Our Commonalities

Throughout my journey of transformation as a teenager, I got to a point where I looked back and reflected on how I used to respond to critics. From a young age we’ve been criticised immensely and we reacted to those criticisms as being judged.

It has been said that critics can either break you or make you. I know it’s hard to resist criticism but in the process of feeling sad, there’s still an opportunity for us to learn from it.

Let me give you a glimpse about a man who experienced criticism since the inception of his career as Arsenal coach, Arsene Wenger. He coached Arsenal for almost a decade. During the time when he was announcing his resignation as their manager, he was interviewed and this is what he said.

“It was quite a long commune and I’m glad that I got a chance to announce my resignation. My journey as a coach was surrounded by criticism and today I celebrate my persistence and good character that I held throughout the pain of criticism. Today, I’ve achieved a lot as a coach and that was all a reflection of my patience throughout the valley of my struggle. I reflected with positivity to the criticism that was thrown at me as a coach. I kept myself positive throughout my journey,”

Critics are a necessity for success; it’s how you respond to them that counts.

As teenagers, we need to understand that criticism is inevitable and we should always anticipate it at all times. We are criticised in all areas of our lives; at school, home and church and everywhere we go. We have to change our mind-set about criticism and see it as an eye-opener for our success.

Many successful people in the world have encountered the same situation that you are facing right now. But the truth is they did not play the victim of circumstance, they used those criticisms as a stepping stone to their success and that’s what makes them successful.

I used to write my role model’s name at the back of my t-shirt and at that time I had a strong belief that one day I’d be like him. But the truth is I was so fixated on what would bring pleasure to me; the money, big house and many cars, but I never thought about the input that ultimately made this a success.

This is exactly how many teenagers perceive successful people/their role models. They only focus on the final product, which is what brings pleasure and satisfaction, and that makes them believe that it’s a walk in the park.

We emulate for various reasons but I’ve always been curious to understand why we enjoy some people’s success instead of their work behind the scene. There are two reasons why we have to emulate: for personal feeling or for transforming our lives. But when it comes to successful people it’s not about bringing fascination to the heart, it’s about getting your body ready for the work that leads to success.

What brings pleasure to most teenagers is how rich people are, how they dress, their materialistic possessions, fame and beauty. But that’s not what should motivate you. What should motivate you is their struggles, the pain, the suffering, rejection and their persistence.

Let’s suggest you emulate Beyoncé and you wanna be like her. She’s famous, she’s beautiful, successful, dresses well, and is one of the most successful singers of our time. But for that to come into place, take a step back and look at her behind the scenes. She was once criticised that she cannot sing, she does not have that deep voice but with that she never belittled herself.

She knew exactly what she wanted to be and today she’s exactly what she wanted to be. She did not allow people’s criticism about her to stop her from becoming what she was destined to become. She persevered, believed in herself and kept running after her dream.

As teenagers, we should not be motivated by other people’s success but what they did when nobody was watching. Once we emulate for pleasure we become addicted to receiving things on a silver platter.

Tony Robins once said: “I’ve come to believe that all my past failures and frustrations were actually laying the foundation for the understanding that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.”


Tell us: Who is your role model and what are you imitating from them?