How to Stop Caring About Haters and Critics

Would you like to hear how I found a flawless immunization that helps me from beating myself up after receiving negative comments or feedback from haters and critics?

Consider this to be your lucky day…

…Why? Because today, I’m going to share with you the thought process that allows me to keep creating, keep shipping and keep building even in the face of critique, hatred and negativity.

WARNING: These thoughts aren’t the standard fluff that tells you how great you are and how horrible haters are. These thoughts are built on research, practice and failure.

Let’s get to it.

When I grew up, haters had to hate in real life, face-to-face, without hiding behind a computer or alias.

Technology has changed all this.

The internet and all the wonderful things about it, like online forums, blogs, social media and websites have given haters the perfect platform to talk smack without any consequence to their actions or ever facing the recipient.

I’ve been publishing my ideas and thoughts online for 7+ years now and have had my fair share of run-ins with haters and critics.

Sure, it can be a blow to the ego and definitely hard to swallow at times.

But for the most part, I’ve learned to separate the hate from the critics.

The reality is, haters gonna hate.

No matter what.

I use my haters for motivation. I use my critics to learn new things.

Just because the world is filled with opposing opinions, s*it talkers and haters, that doesn’t mean you should find a rock to hide under. You can’t let haters and critics kill your momentum or slow down your ability to execute.

Before you lose any more sleep over the haters and critics, consider my approach – ignore them.

Behind every genius is a handful of haters

The Mona Lisa, a famous portrait painted by Leonardo da Vinci, has been acclaimed as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world.”

Leonardo took his painting from Italy to France when he moved there in 1516. After his death, the painting remained in France and eventually found its home at the Louvre museum.

Since then, da Vinci’s work has been admired by millions but not without its fair share of haters and critics. In fact, the painting’s fame has increased immensely since it was first stolen in 1911. Since then, people have lobbied to have the museum burned down, it’s was damaged when one critic threw acid on it in 1956, and again that year when a vandal threw a rock at it.

The Mona Lisa is now protected by bulletproof glass, but that hasn’t stopped the haters from hating. One angry woman covered the glass with red paint. Another threw a mug at it.

Regardless of the harsh response the painting has received over the years, it remains the best known, the most visited, most written about and most sung about work of art of all time. The Mona Lisa’s fame and beauty strengthens over the years and the haters are easily forgotten.

The lesson here is that no matter how brilliant your work can be, no matter how many people admire and respect it, there will always be a few haters who go out of their way to destroy it, defame it or criticise it.

Consider the likes of Martin Luther King Jr, Hilary Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg, Albert Einstein, Sheryl Sandberg, Lebron James, and Michael Jackson just to name a few.

Each one of these people is not only widely admired and respected but also widely criticized and hated on.

What can learn from their success?

Ignore the haters.

A hater’s voice might be loud, but it is small when you’re doing big things.

Silence the vocal minority

Man Silence - Shh

In the last 12 months, my content has been seen by more than millions of people. More than 93,676 people viewed my content directly on this site, thousands have viewed my presentations on Slideshare and thousands have viewed the content we’ve created for Hustle & Grind.

Of those people, about 99% consumed the content and moved on. About 5-10% of people consumed the content and then downloaded my e-book or signed up for my newsletter. (BTW – thanks so much!) But only about 1% of people left a negative remark or sent me an angry email.

I look at this from a positive perspective.

The majority of my readers are happy with the work, they just aren’t always motivated to leave a comment.

And that’s okay.

Because at the end of the day, if I make 100 people happy and 10 people mad, I’m doing alright.

We tend to live in our own bubble, taking other people’s criticisms and judgements to heart too easily.

Roy F. Baumeister and Ellen Bratslavsky, professors of social psychology at Florida State University co-authored a journal in 2011 where they studied why negative feedback sticks, while positive feedback is often forgotten.

“Bad emotions, bad parents and bad feedback have more impact than good ones. Bad impressions and bad stereotypes are quicker to form and more resistant to disconfirmation than good ones.”

The study found that our brains deal with negative feedback with an entirely different hemisphere in the brain. The study further found that people were “more upset about losing $50 than you are happy about gaining $50.”

This is why it’s so important to practice gratitude.

A follow up piece from the New York Times highlighted that simply knowing how the brain operates can assist in our ability to respond positively to critics.

Understand The Scale In Which You’re Being Critiqued

With more than 7 billion people on Earth and more than 3 billion global internet users, you’re bound to run head first into an internet troll now and again.

What I’ve learned is that in order to be a creator I must accept the fact that not everyone is going to like what I do or agree with my ideas. And I also learned that most critics deliver their feedback in a respectful way. (BTW – thanks, I appreciate it!)

If people come to your site to harass you, ban them. If people come to your site to add value, listen to them. It might not be easy to read someone telling you why they disagree with your theory, approach or thoughts but it’s through these tough conversations that we can grow and improve.

Every minute you spend stressing over one hater is a minute you could spend wowing your customers. That being said, every time you get one hater, celebrate! For every one hater there are 10 fans. And the fans are the ones worth spending your time on.

How do you respond to your haters? Do you ignore them or respond to them? I’d love to hear some of your experiences! Leave a comment below, but please, be nice about it 😉

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