Metropolitan Communty Church of Pueblo
PO Box 1918 Pueblo CO 81002
Rev John Mark Hild Pastor
Personal Growth
A Minsitry of hope, affirmation, inspiration and self worth  

Stepping Stones For Growth on Lifes Journey

Take time to develope the positive characteristics each week.
Come back next week for the next stepping stone.


Just as the rain feeds tiny plants, constructive criticism nurtures us and brings growth. But criticism that is harsh and untempered has a negative effect, making us feel less than competent or capable, unable to flourish and grow. Giving criticism in a kind spirit, the way you would hope to receive it, makes it meaningful without being destructive.

Characteristics: Restraint and Encouragement

Biblical Scripture: Matthew 7:12a “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you;”

Quote: “Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a person’s growth without destroying their roots.” Frank A. Clark 

Steps to Shower Kindness:

Give specifics. Instead of telling a partner, “You’re always late, and it’s so inconsiderate,” Point out one instance when being late caused problems. then offer ideas that might help them budget time better.

Balance criticism with praise. When telling your child to do a better job keeping their closet tidy, You might first point out how pleased you are with the way the rest of the room looks.



When a crisis occurs, we learn volumes about ourselves and others. It is easy to be cheerful and easygoing when life is running smoothly, after all. But when the going gets tough, the wheat and chaff are quickly separated. When that happens, it is up to you to demonstrate your true grit and show the world that stern stuff you are made of. 

Characteristics - Fortitude - Self-control

Biblical Scripture; Proverbs 25:28 Like a city breached, without walls,

    is one who lacks self-control.

Quote: “Character is not made in a crisis - it is only exhibited,” Robert Freeman

Steps to showing true grit: 

Think of a fiend who has always impressed you with a calm, rational manner of handling a crisis. Ask for pointers on how you can achieve that same mental and ethical excellence.

When a crisis occurs, remember that your character is on display. Whether you practice deep breathing or talk yourself into a calmer state, learn to call upon your own tools for staying strong.


Invest time in People

Sometimes the process of making new friends is slower that we would like. But think on one close friend you have now and all the years that have “ripened” your bond. Making a long-lasting friendship does not happen overnight; it takes time. Focus on and enjoy the process of fostering a new friendship, not on some instant connection. 

Characteristics - Patience - Staying Power 

Biblical Scripture: 1 John 3:17 How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?

Quote: “Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow-ripening fruit.” Aristotle

Steps to Investing time in People: 

Don’t give up on a friend who does not reciprocate as much as you would like. Everyone goes through busy periods. Keep in touch so that when the time is right, you can pick up right where you left off. 

Sometimes the people we least expect become our closest friends. Broaden your horizons by befriending people of all ages and backgrounds.


Never Assume 

When we make assumptions about the people we love, the stakes can be very high. Assumptions can result in misunderstandings and can quietly eat away at a relationship, undermining its very foundation. By learning to deal with the truth, you are being fairer to those you love as well as creating a healthier, stronger relationship.

Characteristics: - Inquisitiveness - Fairness

Biblical Scripture: James 1:19-20 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger;  for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness.

Quote; “Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” Henry Winkler

Steps to Never Assuming - 

Don’t make assumptions about your mate’s moods, behaviors or feelings. You may think they are quiet or withdrawn because they are tired for example. But maybe they are holding something back and needs to talk. Ask them.

By the same token, If you think you are being misunderstood due to false or inaccurate suppositions, speak up and set the record straight. 


 Reflect ALL the Colors

What quality do you most admire in others? Is it their sense of humor, their wisdom or their ability to stay calm in crisis? Whatever it is, the very act of admiring and appreciating that quality tends to foster a desire to nourish that very same quality within ourselves. By observing the goodness in others, you can absorb it for yourself. 

Characteristics: Focus - Mindfulness

Biblical Scripture: Ephesians 4:32-5:1 - and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children

Quotes: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” Voltaire

Steps to reflecting ALL the colors: 

Write down the names of 5-10 family members or friends. Next to each name, write down the quality you most admire about that person.

Now look at the qualities you listed. Are there traits you wish to emulate? Do you see that by spending time around that person and fully appreciating them, some of their good influence may rub off on you - and probably already has? 


