Once upon a time, a kid in Sunday School accidentally spilled milk on the floor. What unfolded was a lesson about naysayers.

The kid was in obvious shock with all the eyes of his peers and adults gazing at him.

The pastor’s wife then came to his rescue, comforted him and told him that everything’s going to be alright.

She then got him to grab some towels or tissues to absorb the splil and clean up the mess. She got some of the other kids to help out as well.

And then she said something which I’ll never forget.

“Those who are not helping, don’t stand and stare. Either you help or go somewhere else.”

That was really an effective statement because there were so many kids who surrounded the spill like vultures encircling their relenting prey.

Some kids were just curious to see what’s going on and what’s unfolding bit by bit. Other kids laughed and pointed fingers at the “perpetrator”. And some even got in the way of those who were actually trying to help clean up the mess.

“People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” – George Bernard Shaw

How many times did you feel like the kid who made the mess? Maybe you have screwed up and made a blunder? Or maybe you have thought of a wonderful idea and you are trying to work it out?

And then you have the other “kids” standing by the sidelines hurling criticisms at you, saying how it cannot work, mocking you, laughing at you, being skeptical about you.

Doesn’t feel too good right?

While we might not be able to control what others do to us, we can control how we deal with others.

Which was why I resolved a long time ago to give others the benefit of the doubt and to offer optimism and a listening ear to those who are working on an idea, starting an initiative or coming up with a plan – no matter how crazy it sounds.

If you’re the kid who made the spill, keep going. Don’t let the skeptics and naysayers stop you. Go prove them wrong. And focus your energy on what matters – everything else is noise and distraction.

If you’re the other kids, offer help and be constructive. Lend a hand, give encouragement, believe in the dreamer. And don’t get in his way because he might be on to something great…

…if you don’t have anything to offer and are tempting to doubt, whine, critique and complain in a non-constructive manner, you should just shut the heck up. Keep quiet and find something else to do.

It’s way better to help light candles than to curse at the dark.

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