To a certain extent, I feel like I’m in therapy or at an AA meeting about to admit one of my biggest weaknesses but here it goes: I like a lot of Keanu Reeves’ movies. It really shouldn’t be that embarrassing because the man’s movies have made millions (maybe billions) over the years. Unfortunately he gets a bad rap because he’s pretty goofy and doesn’t have a lot of range. The interesting thing is that for the most part, this anti-Keanu sentiment comes from people who have never acted before and have paid to see his movies. So is it really that he is THAT bad? Or do people simply have a need to pick apart a mediocre swan because it’s easier than looking in the water to see an ugly duckling reflected back?
While wading through all of the photos, videos, memes, tweets and posts, it is possible that some of us get a little judgmental. It’s easy to forget when looking at a screen that the people on the other side are human. They have hopes, fears, idiosyncrasies, habits and faults. These are all things that we expect from the people that we are close to. However when looking at people on social media or especially people in the spotlight, all understanding goes out the window. The best of the best need to be as close to infallible as possible. If they fall anywhere short of that standard, then we of the judging majority can swoop in to point out their shortcoming.
But it is not the critic who counts*. The internet has given each of us a voice. That voice should be used to make your own special contribution to the world. Not to tear down that of another. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena*. So take that chance to put your own stamp on the world. Don’t worry about the haters because even Keanu has got them. Would you rather be the worst of the best or the best of the worst? Put another way. Would you rather have produced something that wasn’t great? Or never produced anything but gotten really good at calling out other people’s failures? One’s easy and one’s hard but the decision should be obvious.
Go make something happen. Let someone else do the criticizing.
*Lines from Teddy Roosevelt’s speech at the Sorbonne.