Let go of Worry

It is often advisable to take problems into our own hands. But there are times when it makes more sense to surrender them to a higher power. If the problem is out of your control, or it is somehow “bigger” than you are, letting it go is not only wise, it will help to protect your peace of mind. 

Characteristics : Faith - Trust

Biblical Scripture: Philippians 4:6-7  Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus

Quote: “The most pleasant and useful persons are those who leave some of the problems of the universe for God to worry about.” Don Marquis

Steps to a Can-Do Spirit -

Ask yourself: “Is this problem within my control?” “Can I handle it?” If not, it is probably in your best interest to surrender your problems to a higher power by setting your intention and asking for support.

Speaking your intentions aloud will help to solidify the effort and put the process in motion. Then, Let Go, and let the universe handle the rest. 


 A Can-Do Spirit

No one is in touch with your abilities or determination better than you are. So it doesn’t make sense to allow others to tell you what you can and cannot do. When you aspire to do great things it pays to never tale no for an answer. Don’t be afraid to tackle something no one has ever achieved. You will just be first.

Characteristics : Persistence - Confidence - Strong Will

Biblical Scripture: Galatians 6:9 So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.

Quote: “Set your goals high and don’t let anyone tell you no.” Muriel Siebert

Steps to a Can-Do Spirit :

Filter out critics. If you believe in yourself, the opinions of others don’t matter. Don’t waste time listening to why you can’t do something. Surround yourself with “can-do” people, not naysayers.

Don’t aim too low or stop short of your goals. Greatness comes from reaching your goals, then going beyond what is comfortable or manageable.



Look Within: Anger, Frustration, fear, jealousy, and fatigue are just some of the factors that              create stress not only for us but the people closest to us. In order to curb stress, we first need   to find peace within ourselves. Learning to cope with stress can introduce harmony into
lives, enabling us to treat others with more kindness and compassion. 

Characteristics: Objectivity - Truth - Insight

Biblical Scripture : 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test!

Quote: “Inner peace and outer peace are synonymous in the sense that without one, the other wouldn’t happen” Yoko Ono

Steps to Looking Within: -
 Get it off your chest. Talking about your feelings with someone you can trust - A friend, loved one, Priest, Pastor, or Counselor - helps you to identify what is bugging you. That is the first step toward a more peaceful existence.

Do not blame anyone. this adds more stress because it hands over the key to your emotions to someone else. When
you hold the key, you can choose the happiness.  



Time to Kid Around

Time to Kid Around: Childhood is usually a fun-filled time of life. Still, as we look back, we may find there were things we wanted to do, but never did. The good news is that it is never too late! As an adult, you have the freedom to make choices in your life that increase your chances for happiness as you age. The time for a happy childhood starts today. 

Characteristics: Laughter, Perspective

Biblical Scriptural: Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the realm of God belongs.

Quote: “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood!” Anonymous

Steps to take time to kid around:
- Do the thing you missed out on a child. If you longed to play the drums (Or something else) , but your parents wouldn’t allow it (or couldn’t afford it) sign up for lessons. This way, you will never have to wonder “what if?” 

- turn your childhood negatives into positives. If you grew up in a very “serious” home, for example, make it your goal to fill your own home with laughter every day. 



Say Goodbye to Regret 

Say Goodbye to regret: Although we cannot change life’s difficult situations - such as separation or a loved one’s illness- we can change how we respond to them. When you feel the need to share your feelings or show how much you care, don’t put it off or show how much you care, don’t put it off or dismiss it. Stop what you are doing and act on it. The saddest words ever uttered are “if only.” 

Characteristics: grace, communication 

Biblical Scripture: Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the Sovereign God never ceases, God’s mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is God’s faithfulness. 

Quote: “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.”           Harriet Beecher Stowe 

Steps to saying goodbye to regret: 
  - Say the words you would want to hear. Call and tell a loved one how much they mean to you or share a funny story with a relative. 

- Reach out. Send a card or photo to an old friend to relative you’ve lost contact with over   the years. Even if you don’t rekindle the friendship, re-establishing the connection and sharing how you feel can be powerful.


Have a Good Heart

Having a good heart: 
Some people radiate goodness. their words, actions and deeds reflect the soul of someone who is truly decent and kind. Yet even the best of us can act mean- spirited at times. Rather than responding in kind, treating people who are behaving badly with understanding may diffuse a bad situation. 

