Haters and Critics: How to Deal with People Judging You and Your Work

It doesn’t matter how you choose to live your life — whether you build a business or work a corporate job; have children or choose not to have children; travel the world or live in the same town all of your life; go to the gym 5 times a week or sit on the couch every night — whatever you do, someone will judge you for it.

For one reason or another, someone will find a reason to project their insecurities, their negativity, and their fears onto you and your life, and you’ll have to deal with it.

With that in mind, let’s talk about being judged and criticized. And just for fun, I’ll share some of the most hateful comments I’ve received on my articles. And more importantly, the strategies I use to deal with them.

Here’s what I’ve learned about dealing with the people who judge you, your work, and your goals.

The Biggest Critic in Your Life

It’s easier to complain about the outside critics, but the biggest critic in your life usually lives between your own two ears. Working up the courage to move past your own vulnerability and uncertainty is often the greatest challenge you’ll face on the way to achieving your goals.

When I started my first business, it wasn’t the criticism from outsiders that held me back. It was my own mind worrying that people would think I was a loser because I skipped getting a “real job” to “start some website.” I didn’t tell most of my friends about what I was doing for almost a year because I was so worried about what they would think about it.

When I started writing, it wasn’t the hurtful comments from readers that prevented me from getting started. It was my own fears about what they would think if I wrote about the things I cared about. I wrote my ideas in a private document for a year before I worked up the courage to start sharing them publicly.

Those are just two examples of the types of internal fears and criticism that so often prevent us from getting started on our goals. It can take a lifetime to learn that just because people criticize you doesn’t mean they really care about your choice to do something different. Usually, the haters simply criticize and move on. And that means that you can safely ignore them and continue doing your thing.

But that is easier said than done because we all like to be validated. Some people like it more than others, but everyone wants to be respected and appreciated to some degree. I certainly do. I know that whenever I choose to take a risk and share my work with the world, I wonder about what my friends will think, what my family will think, and how the people around me will see me because of that choice. Will this help my reputation? Will this hurt my reputation? Should I even be worrying about my reputation?

Especially with writing, these questions created an internal struggle for me.

On one hand, I believed in myself and I knew that I wanted to contribute something to the world around me. But on the other hand, I was scared that people wouldn’t approve of my work and would criticize me when I started sharing the things I cared about or believed.

I’ve written previously about the challenge of putting yourself out there by saying, “You can either be judged because you created something or ignored because you left your greatness inside of you.”

Eventually, I decided that it was more important to contribute something to the world than it was to protect myself from criticism.

The Truth About Criticism

The truth about criticism is that it’s almost always in your head.

Here’s an example from my personal experience…

In the last 9 months, my articles have been read by more than 1.2 million people (250,000+ on my site and over 1 million on other sites that publish my work).

Of those people, about 98% of people have read a particular article and moved on with their life. About 2% of people have read an article and decided to become part of our little community by joining my free newsletter. (Thank you! It’s great to have you here!) And about 0.000008% of people have decided to be a jerk and send me a negative comment or email.

Even though the vast majority of readers were positive or neutral about my work, the critics were still heard loud and clear.

Apparently, the tendency to hold onto negative criticism is natural for most people. According to Roy Baumeister and researchers at Florida State University, we remember negative emotions much more strongly and in more vivid detail.

In a research paper titled, “Bad Is Stronger Than Good”, Baumeister summarizes academic studies that prove that we are more likely to remember negative criticism than praise. Baumeister found that even happy people tend to remember more negative events than positive ones. In fact, Baumeister and his team say that it when it comes to your brain, it takes about five positive events to make up for one negative event.

I’ll talk about a strategy for getting over this in a moment. But first, I want to share some of the criticism I’ve received recently.

Pour Me a Glass of Haterade (My Most Hateful Comments)

Each month, there is usually someone who whines about how my articles are totally worthless. For example, one reader recently left a comment saying, “I should have known better than to waste time reading this.”

Another reader so eloquently wrote, “What’s interesting here is the author firmly believes that there are millions of dumb people in this world who believe in this crap.”

At least those people commented on the actual article. Hate mail gets even better when people start ignoring your work entirely and make judgements about you as a person instead.

Earlier this month, someone said that I was clearly “someone with a job with limited travel and without a busy lifestyle. Oh, to have no responsibilities…”

Another kind gentleman just got straight to the point and said, “This author is a waste of skin.”

All of this hate for someone who writes about building better habits, being healthy, and living an adventurous life. Could you imagine if I wrote about something that was actually controversial like politics or religion?

And that brings us to the main point: it doesn’t matter what you do, there will always be someone who finds fault in it. So how do you get over it and move forward anyway? Here’s one approach that might help…

Focus on the Road, Not the Wall

Many racing experts consider Mario Andretti to be the most successful and versatile racing driver of all-time. During his career, Andretti won the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Formula One World Championship and the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb. He is one of only two drivers in history to win races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship, and NASCAR.

