Sam Kuhnert Keynote Speaker

Your Greatest Critic


Sam Kuhnert

Every morning begins the same way….I wake up to my phone’s alarm blaring through my speakers. Eventually the sound is enough to coax me from my bed. As I make my way down the stairs still half asleep I am clueless at what’s to come. I have no idea that today I’ll face the one person that is hardest to impress. Today, I’ll face the one person whose opinion can either bolster me up or tear me down. Today, I’ll either be living or getting by based off this one person’s perception of me. Today…. I’ll face…. my greatest critic.

Now what people don’t realize is that all of us face our greatest critic every day. Some of you might be thinking to yourself my greatest critic is my boss, a kid at school, a coach, a teacher, a friend an opponent or even a family member……. But if that’s who you think your greatest critic is then you would be wrong….

Our greatest critic is someone we face every day. I mean that literally- we look them in the face EVERY SINGLE DAY. Sometimes we look at them with a smile, sometimes with a frown, sometimes with anger and sometimes with pain. They have seen us at our highest of highs and our lowest of lows, sometimes we even flex on ‘em and even make funny faces but still we face them.

Now don’t get me wrong the world is full of critics….people who point out what makes us different or imperfect rather than what makes us great. People who have had their perceptions molded from what is seen in magazines, on the web, and tv. We have let our minds become corrupted in wanting to be what the world wants us to be rather than to be what we want us to be. We have let our opinion of ourselves be based on the perception of perfection from others. There will be many critics in your life but only one that can truly have a hand in both your RISE and YOUR fall.


If you haven’t figured it out yet and your wondering why I’m standing here in front of the mirror- its because I am currently looking at my greatest critic. Get it? You are YOUR greatest critic. You are the one who ultimately determines what path you’re going to take. That’s right, YOU.

Now let me tell you- facing your greatest critic is never easy, especially when you have dreams and aspirations that the outside world believes you are incapable of achieving.  As a child growing up missing a hand, I was told by people that didn’t know my will,  my heart, or my faith, that I couldn’t do more than I was already doing at whatever level in sport I happened to be in. Those doubters never believed I’d ever make it to the next level.  I won’t lie and tell you that the perceptions of others never affected me… they did. Giving the doubters power over my perception of myself was my weakness, not my nub. In overcoming my weakness, I chose to make my perception of my abilities much stronger.

Every day I told myself that I could do it. Whatever the “it” was at the time.  As a kid, it was “I CAN play baseball at the next level and I WILL prove all who doubt me wrong.” As I grew up and became more passionate about chasing my dreams, my mind would begin making up excuses for why that would never happen. To battle that and live a life with no regrets, the life I was intended to live, I had to look myself in the eye and accept that this is me.  I had to believe that the only person that could place a limit on what I was capable of achieving- was me. Now you might be thinking that’s all fine and dandy, Sam, but that’s not me. I’m not confident in either my mind or my body. I am unable to block out the perceptions of others as you have. My response to that is YES YOU CAN! But like with anything worth achieving, it’s going to take work and discipline to retrain your attitude and establish a confident view of yourself.

It is human nature for us to reshape who we are in order to thrive.   Now that doesn’t always mean reshape the way we are physically…  We often tend to modify or reconstruct our mindset to go along with the masses, popular opinions and trends that are considered by society to be “normal”, “perfect” or able …. Before we can change the conversation on why those perceptions are often wrong, we must first change the conversation with ourselves.

Will this be easy?… No… But with training you too can block out the perceptions that your mind has tailored to accept. Begin to take control of your destiny and critics by looking yourself in the mirror every day and say “I am me. This is who I am. I am created perfectly. I WILL achieve my dreams. The only one who can stop me is ME!”  You are capable of thriving in instead of just surviving. Now, go put on your best smile and remember, “Everyone has a million excuses for why they can’t but it’s the great ones that use none of them!” Now, go to work and get out there and own who you are and you’ll NEVER BE AFRAID to FACE… YOUR… GREATEST… CRITIC.


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