“God, make me a man with thick skin and a soft heart. Make me a man who is tough and tender. Make me tough so I can handle life. Make me tender so I can love people. God, make me a man.” ―Darrin Patrick
Some people cannot accept unhealthy attacks and digest criticism because they are sensitive and tender at heart. But the world is meant for the people who are hard, tough, agile, adaptable, and resilient. The world is filled with complexity and cut-throat competition. People need to be thick-skinned to survive in this world.
Celebrities and authors are often under severe criticism but hardly care for it because they are used to it and know their true value. You cannot expect everyone to appreciate you and your work. There are always people who have every right to oppose and criticize you. Therefore, you must be thick-skinned.
Politicians often attack each other ruthlessly in public places but remain friends privately because it is a political game. There is no assurance that the ruling party will be in power forever. So, they are cautious with the opposition parties as tables can turn at any time in politics and democracy. If they sit in opposition in the next elections, they need the support of the ruling party to survive. So, there will be match-fixing between the ruling and the opposition parties.
Being tough doesn’t mean you must be harsh in your temperament and behavior. You must accept healthy criticism graciously and ignore unhealthy criticism. Don’t endeavor to become a people’s pleaser because you will stand nowhere. If you would love to be remembered, take a firm and bold stand on issues. Stand by your views and opinions despite stiff opposition. You will earn respect and be remembered in the long run.
How to Develop a Thick Skin?
When you want to build a thick skin, you must focus on your dreams, believe in your dreams, work hard to accomplish them. Manage the external and internal challenges during the process of your journey. It helps build tough muscles with a strong mind.
You cannot become a crack shot unless you lose some ammunition. Similarly, you cannot develop thick skin unless you undergo struggles and sufferings. Struggles and sufferings make humans humble and help them introspect life analytically and focus on what they really want. Thick skin develops from challenges. Most great leaders emerged from challenges because they explored ways and means to come out of the challenges. In this process, they unlocked their hidden potential which was not known to them. They developed thick-skin as a byproduct.
When you treat failures as lessons, you rethink your strategies and revise them to succeed. When you encounter challenges one after another and succeed in overcoming them you develop a thick skin. Experience, education, observation, reading, learning, training, and writing help people develop a thick skin. So, don’t avoid criticism. Welcome and counter it with your wisdom to stand taller in your communities.
Thick-skinned people are born like any other ordinary individual but are made tough by the external environment. In a nutshell, they are not born but made due to external challenges. They don’t waste their precious time and talents. They understand how to channel their precious energies constructively to add value to others. They are passionate about their goals. They are persistent, patient, and resilient by nature. Therefore, don’t get distracted by naysayers and negative people. Build positive energy. Convert your brickbats into bouquets. Channel your energies constructively and positively. You are not meant for pleasing the entire world.
Every Leader has Flaws
No leader is entirely good and entirely bad because every good leader has a few flaws in personality and every bad leader has a few strengths in personality. When you look at Mahatma Gandhi, he admitted his mistakes in his autobiography, ‘The Story Of My Experiments With Truth’. Although he is respected across the world, he had his own personality flaws. When you look at Adolph Hitler, he did a lot of damage to the world by starting World War II and persecuting Jews in concentration camps but he was a great orator and a charismatic leader. You must understand from these examples that you must not worry about personal attacks and criticism. When you want to excel as a great leader, you must build a thick-skin.
My Personal Life
“I have pretty thick skin, and I think if you’re going to be in this business if you’re going to be an actor or a writer, you better have a thick skin.” ―John Irving
I have undergone several struggles and sufferings since my childhood. I developed thick skin automatically. I served in the Indian Air Force and became a tough personality. However, after I joined the teaching profession, I became a soft personality internally due to my passion for teaching and love for students.
I encountered hardships and betrayals by my siblings and some rogue relatives. But I did not care for them despite receiving several brickbats including harsh criticism and personal attacks. I focused my energies and efforts on my creative writing and goals. I channeled my energies to share my knowledge freely with the world and I crafted a ‘Vision 2030: One Million Global Leaders’ to build one million students as global leaders. When an elephant walks the dog bark. Winston Churchill rightly remarked, “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” So, I never cared about naysayers and harsh critics because I have developed a thick skin and ignored some of them and forgave most of them. I focused on mindfulness and authored books on mindfulness. One of my books titled ‘See the Light in You’ is selling great globally. I am excited to share with you that I converted brickbats into bouquets and added value to my students and readers globally.
Life is very short and let us make it sweet. We have come to this world for a short duration. Therefore, let us make it pleasant for ourselves and the people around us. It helps us depart from this world without any regrets on the death-bed. To conclude, acquire these tools and techniques to become emotionally strong and have a thick skin to succeed in this competitive world.