During an interview with SUCCESS magazine, Andretti was asked for his number one tip for success in race car driving. He said, “Don’t look at the wall. Your car goes where your eyes go.”

When young drivers are starting to race, this is one of the most critical lessons that they learn. When you’re driving at 200mph you need to focus on the road in front of you. If you look at the wall, then you’ll end up hitting it.

The same could be said for your life, your work, and dealing with critics.

Criticism and negativity from other people is like a wall. And if you focus on it, then you’ll run right into it. You’ll get blocked by negative emotions, anger, and self-doubt. Your mind will go where your attention is focused. Criticism and negativity don’t prevent you from reaching the finish line, but they can certainly distract you from it.

However, if you focus on the road in front of you and on moving forward, then you can safely speed past the walls and barriers that are nearby.

This is my preferred approach to criticism. When someone dishes out a negative comment, use that as a signal to recommit to your work and to refocus on the road ahead of you. Some people are determined to take things personally and tear down the work of others. Your life is too short to worry about pleasing those people.

Focus on the road, not the wall.

How to Respond to Haters

Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice.
—Bob Goff

In rare circumstances, you may want to respond to the people who dish criticism your way. If that’s the case, then I think Gary Vaynerchuk provides a good example of how to do it.

When Vaynerchuk published his best-selling book Crush It, he received dozens of 1-star and 2-star reviews on Amazon. Negative reviewers claimed that the book was “absolutely awful” and called it a “piece of crap with no value whatsoever.”

And this was for a book that was a best-seller!

Rather than fight back and justify his work, Gary decided to respond to many of the negative reviews with a sincere apology. For example, a reader named Frank left a 1-star review for the book in which he complained, ”How did this book ever get published?”

Vaynerchuk responded to him by saying…

Frank I am so so sorry I under delivered for you, I hope to meet u and spend 15 minutes apologizing and answering any questions u may have, I guess I needed more details in there for u, I am so sorry.

Despite using grammar from a high school text message, Vaynerchuk ended up getting Frank’s number and called him to talk things over.

After their conversation, Frank wrote a followup comment on his book review saying, “If Amazon had a people ranking system, I’d have to give Gary 5 stars. One can not help being impressed by someone who gets back to you so quickly and handles criticism so graciously.”

If you’re going to respond to your critics, then getting a response like that should be your goal. Rather than beating the haters back with insults, win them back with sincerity. Most people don’t want to be convinced that your work is wonderful, they just want to know that you care.

Where to Go From Here

I’ve said this many times before, but it bears repeating: I don’t really have anything figured out. I’m not an expert and I don’t have all the answers. I’m still learning to deal with criticism like everyone else.

But in my limited experiences, here’s what I can summarize about dealing with haters.

  1. First and foremost, don’t be the hater. Don’t be the person who tears down someone else’s hard work. The world needs more people who contribute their gifts and share their work and ideas. Working up the courage to do that can be tough. Support the people who display that courage.
  2. If you’re dealing with criticism, then don’t let the wall keep you from seeing the road. Focus on the path ahead. Another way I heard it put recently, “Ignore the boos. They usually come from the cheap seats.”
  3. If you choose to respond to the haters, then surprise them with kindness. You might just win a new fan while you’re at it.
  4. Finally, and most importantly, make the choices that are right for you. People will criticize you either way.

224 Comments

  1. Very timely post. Just went over some really hateful comments that I saw on Reddit and sort of just ignored them. The old me would have went in there to defend my ego, but I instead let them slide.

    I’ll take the Gary Vee approach and see if there’s anything I can do. If there’s a negative response to sincerity then well, it’s not worth more energy.

    • Thanks for you positive contribution. I’m one of your followers and thanks to your advice I’m keeping my eye on the road ahead. I enjoy all you post keep up the good work.

      Della

    • James, your post had great meaning for me. I also am a writer and present (for free) at conferences. There is always that one person whose ego won’t allow them to acknowledge your contribution. I have learned to move past those folks by focusing on the overall responses, and the people for whom my work has made a positive difference. Don’t let that one naysayer rent space in your brain. Keep it up! Your work made a difference for me today.

    • Can’t wait to get your new post every week. So insightful and encouraging. Hope to meet you one day and say “thanks”. You have been a tremendous contributor to my success . God bless!

  2. I enjoy your writing and think that you are helpful. Please keep doing it! Lots of people would benefit from reading your work.

    Thanks,

    Bill Peterson

  3. A great piece. I’ll be keeping this tips in mind as I try to go forward with my own projects — indeed, the fear of judgement and criticism can feel hopelessly paralyzing. Thanks, James, for this and all your inspiring posts!

