Babe Ruth once said, “The loudest boos come from the cheapest seats!” The Bambino, one of baseball’s greatest players, understood a few things about handling criticism in your life.
First, you can count on criticism, especially if you have any position that puts you out in front of people. Simply because you are “on the field” and “in the game” in any capacity opens your life to critique. So, count on criticism.
Second, know where the criticism comes from. Those in a similar position as you, or who have a ringside seat, will view your life much differently than those in the “cheap seats!” People close to you don’t criticize as much as offering encouragement, cheering you on when you need it, and have a relational, accountable connection with you that affords them the privilege of speaking into your life. These people will never boo and what they say really does matter.
Third, those with the least invested in your life will boo the loudest. They don’t know you personally, therefore their perspective is based primarily on selfish motives. Be it jealousy, or envy, or missing their moment of opportunity to get in “the game”, or any number of other tainted reasons, they’re experiencing life from the “cheap seats” for a reason. Don’t let their boos beat you down to the level of “cheapness”- where everything and everyone’s life is cheapened by inferiority complexes.
Finally, use criticism constructively. Because there will always be criticism, regardless of where it comes from, there’s always an opportunity to grow from it. Those in the “cheap seats” will boo and beat on you, but use it to motivate you to continue to become better at who you are and what you do. The worst thing you can do, like some professional sport’s players have done, is to let the boos get to you, then jump into the cheap seats and start a fight- again, this just cheapens your life. Saying, “I’ll show you” or “I’ll prove that I’m a better person than that” isn’t a wrong motivation to have. Turn the boos around and use them to make your life, leadership, whatever it may be, better!
The loudest boos may come from the cheapest seats, but the loudest cheers will come from those who’ve paid the price to have a front row view and perspective of your life.