Characteristics: Composure and Kindness

Biblical Scripture: Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Quote: "Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness, Thus goodness is attained."  Lao-tzu

To have a good heart: 
- Practice goodness. Instead of ignoring someone's grouchy behavior, ask if something's wrong and see how you might help. Being good-hearted has a way of bringing out the best in others.

- Restore the balance when someone feels cheated. Offering a spare coupon to a disgruntled shopper or letting someone in a hurry cut ahead of you in line could help that person feel valued.

Room for Improvement

Always Room for Improvement: Despite the many responsibilities we feel we have, our most
important responsibilty is to ourselves. No matter how many lives we touch, the biggest impact we can ever make is on the person we see in the mirror. Each of us is a continual work in progress. By constantly striving to better yourself, you will make the world around you a better place.

Characteristics: Self-Knowledge and Self-discipline

Biblical Scripture: Col 3:12-14 As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as God* has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony

"There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self."  Aldous Huxley

Steps to Home Improvement: 

-Practice "Home Improvement." Your self, body and spirit make up your "Home." Like a house, there's always something that needs fixing. Consider ways to improve your corner of the universe. 

- It's easy to get sidetracked thinking about what others need to do to change their lives. But the only person you can change is yourself. Concentrate energy where it does the most good.

Be An Optimist

Thoughts on being an optimist: Just as we can view a glass of water as either half full or half empty, we can choose to see the good things in life or focus only on the negatives. Joy is a choice. When it rains on your vacation do you have fun indoors, or do you complain about the weather? If you can learn to look on the bright side, you'll always find the flowers in life.

Characteristics: Smiles and a Positive Attitude

Biblical Scripture: Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Quote: "There are always flowers for those who want to see them." Henri Matisse

To be an optimist: 
- When you are feeling low, take a stroll in your garden, in the woods,  on the beach, or around the block. Remember that it is the rainy days that allow beautiful things to grow, and it is the storms at sea that wash up delicate shells on the shore. 

- Watch the sunrise. It is a powerful reminder that every day brings a new beginning. Recall this visual memory whenever you need a lift. 


Nourish and Grow

Nourish and Grow: Like any other living thing, love requires nourishment to survive and grow. And the longer the relationship, the more important it is that we don't take our loved ones for granted. We need to keep growing together so that we don't drift apart. To ensure that your love not only survives, but  thrives, make the effort to feed and water it well.

Characteristics: Energy and Spirit

Biblical Scripture: 2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen

Quote: "Love dies only when growth stops." Pearl S. Buck

To nourish and grow: 
- Instead of 
recoiling the same old subjects, introduce new topics of conversation now and then. this will keep your chats lively and stimulating, and will add a spark to the relationship.

-By living the fullest and richest life you can, you will not only keep yourself interesting, but you will add exciting new dimensions to your relationship

Enrich Your Spirit

Enrich your spirit: Remaining aloof and unfeeling is to wither away inside and become poor in spirit. True wealth comes from bonding with others and by being an active participant in life. Spending time and energy to help others results in the richness derived from being loved and from being loved and from loving others.  Enrich your life by spending all you can afford to give. 

Characteristics: Vitality, Enthusiasm, and Caring

Biblical Scripture: Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.

Quote: "Life begets life. Energy begets energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich."
Sarah Bernhardt

Enriching Your Spirit: 
- Be extravagant. Whether it is helping in a crisis or being there to celebrate a victory, giving of yourself and your time enriches both your life and that of others.

- Add to the group of people whose lives you touch on a regular basis. Kind words and good deeds create a ripple effect, continuing on in never-ending circles, touching lives of people you've yet to meet.


Honor the True You

Honor the true you: Have you ever felt like a chameleon, blending so well into your surroundings that you almost disappear? If we try too hard to be society's idea of a good worker, parent or friend, we can lose sight of who we really are. Each of us brings a unique gift into the world - ourselves. Listen to the voice of your spirit and your true spirit colors will light up the world.

Characteristics: Individuality and Authenticity

Biblical Scripture: 1 Peter 3:3-4 - Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing; rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight.

Quote: "People concern themselves with being normal, rather than natural." Robert Anthony

Honoring the True You:
- the next time you are tempted to say what someone else wants to hear, stop for a moment and think, "What do I really feel?" Then have the courage to say it instead.