    • I really like what you said here, Andrea, and I plan on keeping these tips in mind as I move forward with different projects in my life as well! I have been trying too hard for too long to “follow the norm” in life for fear of failure, judgment and criticism if I veer off that path. Everyone is supposed to want the same cookie-cutter things in life, right?! Wrong! It’s refreshing and energizing to have the courage to do something different because I want to, not because I think I should! :)

      Thank you, Andrea, for your post! And ditto to you, James! I look forward to your email in my inbox every Monday and Thursday!

  4. I’m not a hater so I’ll leave a positive response …:-). The truth of the matter is this is a relevant article for most ppl to read because we all face this at one time or the other especially in our life pursuits. Thanks James!

  5. Thanks for the good piece of guidance. In fact, your blogs are interesting and informative. Regardless of other people negative criticism, keep moving towards your own goal. I am pretty sure you will become one of the bestseller’s author sone day in the future.

  6. I’ve been here before and I have to comment again – I read all the newsletter and I think they’re great. And that’s not just to say, you really do a good job here, summarizing many things we find hard to say – and even hard to think about. I specially liked the one about Seinfeld, I loved the one about difficulties.

    Keep up the good work,
    Fernando

  7. I loved this article, and boy did you publish it on the perfect day! I received (helpful) criticism on an article I published in the local paper from my teacher…in front of the whole class. Focus on the road, not on the wall. Got it. Thank you!

    -Katie

  8. Another great post!

    Isn’t a 2% conversion rate (from reading to subscribing) quite good, when it comes to blogs? For what it’s worth, I’ve subscribed to and continued reading far fewer than 2% of the blogs I’ve come across over the years.

  9. I like this advice. I was excited when my first hater showed up. Well, after I got over the disappointment, that is. It was the result of my view of the Law Of Attraction (complete BS).

    It was tough at first, but usually I think it means you’re doing something that matters. I’m surprised that you have haters, because your content is well-written and researched, but that just shows that this type of thing is often motivated by jealousy and attention rather than someone actually disliking your content.

    That said, one time a guy guest-posted on Copyblogger and I strongly disagreed with his article. I may have come across as a hater, but it was just that I really didn’t agree with him. We can’t expect everyone to agree.

  10. I’m a fan. Thanks for the newsletter. I especially liked this one for the comment “focus on the road not the wall”. So, true. I agree with several other parts of this message. To expand, I was told many years ago people that are not nice will eventually go away. This has been my experience as well. All I need to do is worry about how I feel about what I’m doing. Allot of what you write about I’ve heard before or even practiced myself, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t need a reminder or a boost of inspiration. Anyway, thank you. I’ll keep reading.

  11. James, this is a beautifully written article. And there is a lot of good, solid thought and guidance in here.

    Thank you for having the courage to create, and share your ideas. Keep on.
    Jen

  12. It’s funny; I thought I was the only person who has difficulty dealing with the haters. I really needed this article. Thank you, and please keep up the good work.

  13. Hey James,

    Sorry to hear about people leaving such caustic comments.

    Like the points about how we can deal with them.

    I was listening to an audio book by Robert Kiyosaki, where he says that what separates great people from the crowd is how much criticism they can take. He also talks about not being criticized being worse than being criticized, as it means that your work is being noticed. :)

    This is something I’ve come to realize, the masses (consumers) do not appreciate what it takes to create. Keep creating the fantastic value that you are with this blog, especially for fellow problem solvers who will continue to appreciate the value you add to our lives. :)

    Always remember, it’s easier to criticize than to create. :)

    Have a fantastic day.

    Ben.

  14. James

    Great read, it is best to ignore rude people and your right be nice to nasty people. Most of the time their nasty for reasons that have nothing to do with you.

    Be glad not to be a nasty person, what a reputation to have…nasty and mean.

    • Hey Morris,

      Your comment reminded me of a story that Zig Ziglar tells in his ‘See you at the Top’ seminar, that people’s negative reaction in most circumstances have nothing to do with anything you have particularly done.

      I came across a negative comment on a personal development article and realised that the person who commented was bitter and jealous, and didn’t want to take responsibility for his life and the direction it was heading, rather wanted to blame anyone in the way. :)

  15. James

    Have you heard about the old man, young boy, and the horse? Regarding the comments different groups people made these three travelers

  16. One of your best, and one that everyone should read! I’m about 90% there. I just have to get to where I can resist the temptation to fight nasty with nasty, and take your sound advice.

  17. Consider a person in rude demeanor with a beef about an issue “disgruntled”. Once his mode switches to ad hominem, then he becomes a “hater.” “Hater” these years no longer describes one who hates, because the word seems to have taken on a contemporary spin, almost urban (see Urban Dictionary’s definition). The wheels may start turning in my head as I ponder an honest response if one would accuse me of being racist, but I’ll stomp my foot in denial if asked do I hate anything. Hasn’t anyone else lived the last two decades without having to tolerate hearing the word hate? I feel “hater” is punctuation of anger. America is angry and can’t define why.

