Lately, I’ve been receiving some negative feedback from the “weaklings of the world” – the keyboard warriors as I affectionately refer to them as. Let me say this first – I’m not asking for reassurance from anyone – I feel confident enough in what I’m doing that I don’t need that.
The reason I want to share this with you is because I know there’s a lot of men out there who let the masses get to them. There seems to be so much negativity lately and, as amazing as social media is, it’s given every Tom, Dick, and Harry a platform to voice their opinion – some of them legitimate and others, well, not.
And to make matters worse, it’s very easy for certain people to hide behind the mask social media provides. In all reality, the people who put you down for doing great things aren’t upset that you’re doing great things – they’re upset they’re not doing great things.
What’s even more fascinating to me is that the naysayers – the men who criticize but aren’t willing to do anything great in their own lives – have been around since the dawn of man.
You probably know by now that I’m a huge fan of Teddy Roosevelt. In fact, I’ve read some of his writings in previous episodes of our Friday Field Notes. I wanted to read something else he’s talked about at length.
It’s titled The Man in the Arena and it’s an expert from his speech, Citizenship in a Republic, given in Paris, France in 1910:
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.— Theodore Roosevelt
Of course, I couldn’t have said it any better myself which is why I defer to Teddy on this one.
So, let me give you a little insight here for a minute. As I look back at those who criticize the work I’m doing with Order of Man, and the noble and great work you’re doing in your life, it would be difficult, if not impossible to find someone who is successful who is also someone who criticizes. I wonder why that is.
Could it be that the most successful people on the planet don’t have time to put everyone down because they’re so focused on doing good in their own part of this universe?
Look, I’ve disagreed with people. I don’t always see eye to eye with what others are doing. But, that’s where my concern with it ends. Every single person is entitled to their own opinion. If I run across something I don’t like, I move on. I don’t have time to play games and put others down.
So, I’m going to challenge you a little here. I want you to be honest with yourself. Can you honestly say that when you see others have success, you are genuinely happy for them?
I know I haven’t always been that way. If anything, I was envious of their success. But, what I’ve come to realize is that when other people have success, it lights and clears the path for me to be successful as well.
Only losers fixate on the negative and, of course, the cycle continues. Winners are too busy winning.
Alright, so let’s talk about this. Let’s talk about some ways you can deal with those you would criticize, and mock, and ridicule – the “haters” if you will (which is a term I don’t really like).
First and foremost, you can reduce a lot of the negative noise by the strength of your conviction. Those that have conviction about a belief or cause don’t hear the noise. It’s not that it’s not there. In fact, if anything, it’s louder. It’s that those who are fixated on doing their thing literally do not hear what the naysayers are actually saying.
I have a lot of people ask me about negativity or people who have stopped being my friend because of the way I’ve chose to live my life. Frankly, I don’t know. I’m not focused on them.
Which leads me to my next point – focus. Where is your focus?
If you’re focused on the negativity and the hate, it will become more apparent that it’s there. But if, instead, you choose to focus on positivity and those people who have your back and want you to succeed, you’ll drown out a lot of the negativity.
Now, you’re invariably going to run into it, especially when you make a stand for something. Another one of my favorites is Winston Churchill. He says, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.— Winston Churchill
So, if you feel like you have to engage with the hate, I’ve made a couple rules for myself that might help.
First, I have a one-response maximum. If someone says something stupid or ignorant, I allow myself the chance to respond to them ONCE. That’s it. Regardless of what they say back, I refuse to get drawn into an argument. And, you can’t have an argument without at least two people.
Second, I lighten the mood. Either I’ll say something smartass back to them or make a joke of whatever it is they’re talking about. Surprisingly, I’ve caught a lot of people of guard with this and have turned what would be a hater or someone who wants to criticize into a fan.
Third, don’t respond immediately. I’ve found that if I respond quickly to negativity, I say something dumb or make it worse. I try to give myself time. I’ve found that, if I give it some time, I usually get too distracted with whatever else I’m doing that I don’t give the hate another thought.
The bottom line is this: you’re going to make enemies in your life. You’re going to have people mock, ridicule you, and spew hate your way. It’s a sign that you’re making a stand. It’s a sign that you’re doing something right. But, unless, those same people are the people who are going to pay my bills, live my life, and ensure that I’m a success in life, I don’t give much credibility to the takers of the world. I’d rather spend my time with the givers – those that provide energy not take it, those that believe in the cause I’m fighting for, and those that want to take they journey with me.
Remember guys, you are the man in the arena and, unless anyone else is willing to step into the ring and fight alongside you, they’re not worth the energy it would take to argue with them.
Be the man in the arena, don’t sit the sidelines, don’t engage in unproductive and trivial arguments, and, above all, become the man you were meant to be.