- Question your choices. When you have a decision to make, first decide if you are honoring your authentic self. Follow your instincts and you are sure to move in the right direction


Celebrate differences

Celebrate your differences: No two individuals are exactly the same, not even twins. As you begin to focus on the attributes that make you unique, your are likely to discover a newfound appreciation for the differences in other people. this will give you a deeper understanding of the phrase "respect those around you."

Characteristics: Curiosity and Respect

Biblical Scripture : Acts 17:26 - 26 From one ancestor God made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live

Quote: As we grow as unique persons, we learn to respect the uniqueness of others." 

Celebrate our Differences: 
-Next time you are at work or a social gathering, look at the people around you. What is unique about them? then think of one positive attribute that makes YOU stand apart from others. It is most likely not the same trait. Good. the world would not be a very interesting place if we did not have variety.


Make Peace

Make Peace: Letting go of anger is the most caring thing we can do for ourselves. Holding on to grudges or hurt feelings prevents us from growing and learning more about who we are. When you open your hands and heart to the idea of forgiveness or acceptance, you can repair relationships with loved ones and become stronger in the process.

Characteristics: Forgiveness and Understanding

Biblical Scripture: Romans 14:19  Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Quote: "You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist." Indira Gandhi

Help making peace: 
- Give others the benefit of the doubt or a second chance. When doing so, you provide yourself with an opportunity to learn more about this person - and about your own self, too. 

- Agree to disagree. If you and a friend have opposing views on an issue, try to put it aside. Even if their opinions make you angry, understanding their right to have them can help you make peace.

Grab Onto Life: 

Grab onto life: Hesitation can protect us from danger, but it also can prevent us from living the life we truly want. Dismissing impulses or delaying our hearts' desire creates a life that is predictable and safe but not satisfying. We need to value, honor and cultivate a keen  enjoyment of life. When you start to say no to a new experience, take a chance- and go for it.

Characteristics: Spontaneity and Boldness

Biblical Scripture: Matthew 11:28 (Jesus said), ’Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

"Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told, "I'm with you kid. Let's go.'" Maya Angelou

Grabbing on to life: 
- Put doubts aside. Whether you dream of singing karaoke or swooshing down a ski slope for the first time, turn off the inner voice that says, "I'd love to but..." and just do it.

- Fly by the seat of your pants. Allocate one day a month to be spontaneous and impulsive. Resist taking care of chores first. Instead, let the thrill of living guide you in finding what excites

Keep Moving Forward

Keep Moving forward: Once we have achieved a certain "Station in life, it is tempting to sit bak and enjoy the ride. While we occasionally owe it to ourselves to do just that, the key word is "occasionally"." If you relax for too long, you may lose the spot you have worked so hard to get. to stay in the game, you need to keep moving forward.

Characteristics: Motivation and Movement

Biblical Scripture: Phil. 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

Quote: "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." Will Rogers

To keep moving forward: 
- Keep your skills up-to-date. Stay current by reading about new developments in your field, Taking classes and networking with others. If your skills become obsolete, so will you. 

-Set boas each year. Whether it's in your career or personal life (or both), creating new goals will
 keep you moving forward. Without a plan in place, it becomes too easy to tread water.


Hold Your Head High

Hold your head high: When we compare ourselves to others, sometimes we come up a little short. In the presence of people with better schooling, more money, or more refined manners, we have a tendency to look down on ourselves. But there is no reason to. Our unique package of talents, traits and ideas may be different than others - but no less valuable.

Characteristics: Self-worth and Sureness

Biblical Scripture: 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of God who called you out of darkness into the marvelous light.

Quote: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt

To hold your head high: 
- Count your blessings. At those times when you feel like you don't have enough, take an inventory. You will be amazed by all the goodness in your life. Be thankful for it.

- Know that we are all imperfectly perfect, and be pleased with yourself. The love in your heart and twinkle in your eye 
will outshine any blemish. 

Clear Life’s Clutter

Clear Life's Clutter: It is easy to fall into the trap of obtaining goods or over-scheduling our days with the thought that acquiring or doing more will make life better. Yet true peace comes if we shed the excess so there is more time for what really matters. When you strip away all the clutter and distractions from your life, you will find that simplicity has a fullness all its own.

Characteristics: Introspection, Wisdom , and Surrender

Biblical Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,

Quote: "It takes a long time to learn simplicity." Louis Malle

- Keep it simple. Pare down or reduce the clutter by holding a garage sale. Limit shopping trips by buying in bulk or curb impulse purchases by shopping on-line. Donate clothes you never wear to charity.