  18. James, I love reading your work. It motivates me. I love the mantra of “FOCUS ON THE ROAD, NOT THE WALL”. I wrote it down so I don’t forget it. Thank you for your articles and photos. I look forward to them each week.

  19. Hi James,

    Great article, you must have read my mind. I love that line about the boos coming from the cheap seats. I am going to pin that up on my computer for reference when I get spiteful reviews for my books.

    Regards,
    Margaret

  20. Good article James! Your courage to create provides strength & inspiration to all of us! Somebody wise wrote:”When the student is ready, the Teacher appears.” You have a lot of loyal, curious students who learn from what you write. Those who engage via insults & negativity are just that….not ready! Keep up your good work! Thank you.

  21. Happy Monday, James!

    If you can imagine that those that speak the loudest and most caustically, are only magnifying some teeny, tiny grain of self-criticism that you hold within you, you can be appreciative to them for bringing the light to it so that you can clarify you and be stronger, clearer, wiser and more appreciative of your own magnificence!

    You are doing what others only say they would like to do some time…

    Take each judgment as a compliment in the making. You deserve your following and believe it or no,t you are making a significant difference in the lives of your readers. Thanks so much!

    Joan Belle

  22. Great article, James! I tend to take negative comments personally, and they bug me to no end. Sure, if they are justified, I’ll take note and try to improve, however, some folks can be downright mean and I choose to ignore them. Life’s too short and I rather focus on the good stuff in life than letting the bad stuff bring me down. Thank you for sharing!

  23. Hi James,

    “First and foremost, don’t be the hater.”

    Loved this one. Thank you James. Great way to start my day :)

    Regards,
    Nandan Chandrashekar

  24. I have taken my share (and likely other people’s share) of email hate as a part of my day job. Years ago it would bug me much more than it does now. I see it as a necessary component of my work. No matter what move you are planning on making, some with support you, and some will not. Hopefully, those that do will let you know, and those that don’t will keep quiet, or use tact in their dissent. Smile and let your work stand for itself.

  25. Hi James. I haven’t made a single comment on your website so far. I signed up for your newsletter a couple of months ago and I just want to let you know that I love starting my day by reading your newsletters.

    I never cared to leave a comment because I thought you know you are doing a great job and you will continue doing a great job. But when I read your newsletter now, I realized that I am one of those who is more likely to write a negative comment when he doesn’t like something than write a positive one when he does like something.

    I am going to change that from now on.

  26. I’ve never left comments before on a blog or article as I viewed it as a waste of time, but it wouldn’t be fair to you if I didn’t do so now. Your work is simply awesome. I read constantly and your posts are in the top 3 that I actually look forward to reading. Your guidance and suggestions on creating daily habits has been especially helpful for me (going on 37 days of not breaking a streak – thank you!). I’ve started several companies and I’ll tell you that the next one will be even better after considering your suggestions. Now, you really should focus on giving all of us that aren’t in the cheap seats (as you say) a way to pay you for your quality content and unique clarity ;-)

  27. All too often, we let unhappy and idle minds pull us into their vicious and jealous attacks whether verbal or written, and it’s evident there is no justifiable reason for such. Many people look at positive/worthwhile achievements of others, and consider their shortcomings of not having achieved their dreams/goals. These type of personalities, because of frustration within themselves, will make moves to inflict pain in their own ways …and don’t forget about those egotistical personalities. We human beings have a duty to use our minds unselfishly, constructively and according to talents that we all have been given by the Power of this Universe. We have a responsibility to ourselves and others to make this world better; it would be wise to keep the “Fruits of the Spirit,” in mind as we encounter more discord in the earth.

    Thank you, James, for your timely and well-written article; it will be included among my other positive readings.

    Also, another thanks for sharing Gary Vaynerchuck’s reader’s negative review of his best seller,which turned into positive results due to how criticism was accepted.

  28. Great article.
    There are lots of haters out there of all descriptions. Some people even hate God for being right. Their is no help for them. Press on toward the goal.

  29. Great piece. Especially the bit about kindness towards haters.

    Reminded me of a line I read…

    “Any action is either an act of love or a call for love.”

    Way to go James.

  30. Never would have guessed that you had self doubt. I suffer from self doubt a fair bit myself even though I have success in my career and all evidence points to me doing a ‘great job’ — how much better could I be if I focus on the road? I’m going to give it a go ;) Thanks for sharing and putting yourself out there, really appreciate it and love reading your work.

