Let’s face it folks, there are always going to be people who don’t like what we do, what we are, who we are (insert whatever you would like here). The bottom line is that no matter what we do, what we are or who we are, someone is going to have an opinion that differs from ours. The real challenge here is not ‘what are we going to do about that’ but rather ‘how we react to that.’
One of my favorite moments in time that explains this so succinctly is this little story about Madonna. Now love her or hate her, she has a certain style and in my opinion the lady can sing. For those of you who don’t know the story of Madonna, she arrived in New York (I think) penniless, homeless and friendless. Her bags were stolen on the first night that she was in town but this little woman never gave up on her dream. She did what she had to do to get by whilst edging ever forward towards her goal. One of those ‘things that she did’ was posing nude for Playboy (or one of those magazines).
Several years later, just as she was ‘discovered’ and suddenly the whole world was in awe of Madonna, little girls wanted to be her or be just like her, the headlines hit the newspaper “Madonna poses naked!” Good grief! Shock! Horror! Everyone that I knew was asking “I wonder how she is going to explain this away?” We were all waiting, giggling nervously. Would this be the end for this icon?
To be quite honest, I almost wet myself laughing the next day when the newspaper headlines said “Madonna says ‘So What’!” That was the end of the discussion as far as she was concerned. You see Madonna didn’t care if people put labels on her, she knew what she wanted, she focused on it and she went for it. I have no doubt that there are possibly things that she has done that she has regretted – but I doubt that that is one of them. Either way, the only person that will lose any sleep over what she has or hasn’t done – is Madonna herself. We don’t have the right.
This brings me to a poem that I believe was found in one of the Reader’s Digest magazines. It goes:
“People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered . . . Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives . . . do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will make false friends and true enemies . . . succeed anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable . . . be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest of people with the smallest of minds . . . think big anyway.
People favour underdogs but only follow the top dogs . . . Fight for some underdogs anyway.
What you spent years building may be destroyed overnight . . . build anyway.
Give the world the best you’ve got and you’ll get kicked in the teeth . . . Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.”
Listen to your heart, think with your mind, focus on what you want to achieve and be the best that you can be. That will always be enough.