Who’s laughing now?
Lewis the Lion had a problem.
He was a young lion who was no longer a cub, but didn’t yet have the skills to hunt for himself.
With the assistance of his pride, he tried to get better at hunting, but would either make too much noise, move too soon or just wasn’t quick or strong enough to bring down and subdue his prey.
Whilst that alone was frustrating, to add insult to injury, the hyenas took great delight in Lewis’ failings as a predator and laughed raucously whenever the young lion let another zebra escape.
Lewis tried to roar at them, but he was only able to manage a loud squeak, giving the hyenas more reason to mock him.
“Just ignore them,” the older lions would say.
“How can I? Every time I start to stalk another antelope, I can hear their voices in my head before I even have a chance to mess up,” Lewis responded.
Lewis was tempted to stop trying and talked about his doubts with his mother, Lizzie, who was an outstanding hunter.
Lizzie looked at her son and said, “We’ve all been there. There was a time when I couldn’t catch anything and the hyenas would laugh at me incessantly. This is what I learned. If you give up, their mocking has worked and the hyenas have won. But if you keep trying and learning, you’ll eventually become a great hunter and the hyenas will have nothing to laugh at.“
Lewis nodded his head and agreed to keep trying.
The weeks and months passed, and Lewis became an accomplished predator.
He had a fine, flowing mane by now and had progressed from an awkward adolescent to a magnificent beast. As he wandered through the Savannah he noticed the group of hyenas (called a cackle) who had laughed at his earlier failed hunting attempts.
He charged at the cackle and caught one of the hyenas, knocking him to the ground and standing over him.
“Please don’t hurt me,” pleaded the hyena.
“I’m not going to hurt you, I just have a message for you and every other critic. Your laughter didn’t stop me, it only spurred me on and now that I’m the master hunter, I just wanted to let you and your pathetic friends know that you’ll be living off my leftovers from now on.”
He let the quivering hyena go and let loose a roar that echoed for miles.
If you have critics in your life, don’t let them win by giving up and hiding from the glare of public opinion.
Keep working on your craft, developing your skills to become world-class in your field.
There an old saying that, “There has never been a statue erected to honour a critic.”
The reality is that the critics never do anything remarkable themselves, but live off the leftovers that the predators leave behind.