  31. Great read, James, thank you! I so agree with you about how to handle critics! Love the idea of focusing on the wall and of not sowing more hate! Thank you, thank you!

  32. James, I want to thank you for your articles and for your work. Thank you!

    The little book about the habits really helped me to see things differently. There are so little things that can produce very big changes…Now I also have the dental floss near my toothbrush and I can definitely say that this made me use it more. :)) Also with the exercises (aerobic)…I stopped looking in the mirror for results and I just try to do them at least 2-3 a week. I look better and I feel better! Thank you for this!

    Anca

  33. Every major world religion teaches understanding and compassion even, or especially, for our our enemies. The haters are angry, bitter and cynical. It’s not about you; it’s about them venting their hate. They’ll pick any target they think might be weaker than they.

    I’ll never forget a wonderful post on Twitter a couple of years ago by a Muslima who was being attacked for various reasons online. She said, “Thank you, Allah, for these challenges. I am strong and can take it. In this way I am protecting someone who may be weaker than I.”

    Thank you, James, for your great writing.

  34. Thank you very much for putting your thoughts out on this subject in a concise and truthful way. It seems to be your trademark, an excellent one to be honest. These seemingly ‘common’ topics that you have been writing about are to be reckoned with. We, as flawed human beings sometimes fail to grasp life’s basic principles. It certainly has a pretty dramatic impact to most people if they are serious about adhering to these compact canons of better living. For haters, well, it could be because they mostly come from a know-it-all perspective and very easily offended by the slightest poke to their orbital intelligence, so to speak. Glad I found your work.

  35. Wonderful James :) Thanks for writing this :)

    I often wonder where this need to constantly judge stems from? Why can’t we just train ourselves to just let others be and more importantly let ourselves be!

  36. Haters only hate when you have something to offer that they are jealous about! I say, be proud of it! It’s hard, I struggle but trying to turn it into positive notes. Thanks James!

  37. Another GREAT read James, love committing the time to read these posts as these mails always give me some value and I often use the info in my day to day life, I’m still flossing! :) THANKS

  38. I think what you’re doing is great! For all those negative comments here’s a positive one — Keep it up and keep the articles coming. I really enjoy your writing :)

  39. Keep going as you have been, because you are putting out great work. I genuinely enjoy your posts and find them motivating much more often than not (motivating me is a terribly ungrateful job). Today’s post is timely to me because I just experienced my negative criticism of a presentation versus my colleagues’positive comments on the same performance. Again, very good work!

  40. Hi James,

    Your work has helped me stay motivated, clear the clutter and have the conversations with myself I used to avoid.

    I never took the time to thank you till now (assuming no one has time to write or read comments), thank you for choosing to make a difference, you work makes a difference and matters to us. Thank you and focus on the road.

  41. Hi James
    You may or may not have an idea of how this is insipiring….
    I always look forward to your next post…
    This in particular..just hits the nail on what I am going through right now
    being an African in the midst of European colleagues where some think
    nothing good can come from Africa..(read even expertise)..
    This article has lifted up my spirits…I choose not to be mediocre in my job…
    I cannot go proving myself to those booing from cheap seats…
    I do it for myself n my goals…
    You have just but made my day
    I am a Happy African Girl…:) thank you.

  42. The Lord has revealed to us that we are to love the Lord our God with our whole heart… love our neighbor as ourselves, and do not judge others. Pretty basic stuff…but oh so difficult at times!

  43. Hi, James. Thanks for your good work. This would be my first comment. I have subscribed your article since I met you on Quora in April this year, I can receive your article every several days. I didn’t finish reading everyone of them, but I read some.
    I would like to tell you that I like your words and sentences. Some them really encourage me a lot.I remembered that in one of your articles, you gave the advice of being a creator, encouraging people to write books or simply blogs to share stories and views with the world. Then I started to write my own blogs.
    I cared very much about what people would think of me years ago, but recently, I have realized that life is too short to please those who don’t like us(and at the same time don’t really care about us).So I began to bravely do whatever I want. So I have special feelings for this article. I like it and especially for the advice.
    Thank you James. Hope to receive your next letter.

  44. Yes. I appreciate how well you boiled that down. Don’t look at the wall.

    I am just getting to the point with my blogging where I am expecting that I will start getting more feedback very soon. I know some of it will be negative, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to see how I deal with it.

  45. Thanks James! Beautiful, honest article! The only way we can bring out the greatness in us and in others is to push back and walk through the fears…. Criticism being one of the main fears people have. You have helped pull people through some of those fears! (And any who quotes Bob Goff is great in my book!). Keep up the great work!

  46. I agree, this article showed up at just the right time. I love the quote, “You can either be judged b/c you created something or ignored b/c you left your greatness inside you.” Powerful stuff! Keep up the good work!

