Last night, on April 25th, 2018, we got to see greatness being great.
In Game 5 versus the Pacers, the score tied at 95-95, Lebron James pulled a step-left and sunk a three-pointer at the buzzer to win the game.
It was nuts. I watched the highlights again and again, amazed and genuinely entertained by such a freak of nature delivering such an incredible moment for the rest of us to gawk at.
And then I made a huge mistake: I went on social media.
Along with all of the people whose minds were appropriately blown, I saw stuff like this:
People couldn't help themselves. It wasn't enough to just say, "Wow," or "That was a great game." No, they needed to remind everyone that Lebron racking up 44 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, carrying the team on his back, blocking what could have been a game-winning shot by Oladipo, and sinking a three with no time left wasn't good enough.
On my Facebook feed, I saw someone post, "Still not impressed."
That's always the story with Lebron, though.
It's not enough that he's won three championships or three Finals MVPs or four league MVPs or two gold medals.
“Yeah, but he’s still not better than Jordan.”
There’s always a “Yeah, but…”
It doesn’t matter what good he does, what example he sets, what advocacy he pushes, how much money he raises. Yeah, but he’s still the guy who rubbed everyone the wrong way in 2010 with The Decision.
For thousands of people (Tens of thousands? Hundreds of thousands? More?), Lebron James will just never be good enough. And they'll make sure to remind him of that, even if it's seconds after he wins a game that will be played on highlight reels for decades.
I know this: if Lebron James will never be good enough, neither will I. And neither will you.
No matter what you do, no matter how much you accomplish, no matter how much money you make, no matter how successful you become, no matter how much you grow or care or love, there will always be some people to remind you that you're still not good enough. Or talented enough. Or fit enough. Or productive enough. Or Christian enough. Or rich enough. Or American enough. Or woke enough (or you're too woke).
Some of these people will just refuse to acknowledge any of your success or the good that you're doing.
Some people will question your motives and whisper some made-up narrative to explain why you're doing what you're doing. She's doing this for attention. He sold out. She only cares about herself.
A lot of times, it's not what people will do directly, but the comparisons that you'll make when you look at everyone else on social media. You could be doing great work, but it's not as awesome as that artist or photographer or realtor that keeps popping up in your Instagram feed with their 7 million followers and photos touched up by witchcraft (a.k.a. Photoshop, but still).
There will always be something, there will always be someone to rain on your parade and devalue what you're doing. If people can eternally find reasons to devalue Lebron, people will do the same to you.
So do what Lebron does:
Keep being great. Keep doing great work. Keep pushing yourself.
Not for the naysayers. Do it for you. Do it for your loved ones. Do it, and don't stop.
The people who matter, the people who are the recipients and the beneficiaries of you doing great work, will be grateful you kept it up. They'll be playing your highlight reel decades from now—minds blown, jaws dropped, hearts full.
Everyone else? Will they talk, will they criticize, will they try devalue what you’re doing?
Yeah, but…They’ll be tiny specks in the rearview mirror, voices drowned out by the cheers from the rest of us.