One of my favourite writers, Paulo Coelho, tells the story of a novice who went to Abbot Macarius seeking advice about the best way to please the Lord.

“Go to the cemetery and insult the dead.” said Macarius.

The brother did as he was told. The following day, he returned to Macarius.

“Did they respond?” asked the abbot.

The novice said, “No, they didn’t.”

“Then go to them and praise them.”

The novice obeyed. That same afternoon, he returned to the abbot, who again wished to know whether the dead had responded.

“No.” said the novice.

“In order to please the Lord, behave as they do,” said Macarius.  “Pay no heed to the insults of men, nor to their praise; in this way, you shall forge your own path.”

I love this reminder to pay less attention to the opinions of others.  I know that when I spend my days worrying about those who would criticise me or feel compelled to please others, the quality of my work suffers.

But when I follow my calling and focus on the work, I’m more inclined to take risks and be truer to myself.

So, remember the wise words of Macarius and “pay no heed to the insults of men, nor to their praise.”

I got this story from Darren’s blog “Better life coaching”

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