  47. Timely words! I started my life coaching practice this year and by far I have been my biggest obstacle. As a professional actor I’ve had my fair share of negative comments in person, in blog posts and yes, even published in national and regional newspapers with a photo! Handling rejection, negativity, and hate mail can suck the life out of a person. I recently attempted to run a short program addressing this same issue. Poor planning on my part resulted in the program being cancelled. Ironic that I was the one most in need of my own guidance. Thanks for your thoughts on this and all the stuff you write. As I build my own new business, address health and wellness goals it means a lot knowing it is *possible* to get where I want to go. Thanks James!

  48. James, another great article and a must read for a lot of people. Half way through I forwarded this to my wife because it has such a great messages. Haters be hating, but yes, look at the road, not the wall. I have let so much criticism stop me from doing what I really want to do and I have had enough. I turned 30, quit my crappy manufacturing job, started a business and have begun to travel. I took a lot of flack but didnt let it stop me this time and it feel amazing, beyond amazing. Emails like the one I just read need to get to everyone and all need to stop and really think about what they are reading. Their own happiness lies right between their two ears and its up to them to shut up the haters and believe and more forward with themselves. Keep up the good work, I look forward to more material!

  49. James,

    I only recently started reading your postings and appreciate your take on things. Your writing style is clear, concise, and down to earth, and your content is useful. I think the quote that one comment referred to regarding when the student is ready, the teacher will appear, is true in my case. Quite by chance, I clicked on a link to your website and started reading some of your material. I am at a point where I am ready to learn and use the lessons you are sharing and to take the risk to put myself out there and go after my goals. Things happen for a reason.

    This particular posting is very important. It is so easy to get derailed by negative comments or negative attitudes. We cannot let others control us that way, and your advice helps us to avoid that trap. We do not want to look back on our lives with regret that we let others control our destiny. Now is the time to do something about it.

    I look forward to your next article and the inspiration and encouragement that it will contain.

    Keep up the great work!

    Lee

  50. James, I am not interested in every article you write, but this one caught my attention. You shared some of yourself and that usually draws the reader in. Leave the naysayers to their nasty comments and keep charging on. You obviously have a passion for writing about things that can help others. Stay with that passion and you will build a very successful business. Meg

  51. James, love this article. It’s never easy to accept negative comments, and sadly one negative comment can overshadow 100 positive ones in our mind!

    But I really do believe that when people make negative comments, it’s not us they have something against- they don’t value themselves and project that on everyone and everything else to make themselves feel better, so I try my best not to take negativity personally!

    I totally agree with you about our biggest critic. The only person who can truly hold us back is ourselves!

  52. Thank you for such an encouraging post. I feel a renewed courage to step out and ignore when the “negativity” bullets buzz by my ears. Fear of failure/criticism has always been a stumbling block for me.

    By the way, often times I notice that people keep their positive thoughts to themselves while the critics line up to voice their opinions. I think if we started to put our encouragement out there more instead of keeping it to ourselves we might drown those people out! Here’s to actually saying what we think out loud– when it’s nice.

  53. A fine example, James, of standing with two feet solidly in the arena. An exquisite reminder that weightlifting is not the only thing that makes us strong but the courage to express and embrace vulnerability in our lives as well.

  54. Hi James,

    I am a new subscriber and I have to say I always stop to read your newsletter. I particularly appreciate this article as I am trying to write a book myself. It is based on personal experiences I have had, and friends have been telling me for years now to write a book. I have started, but am finding it hard to be as honest as I would like due to the potential for criticism. Your comment regarding being judged because you created or ignored for your silence will stay with me. Thank You!! Will send you a copy when it is finished!

  55. Just read through all of the positive feedback here. Impressive indeed my friend.

    Great opportunity here to write a follow up article referring to this one about how to spot useful feedback and how to integrate it into your work flow. You could also provide some guidance on the 2 way street of following up with people who do provide feedback by providing best practices around sharing mutual benefits in the writing topic.

    If you aren’t thinking about visiting Fayetteville soon, you will be, you will be…

    John

  56. Loving your posts. I’m on your list and look forward to reading them whenever I wake up to find one ready to give me a kick in the motivation booster.

  57. “The truth about criticism is that it’s almost always in your head”…that thought really resonated with me. It’s true, there’s nothing anyone can say to me that I haven’t already said to myself. Thank you for finding the courage to put your work out there. Your courage inspires me to be a better writer who can deal with even the harshest of critics…including myself.

  58. “You can either be judged because you created something or ignored because you left your greatness inside of you. Eventually, I decided that it was more important to contribute something to the world than it was to protect myself from criticism.”

    Very well put. I hope it’s ok to borrow this one as my kids could certainly benefit from it too.

