Lions, monkeys, and ignoring your critics
“If size mattered, the elephant would be the king of the jungle.” – Rickson Gracie, Brazilian 8th degree Jiu-Jitsu black belt
Have you ever seen a lion run away from a monkey? Not gonna happen. Even if it’s a gorilla, the lion know they have the upper hand. 600 lb. of elephant-hunting attitude with teeth and claws are reason enough to crown the lion king of the jungle.
What’s the size of the dream in your heart? How convinced are you of what you were created and called to do? If God is for you, who can be against you? Nobody! For you to pursue the dream God’s laid out for you, you need to act like a lion. It’s the natural instinct of the lion to behave like they’re on a mission because of how they were created.
Pursuing big, scary, God-fashioned dreams takes guts. It also attracts critics: shrieking, cowardly monkeys who only get close enough to distract and annoy lions from the path you’re following. Monkeys throw poop at others and make a lot of noise when they feel threatened. If that reminds you of anyone in your life, congrats, you just found a monkey in your life.
I’ve listened to my fair share of monkeys in my life. In fact, I’ve had to push past more critics in the past two years than probably my entire life combined. I’ve wasted time caring about the opinions of people who have no real interest in enhancing my future, only criticizing my present. One of the healthiest decisions I’ve ever made is muting the monkeys in my life.
Your dreams are yours to follow, nobody else’s. They may not always make sense to others, even to you, but they’re still your dreams to pursue. Maybe it’s starting your own business as an entrepreneur. Maybe it’s changing careers. Maybe it’s going into ministry or starting a nonprofit where there are plenty of monkeys, even other staff. Whatever your dreams may be, they’ll draw out the monkeys in your life.
The people closest to you, other lions in your life, should be your spouse or significant other, best friend, mentor, other friends who will support your journey. They will walk with you as you pursue your dreams.
Other lions may challenge you along the way, but they do it in a way that’s face-to-face like a lion, not from the safe distance of the trees, like a monkey. If they think you’re headed in the wrong direction and truly care for you, they’ll risk the comfort and safety of future friendship to call you out in person. Only monkeys stay at a safe distance.
Don’t listen to the monkeys in your life. Critics are loud, obnoxious, and unwilling to take their own risks. Unless they’re willing to get out of the trees and onto the path you’re following, treat them like a distraction. They’ll tweet at you, post negative comments on social media, even send long, passive-aggressive emails stuffed with negative criticism but no offer to dialogue or wisdom ’cause that’s what monkeys do. Ignore. Delete. Block. Repeat. Works like a charm.
Keep walking the path God’s called you to follow. Your dreams demand a lion’s heart of courage. Don’t be distracted by your critics. Pay attention to those you know, like, and trust in your life to give you wisdom for the journey.
And know why you’re following the path ahead.