faced with all this negativity, i remember the fable of the frog. who ran a race blind and hobbling on one leg. her fellow frogs were croaking and taunting her throughout the race because of her condition. but nonetheless, she went on and finished the long hard race. over mountains, raggedy cliffs, turbulent rivers, scorching sun and hapless rains (wow, the race took days really!). she may have finished last but finish nonetheless she did. and those at the finish line wondered how she was able to persist with all that raucous croaking, meant to disable her spirit. it turned out that the hobbling blind frog was not only blind and hobbling, but also...deaf.
as much as we meant to listen with our ears, so too must we learn to discern good from bad advice, raucous cry from encouragement. and should the croaking drown the good words, the best way out of defeat, out of succumbing to low self-esteem is to shut out one's ears from the rabble.
serena and venus williams did not reach the heights of tennis by succumbing to racial slurs while they play. rafael nadal could play and win in any surface because he did not mind the crowd. billy mills won the Olympic gold in the 10000-m run in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics despite biases to his native American-ness.
focus is achieved, sometimes, not just by looking ahead but by blocking noise from the outside world. being deaf has merits in that long hard climb to fulfilling our dreams.