  59. I’ve been “focusing on the wall” for several days. Thank you, James, for reminding me to refocus on where I want to go. Also really appreciate the information on Baumeister’s research. I usually seek out one positive experience after a negative one – now I’ll focus on five before I expect to recover my good outlook. I’m already feeling better!

  60. James, thank you so much for this post, it came in at a great time for me when I am contemplating reaching out for accountability help. I have reached out on MDA and I am reaching out here now as well. I have been working to post images on twitter of every meal that I eat (and sometimes selfies after workouts) as an accountability marker. And I have always discouraged anyone from following me as this is pretty much all that I post. But now I am asking for someone to help me out by following and commenting, positive or skeptical, about whether I am maximizing the potential that I have been blessed with. I have such problems asking for help as it is basically asking for criticism.

  61. I don’t remember how/where I came across your blog…but have been a faithful reader for the past several months. It always makes me happy to see a new article in my e-mail :-) I’ve enjoyed every post…of course some I relate to more than others, but always feel better having taken them in! Since I don’t have anywhere close to the insight you have, it’s a wonderful thing to share in yours. Thank you for your kind and generous insights!!

  62. I enjoy the articles when you discuss research also…like I was fascinated that it takes three times as many positive inputs to make up for one negative ! it makes me wonder why this is ? I admire that in This article you shared some of the negative inputs you’ve received. This was courageous & honest to share them. I personally enjoy & BENEFIT from your strategies shared that help us cope with Life’s
    Many difficulties…ESP coping with difficult but important people in our lives who are OFTEN judgmental & chronic in their criticisms.
    Rigid people are often judge mental & instead of lamenting you have helped me to try & focus on positive ways to deal with them…as
    They are very hard for me to deal with . My parents!

  63. Thank you for this timely piece! I’ve only recently started receiving your newsletters, but they have been inspiring and I’ve quoted your work in my interactions with others. This one especially hit home because my job is one where it often feels that I’m surrounded by haters and that is often referred to as “thankless.” It may be considered “thankless” by some but it is meaningful. However, that doesn’t make it any less difficult when constantly surrounded by criticism. It is also true for me that the biggest critic lies between my own two ears. I can only imagine what I could accomplish if I weren’t plagued by fear of what others think of me. Focus on the road, not the wall is going to be my new mantra :)
    Thank you for your work!

  64. Thanks James. I find all your articles relevant and concise. Unlike you I have not taken the plunge, and have been procrastinating and have been crippled by fear of criticism from my peers. I motivate and encourage individually to help work mates, but have always wanted to be a public speaker, motivator/facilitator and writer. I have always been waiting to be “successful”, so I have credibility. I guess I am focussing on people who would be in the minority as the critics, as your statistics indicate. Very scary, but if I don’t do it soon, it will be a huge regret of mine. Keep up the excellent work.

  65. “Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice.”

    Most people like to give advice, but they don’t even notice how could he give any useful advice when his own life is in a mess?

    Thank you, James, this really helps me a lot.

    (This comment is from China.)

  66. This is a fantastic article. I am thankful that a friend shared it on Facebook. I was first introduced to this way of thinking and acting by Dale Carnegie’s book “Winning Friends and Influencing People”, it’s nice to see stuff out there that builds on that.

  67. James thank you for writing this article. I really needed to read it. I have a Co-worker who likes to send me email and cc my boss whenever l make a error telling me what l did wrong and acted like she was my supervisor. I didn’t know what to do. I was feeling very resentful. I am going to try the killing them with kindness approach and respond back plus cc my boss with my responses.

  68. James,

    Wonderfully said. It is so very rejuvenating to know that someone understands this state of life and how to remain positive about it.

    Find it very useful, keep up the good work! So glad and thankful I found this website :)

  69. I suscribed to your newsletters last week and I just wanted to tell you that your articles are very nice and I really enjoy reading them. They are very positive.

  70. Its really a motivational piece of writing. If I were to paraphrase it, I would say that its all about self-belief. Criticisms are and will always be there. How you handle them is what will determine whether you will succeed or not. I am really inspired by this one. Its so important to me as an up-coming entreprenuer.

  71. James Clear — God has given you the power and enabled you to contribute, and I must tell you that, if someone discourages you, then don’t get depressed and never stop providing us with your great work, and always fight for your reward. :)

  72. Great article, James. A soft answer turns away wrath.

    BTW, I’m using the “Don’t break the Chain” idea to stay consistent with my workouts. I’ve gone from not being able to do 5 situps to doing 3 sets of 15!

  73. Yes James. Good article, for a person to become more focused on his goals rather than wasting his feelings and emotions on negative comments and finally run away from his goal path.

  74. Thank You so much for your wisdom. I am so grateful to have found this article so I can stay focused on my life’s purpose.

  75. Never ceases to amaze me with your articles! Paying evil with good is the best way to deal with it!

    You should write an article about why being humble is so important to achieve success!

