Monday, December 07, 2009

Make critics your most powerful resource

Because the article resonated very much with me after that round of very negative responses from the Internet, I shared an article from Tim Feriss with the people in my Facebook. You can find the link here :

http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2009/11/25/the-benefits-of-pissing-people-off/

The basic lesson from the article is that while pissing people off may not be the right thing to do. Doing the right thing will always piss some people off because you simply can't please everyone. It's very easy to attract jealousy and envy from family, friends and members of the public once you succeed in doing something remarkable. The author wants to encourage people to banish the fear of being criticized and exhorts the reader to succeed anyway.

Very rare in success literature is the story of the revenge entrepreneur. Revenge entrepreneurs succeed in overcoming ridiculous odds because of the cruel barbs from the people around them. A business man's success may be due to his father-in-law who always felt that he was not good enough for his daughter.

I want to consider extending this article to derive a set of principles which makes success even easier.

a) Do consider the merit of the critics claims.

As much as we'd hate to, some critics can get you to confront the weaknesses in your approach and can teach you some humility. Some valid forms of criticism can help you refine your strategies and approaches. In the field of finance, a good critic challenges your assumptions with counter-examples of stocks which failed and forces you to examine more variables before you buy and sell. A good feedback to show that you're not sufficiently diversified can be translated to thousand of dollars in investment returns.

b) For the critics who do not add value, give them what they deserve.

Once we're done with the objective feedback, we are left with the hordes of critics who just want to bring you down because it makes them feel good about themselves. For this class of critics, consider the very attractive pay-off of showing them that they are wrong. A lot of critics who are not objective enough have a lot of personal insecurities, I suspect many may think that your success is their failure.

Since these critics are probably out to hurt you, why not return them the favor ?

Hurting critics who do not provide objective feedback can be fun. No. It should be MADE FUN.

IMHO, a critic is hurt most by a builder's success. The more critics you have, the more you can prove wrong. You will need to construct a psychic pay-off that derives pleasure from proving your critics wrong. To motivate myself, sometimes I say,"Man ! I can imagine the look on their faces when they see this ! Oh they will be sooooo flabbagasted when they read about this..."

I think these two perspectives towards your critics will have the potential of generating a virtuous circle of success and prosperity for you. You succeed in a minor way, attracting a small pool of critics. By incorporating their feedback and developing a relentless passion to prove the rest wrong, you create the drive for your next success attracting even more powerful critics against your cause.

The only downside of this approach is that you might actually begin to enjoy pissing off your critics after waves and waves of success making you seem much like an unreasonable person. But I think at the end of the day, progress comes from the unreasonable man.

No, even better..,.

Progress comes from a builder who steps on the broken psyches and dreams of his most vicious critics.

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