see you have a lot of ideas. And I have some ideas about those ideas. Can you call me?”
So I called him and we talked and he offered his ideas, which were about my ideas, and for once in my life, I listened. Partly because I admired him, and partly because of how he spoke – lovingly, as if me and him were on the same side.
I have come to learn a lot about criticism, like how not all of it comes along lovingly or when you want it to. A lot of criticism comes in hard and mean, and is totally unexpected, like a sucker punch. And that’s exactly what it feels like.
When you’re young you have all these bright ideas. You think you are so novel and inventive and handsome. But as you age you start to see all this stuff has already been figured out by people a lot smarter than you. That took me a while to realize. It took me even longer to accept and appreciate.
But then you learn you can add to it, find new ways to bring it to people’s attention or make it more practical or interesting. Take any of my programs – fasting, kettlebells, fasting & kettlebells, kettlebells & fasting, etc. I didn’t make any of this up. At one point, I probably thought I did. But come on.
I just know how to make it more practical and interesting.
So I started taking criticism, stopped worrying about being a “pioneer” at age 17, and began brushing up on my technique. By 19 I had a respectable blog. Not well read, but it was coming along. I was going somewhere. And I was no longer a hothead. (I was still a hothead.)
So the two biggest mistakes I ever made were…
- Being more interested in furthering my world view than helping people.
- Being afraid of criticism.
And the two biggest fixes I made were…
- Being more interested in helping people than furthering my world view
- Being receptive to criticism.
PS – You don’t have to use all criticism and shouldn’t. But if you find yourself posturing, angry and ready to attack or defend… relax a moment. Think about it. Take a few deep breathes. Count to ten. Consider why this or that person is criticizing you. Is it from a place of love? If so, listen. If not, listen anyway. Consider what they say. And then, if you still don’t like it, you can throw it away.