I recall a scene from when I was much younger, when our apartment was being renovated. Several labourers were involved in the painting, cementing, chipping, tiling, piping and other related activities. One chap in particular, would come late every single day. The supervisor who was overseeing this renovation project, took him to task once and asked him to be on time, as the rest of the work was being held up unnecessarily. I remember as the labourer merely smiled and listened patiently. Later the supervisor told me, all these workers are similar and smart – they just smile and stay silent. No frustration. No anger. No excuses.
Keep in mind, this worker was probably illiterate, and must have had all kinds of problems going on his personal life. Not that his professional life was much to speak of – as the daily wages in India can barely sustain hand to mouth existence. Even so, he had somehow learned to handle criticism beautifully. I’m thinking of the number of times I’ve been pulled up by my teachers or employers or even family members over the years – and can’t think of an instance when I managed to smile and listen patiently through criticism.
For most people, taking feedback or handling criticism is a very difficult process. This is especially true for the ones that are materially more successful, and that too early on in life. A daily wage earner is likely getting a verbal bashing every few hours (if not minutes) of each day – mostly from those barking orders at him. Those who have gone through tough childhoods and tough upbringings, are likely to be tough in their adulthood as well. They understand that life often does not work the way they want it to.
For those of us that have still not forgotten our boss’ or teachers’ or friends’ reprimands or criticisms, often from many years ago, we must toughen up, and let go. Surely those people have forgotten what they said. But these incidents remain imprinted in our memories, as if forever.
One way to let go, is to diversify. Have many activities, many friends, many mentors, many skills, many hobbies. It would be very difficult to annoy/destroy all of these at once. When the mind has many things to keep it busy, it will automatically stop dwelling on select instances from the past, and be less self-focused.