What will they say?

They say that no man is an island. If we say that we want to do something other people with the gift of seeing the possible pitfalls and who think something about us will try and warn us of the problems ahead.

The power of criticism

According to Napoleon Hill, one of most people’s greatest fears is that they will be criticised. They become uncomfortable or even depressed by it. He says such fear can rob them of their initiative, destroys their power of imagination, limits their individuality, takes away their self-reliance and does damage in many other ways. The opposite of criticism is praise which builds people up rather than tearing them down.

When Marconi said that he had discovered a principle that would make it possible to communicate without wires or direct contact his friends became so concerned for him that they had him examined for signs of mental illness. He later became well-known for his role in developing wireless communication.

Learning is valuable but are we learning the right thing

That may be an extreme reaction but many people have faced the problem of the reaction of others to their ideas. When we are young and have a lot to learn this is understandable. After all a child needs to learn that they could get burnt if they put their hand in the wrong place such as on top of the cooker. They have to learn to trust that adults know more than them, and are trying to protect them.

The problem is that not all of us make the transition to being a competent adult who can see a good idea when we are presented with one. We are told that the problem is that we cannot accept that something will not work because it is only youthful enthusiasm or some other character weakness.

Some of us become so deflated by this that we struggle to make progress towards our good idea. Sadly, sometimes this can become a cycle where one person says I couldn’t do this therefore, you will not be able to do it. The desire of the person doing the deflating can be to protect others from making the same mistakes that they did. It is their fear that is creating a barrier for us.

Sometimes what we are taught by others can become a limitation.

They can teach us that we need to do this and that we cannot do that. Sometimes we are taught the wrong thing and other times we learn the wrong thing even though others try and teach us the right thing. That is why responsible teachers say that we should go back to the primary sources that they base their teaching on such as the Bible or other original historical documents.

Some people accept the boundaries that come from old teaching and do not test them so when a new idea appears they struggle to accept it. In other situations, the facts may stay the same but the way that they are interpreted changes. Some people struggle with this.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. However, what some people find hard is that other people do not hold the same opinions as they do. They see anyone who does not agree with them as wrong and therefore struggle to accept them.

Do we know what the whole truth is?

Some of us have had experiences that suggest that we need to be careful of what is actually true. The problem is what appears to be true depends on the way that we see things. There are some people who have a history of mental health problems whose way of interpreting the world around them is not currently or has not been the same as other people.

There are people who have a history of mental health issues who have been told that they are delusional because they want to do something that in other circumstances would be quite rational and normal. The people who are supposed to be helping them could not see that they really could do what they said they were going to do and so considered it as a delusion. Except that it the person concerned actually did achieve that goal.

The well-known story of the blind men and the elephant is one that is often used to express the idea of how different people can understand things. The story goes that a group of blind men were asked to feel and then describe an elephant. One found large flapping ears, another a flexible trunk, another the strong sturdy legs, another the small tail with the hairs at the end and the last one felt the side of the animal. Each of them gave their report of what an elephant was like as you can imagine their reports were quite different despite the fact that they had all felt and described the same animal.

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