“You can’t be an important and life-changing presence to some people without also being a joke and an embarrassment to others.” -Mark Manson
There’s a guy I follow on Medium. His name is Benjamin Hardy. I like his stuff, a lot. In the past year, his writing and principles have helped me make some enormous paradigm shifts in my life.
Not everyone agrees with me.
Benjamin Hardy Must Be Stopped, writes one blogger about Hardy’s superficial, mindless self-help jargon is actually poisonous to real growth. Hundreds of likes.
Why Blocking Benjamin Hardy Will Improve Your Life, writes another about Hardy’s insidious plot to trick his readers into giving him money. Hundreds more likes.
The comments are even worse.
An Inspiration to Some
You can’t be an inspiration to some while not being a joke to others.
A sneaky little truth we keep forgetting as a society is that what works for some people doesn’t work for others.
And that’s OK. Some people need a slow, encouraging, methodical process for changing their bad habits. Others just need a slap in the face to accomplish the same result.
Both are good methods, because they both accomplish the same result:
Progress. Healing. Rebirth. Growth.
Claiming that “this is the right way” or “that is the wrong way” in terms of personal development and expressing yourself is incorrect.
Of course, this problem has been around since the dawn of time — people thought Beethoven sucked, that Aristotle was a pompous idiot, that Galileo was a witch. People think Trump is an asshole and Hillary is a crook. That Gordon Ramsay is a douchebag, or even that Nicolas Cage is a brilliant actor.
The truth? Yes and no. Some people agree. Others don’t.
But to you, being yourself and wholly and completely as possible…
Some people will love it. But there will probably be people who think it’s the stupidest thing they’ve ever seen.
That’s OK — your work is just not for them. Their opinion is just that — an opinion. One person’s take. Unfortunately, many people believe that negative opinion is more than just their take — it’s “right.”
And more unfortunately, the receivers of the criticism tend to agree.
Make Stuff For Your Fans, Not Your Critics
Instead of trying to get to a point where everyone likes you, just forget it. The most amazing, iconic, influential people of our time had harsh critics.
The point isn’t to make stuff everyone likes; it’s to make stuff a few people really like.
That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Bloggers and writers in particular struggle with this all the time. At least, I do. “How can I make sure I don’t set myself up for any trolls or hater comments??” you frantically wonder, commonly subconsciously.
“How can I make a product everyone will like?”
When I first began to receive negative feedback for my content, that’s all I focused on. “Be less this. Be more that.” I was getting smacked in the face, and then asking the slapper how I could do better.
Sounds like an abusive relationship, huh?
Don’t ask your haters for advice. It’s their opinion, and all their displeasure means is that your work is not for them, in this time. That’s fine. Focus on producing authentic work that your fans appreciate.
Trying to Please Everyone Pleases No One
When I first started blogging, I was sensitive, fragile, and scared. What I wrote something someone told me was stupid? What if I accidentally write some controversial claim that gets people mad and lash out at me?
I still remember one of the first mean comments I ever got on a blog post. I can remember almost verbatim:
“This is the worst article I’ve ever read.”
I was hurt for months. I was sad, angry, hurt. They got to me. From then on, my goal was:
How can I make sure that never happens again?
But that’s another sneaky truth: you can’t be an inspiration to some without being a joke to others.
That’s just how it works. Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and the Pope all had people who hated them so much, they actively tried to kill them. Did that stop them from spreading their message?
No. Because their message was wholly theirs.
People are attracted to honest, genuine, authentic voices. Sure, some people will disagree — but that’s their opinion. Remember: what works for some doesn’t work for others.
Fortunately, most of our products and work doesn’t warrant death threats or anthrax wedged between the cable and gas bills. But it will garner criticism, derision, maybe even hate.
And that’s OK. That’s just how it works.
Keep producing content that is wholly yours.
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