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The Heckler

This morning as I was looking for a theme to write about  I came across this very interesting post by Seth Godin titled, The Heckler.

The Heckler is a unique despicable breed of human who's primary role is to disrupt, discourage, one from pursuing something good.  The Heckler in not relegated to interrupting comedy routines, sporting events, and press conferences. The Heckler is everywhere. The heckler is on TV, on radio, in your friends, family, church, co workers, and spouse. The heckler is a genius at masquerading as an angel of light. If not careful one can fall prey to the allure of the heckler and live a half life.  In the spiritual life the grand heckler of all is the devil.

One of my favorite images of a heckler takes place in a Seinfeld episode.  In the episode a disgruntled woman interrupts Jerry's comedy act.  The heckling is so bad that it causes Jerry to forget his lines, ruining his comedy act. Desperate and upset Kramer comes up with the ingenious idea of heckling the lady at her work.  In a classic game of comedic revenge Jerry does so and is so successful that the woman ends up getting sick and quitting her job.   In both cases heckling derailed the good that they were doing.

Godin, in his article speaks about an entirely different type of heckling that goes on inside one's head.  (To read my previous post titled, Kill The Lizard click here.) This type of heckling is more pernicious since it attempts to rob the person of the opportunity of doing something good.  Heckling viewed from this lens is the unrelenting barrage of negative self chatter, that engulfs a person's mind.  So unrelenting are these voices that one can easily become consumed by them.

How many times have you been dissuaded by the heckler in your life?  How many times have you allowed the heckler to dissuade you from pursuing your dreams?  How many times have you allowed the heckler to stop you from charting a new path? from standing up for the truth? from confronting evil when necessary?  How many times have you allowed the Heckler to persuade you not to change, but to stay the same?

If you are like me you probably answered yes to most of the questions.  Don't worry if you did. The great news is that one can defeat the heckler and I love Godin's response as he writes,

"But there is a strategy that works. Acknowledge and move on. When the heckler announces that you're incompetent, unqualified or hardly ready to step forward, think, "oh." And then proceed.You give it no purchase. No opportunity to escalate. Each jibe is met with "noted."Over time, the heckler gets quieter, because it just isn't worth the effort."


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