It was in the final stages of the campaigns leading to the election of a new President of the United States of America. Each of the two leading contenders (whom we shall call A and B) trying to put his best foot forward to impress the highly sophisticated but often impressionable American electorate. The campaign of candidate A was characterized by the churning out of heavily damaging information calculated to do substantial damage to the person of his opponent. With each new day came out a barrage of denigrating information about the other candidate’s persona. Not once did candidate A actually address the issue of his proposed agenda for the American people. A similar scenario played out during the period leading to the last presidential elections in Nigeria. Candidate B on the other hand, never once answered back. Neither did he make desperate attempts to defend himself. Instead, each time he mounted the soapbox, he would first extol the virtues of his
opponent. Thereafter, he would go into details about his own program for the American people. Painstakingly, he analyzed the challenges before the American people and went into great detail about how he intended to go about solving them. Everywhere he went, even those who did not like him or support his party were not left in any doubt about his agenda quite unlike his opponent who spent most of his campaign time picking holes in candidate B’s clearly articulated programs.
Unable to understand the wisdom behind candidate B’s equanimity and magnanimity to his opponent, a journalist who had been privileged to cover the campaigns of both candidates asked this rare breed of gentlemanly politics how he found it easy to be so effortlessly magnanimous in the face of such stiff and unsparing opposition.
His answer cut straight to the chase. “When I was growing up as a little boy, a man kept a huge and unruly dog on the street where I lived. Nothing unusual you might say; except for the fact that every time the moon came out, the dog would start barking until it barked itself hoarse. But funny enough, the moon did not seem to notice and so did not in any way respond to the dog. Instead, what did the moon do? It simply kept on shining!”
The journalist probed further on the import of that story to the current experience. Prompt came the answer, “Whatever anyone else may do, I have simply decided that as it happened in the story I just told you that if the dog could make barking its primary occupation, the moon also has a responsibility to find its place by shining. For this campaign, I have decided to be like the moon! I do not wish to give anyone the luxury of making me hate him” Who ended up winning the election? You guessed right!
What is the wisdom of this story? You cannot rise to the top by pulling other people down. Remember that while pulling people down, you have to go as low as you want them to be. Obviously, it is better to be the moon than be the dog. Even when you have a grouse with people, focus on the issues at hand rather than the person
Ever heard of “crabology”? It is the philosophy of the crab. Put a crab in a basket and in no time, it would climb out of the basket. Add a few more crabs however and you have a guarantee that none of them would successfully get out of the basket. Why? Each time one attempts to climb out, the others would tug at it until it is safely back in the basket! In this case the focus is on others not making it rather than on everyone making it together.
Those who habitually belittle other people deserve pity, not attention. Those who belittle others will themselves be little: Running others down is nothing other than a defence mechanism that only helps little minds to avoid confronting themselves with their own dysfunctionalities and inadequacies of character. According to the holy scriptures, to the pure mind, all things are pure. For that reason, make up your mind to be like the moon. Even people who fail in the pursuit of something are of greater value than those whose only preoccupation is to criticize them. The last time I checked, monuments are named after contributors to the common good, not destructive critics. Critics know what others ought to do but only achievers actually do them. As a matter of fact, critics are the fuel of the achiever’s passion.
Everyone in the leader’s universe, even those who hate his guts, is important to his outcomes. Therefore, great leaders learn to celebrate people, not denigrate them.
If you are the one being denigrated, not to worry. In fact, rejoice, especially when you know that there is no justifiable basis for such denigration. Those who needlessly run you down almost always admire something about you that they desire but don’t have and do not possess the humility to seek. For all you know, it could that your present reality is the embodiment of the future that they are still dreaming about.
Instead of wasting precious time reacting to every needless criticism, simply adopt the attitude of the moon. While the dog is barking, keep shining!
Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!