As an ex-bodybuilder, I’ve faced a lot of adversity from the public eye. I cannot begin to tell you how many times friends and random people alike have accused me of taking steroids. I never really thought much of it, and assumed it just to be the public’s perception of a bodybuilder. However as I have gotten older and begun sharing my knowledge with the world, I’ve now started hearing that some people think I am “smartass”, and that my opinions are flawed. This really got me thinking about why I I faced criticism whenever I tried to push forward, every step of the way.
The other night, when I was laying in bed, all of these negative words began swirling around my mind. “Nerd”, “jock”, “juicehead”, and “smartass”, just to name a few. I then began thinking about how the people who face the most criticism are generally those who are most successful. Presidents, CEO’s, legendary athletes all fall under the harsh criticism of the majority below them. Even Steve Jobs was criticized by everyone around him for investing a lot of his time and money into a little digital animation company that no one knew about. Everyone told him he was just wasting his time and that he was going to wind up broke even though he recognized the potential in Apple. That little animation company is called Pixar. Had Steve listened to all of his “haters” movies like Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Finding Nemo would have never existed. Imagine a childhood without Toy Story!
Why is this? Why are those who are naturally gifted or successful often the most criticized? The answer is simple: society has created ways to ostracize those who are successful in order to make the average person feel better. When you call someone a “nerd”, you are merely making fun of them because they’re smarter than you. It’s simply a defense mechanism to hide one’s insecurities.
I constantly face criticism from peers for working too hard or hitting the weights too much. “Why do you spend so much time at work…Why won’t you just eat that cake stop being a robot…You’re just hurting yourself by spending all that time in the gym.” No, you’re just hurting yourself by sitting your ass on the couch and bothering me about my life.
When I was a younger and people to called me a “juicehead”, it would bother me. As I have grown though, I’ve realized that that is the best compliment I can receive about my physique. Someone is looking at themselves, then looking at me, and rationalizing why I am in better shape than they are. I guarantee their thought process went something like this: “Yeah he’s jacked and all but I would be just as big as him if I took steroids too. He must be on steroids it doesn’t make sense any other way”. What they fail to realize is that I have never taken a steroid in my life, and that I worked my ass off to get to where I am today. Instead of rationalizing someone else’s success, get off your ass and work. Now I’m not trying to seem self righteous but after years of receiving this pointless criticism from people who do not even attempt to be in shape it is just the conclusion I have come to.
The next time you’re criticized for working too much, reading a book, crushing weights, or just living a successful lifestyle, thank that person for the reverse compliment. All they are really saying is “I wish I could be as good as you”.