- Clear your calendar. Review your day planner or 
calendar and evaluate any activities that are making life too complicated. Reduce commitments to make time to appreciate simple pleasures you have been missing.

Get off the sidelines

Get off the sidelines: Fortune smiles on those who are right place at the right time. Yet, rising to the occasion, taking chances or pursuing prospects is more than just serendipity or pleasant surprise. We need to be off the sidelines and out on the dance floor to grab opportunity when it swings by. By taking conscious steps toward situations and people, you will be in position to make the right moves.

Characteristics: Willingness and Openness

Biblical Scripture: Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for God is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked

Quote: "Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor." H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Getting off the sidelines (opportunity dances)
- Get up on your feet - meet your neighbors, join local clubs, turn out for community potluck suppers, join a walk for charity. Getting involved can lead to opportunities, fortuitous meetings and unexpected breaks.

- Grab a partner and get out there. Having a supportive friend with you makes it easier to approach new situations; sharing opportunities enriches friendships.

Paths to the Heart

Paths to the heart: How do you build a bridge to another person? You begin by constructing a foundation of trust and then adding "support" columns. Think about what qualities can help build bridges: the words you use, a forgiving heart, a willingness to work so your bond thrives. What ways can you build bridges that will foster strong relationships?

Characteristics: Approachability and Dialogue

Biblical Scripture:  Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Quote: "When you build bridges you can keep crossing them."

Building paths to the heart: 
- Is there a relationship you have let fall by the wayside because it was sometimes too much work? If so, reconnect with the person and determine how you can build the bridge back to one another.

- Think about your best friend and the building blocks that have made your "friendship bridge" strong. See if you can use any of those experiences
 next time you start a new relationship.

Keep Improving

Keep Improving: We often take for granted our ability to get better at a something. But it doesn’t just happen on its own. If we are as capable of improving as we are of  deteriorating, then it is up to us to do all we can do to tip the scales toward betterment.     If you are willing to do the work, you can take full advantage of the power to improve.

Characteristics: Persistence, Hard Work

Biblical Scripture: Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Quote: “Humanity’s flaw is that we can deteriorate; but our virtue is that we can improve.” Hasidic Saying

Steps to Keep Improving:
Get  rid of or scratch “practice makes perfect” from your vocabulary. It is not true. Practice makes Improvements, but the process never ends. 

- Schedule specific practice time - and commit to it. Whether you’re learning to play an instrument, or sharpen your sports skills, maintaining a regular practice schedule is the best road to continued improvement.

Life Test Us

Remember Life test Us: Just as life showers us with riches, it also presents us with challenges and test us constantly. We must learn to accept the challenges, confront them as best we can and celebrate the blessings. As complicated as your life may be, there is always someone whose life makes yours look easy. Life can be difficult, but there’s no greater blessing. 

Characteristics: Gratitude, Resolve

Biblical Scripture: 1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.

Quote: “When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, “Compared to what?’” Sydney J. Harris

Steps to dealing with the fact Life Test Us: If you feel bogged down or mired in a “poor me” moment, step outside your own troubles and help some one else. It won’t make life easier, but you’ll feel useful and less alone.

- View tough times as a chance to prove yourself. Walking on crutches after breaking a leg or working on relationship problems is not easy, but facing challenges helps you restore self-esteem and get back to good times.


Take the Risk: If we want to get ahead in life, looking foolish may be a risk we have to take. If you are unwilling to  potentially fall down flat on your face, after all, you will never know what might have been. Sometimes, it is enough to simply be the one who is not afraid to look bad. Having such courage just might give you all the advantage you need.

You will need: Audaciousness


Scripture Verse: Ecclesiastes 11:4 & 6: Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the                                clouds will not reap. Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not                              be idle, for you do not know which will succeed,whether this or that, or whether both                                will do equally well.

Quote: “Show me a person who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a person you can beat every time.” By Lou Brock

Steps to take the risk: 

            Be willing to look foolish. Remember, those who are afraid of looking bad will automatically                     lose. By being a good sport, you might will by default.

           When attempting something new, others my tease you or say you are making a fool of                              yourself. By tuning them out or making light of their remarks, you will be able to stay on                          course.