    Thau

  76. How do you distinguish between hate and legitimate criticism? Seems a little dangerous to automatically assume that people would only take issue with your ideas because there’s something wrong in their lives.

  77. This post resonates because of the universal experience we all have with criticism. Your perspective is enlightening, and your practical suggestions welcome. I especially like the advice not to become one of them, to join in that crowd, or to tear others down. We need to lift people up, encouraging all the way. Awesome post!!

  78. Thanks, I received this as a retweet and it was definitely timely. I appreciated you including comments on the internal critic. I subscribed to the newsletter. So, good job. This can be one of your 5 positives to counterbalance any negative comments! :)

    Watch the road…

  79. Hi James

    Liked this blog very much indeed. What is illuminating for me here is the insite that people will hate you and move on having forgotten about it, leaving you with the hurt.

    I have learnt over a long period of time to do things for myself rather than for the approval of others. To want approval from others is very natural but also a weakness that can hurt you when/if you don’t get it.

    I hope you will return to this topic again in the future as I think there is more to say and I think you are the man with the insite to articulate it.

  80. Thanks for your wonderful messages and articles. I’ve been reading them for a few weeks now, and they’ve helped me stay motivated and figure out what I need to do to keep making forward progress with my goals.

  81. I just joined your “Superhuman” group and have been reading your material all afternoon. In my sincere opinion, you are a person of integrity and excellence. I believe that, whether I agree with you or not on any given subject, you write what you honestly believe to be true. What more could anyone ask of another.

    Happy to be part of the family. I look forward to future emails.

    Sincerely,
    Bill.

    P.S. So far, I do not disagree with a single word you have written. Your INTEGRITY is the only thing you can take with you.

  82. Hi, today I had a real bad experience on the road. Someone passed a bad and nasty comment about my looks. I really got offended and since then I have just been thinking about that until I read your article. Thank you sir. It helped. I’m feeling really better now.

  83. I love this article. Now that my blog is building a bigger audience, I’m starting to get some of the hater comments (actually not so much on my blog, but more on the huff post… the super user commenters especially can be real douchebags!). I keep coming back to this article and rereading it to help keep my eyes on the prize and not distracted by the haters. Thanks James :-)

  84. Thank you so much for your insightful and inspiring article, just what I needed at this time in my life to help me deal with “office politics” and a wretched boss and co-workers. The advice you have shared has been a great help to me and the kindness with which you have responded to your own “haters” is admirable. Because my first instinct is to bitch slap them. lol “Focus on the road, not the wall,” was especially helpful however, in reminding me to focus on the positive, not the negative, lest we allow mean, bitter and unhappy people to drag us into their own void of perpetual misery.

    God Bless <3

  85. Another great article James. In my current workplace I am surrounded by people criticising one another and I am sure they will be doing it behind my back also. As you say though,if they spent more time focusing on their own lives rather than that of others maybe they would be in a happier place and not need to “bitch” quite so much.

  86. Thank you sooo very much sir. I’m a football player in Rochester, NY and every day from time and time again I’m shot down by mainly 3 players who say constantly I’m not good enough for making varsity next year my sophomore season. I workout CTC/Conditioning training every Tuesday and Thursday and for some reason they still imply that I’m going no where I sometimes think at night that A D1 scholarship and a successful season in college to be drafted in the NFL is a fairytale dream for me. This year my JV season I Had 7 Touchdowns in 8 games and beyond 40 tackles on defense but yet and still I’m am disrespected and laughed at when I mention my dreams or sometimes when just when they want I just sometimes wonder were I’m pointed out at when I m bigger and just as fast as them.

    • I don’t know how old these comments are, but I recommend that you should watch the movie “Rudy.” Rudy is a 1993 American sports film directed by David Anspaugh. It is an account of the life of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, who harbored dreams of playing football. He wanted it so bad & worked so hard that his team decided he deserved it & stood up for him to be given the opportunity. This movie inspired me to find determination for achieving my goals.

  87. From my experience if we can learn to take our ego out of the equation then the judgemental people and their biting comments don’t sting as much. I’ve also learned to not take on others people’s “stuff”. Negative and unhappy people are always more then willing to try to give their “stuff” away to others. By refusing to take on any of their junk your load stays lighter and your journey becomes much easier.

  88. Vaynerchuk’s answer reminded me of “Psychological Aikido” (“Психологическое айкидо”) and “Psychological vampirism” (“Психологический вампиризм”) by Mikhail Litvak (Михаил Литвак).

    Not sure, whether there are english translations, but these books are really quite useful.

  89. I want to print every article I’ve read so far (about 5 since I subscribed this morning) and put them on my wall for inspiration and reminding. You certainly have a way with words, not only taking the impossible and turning it into a completely possible first step, but your kindness show through and is the real inspiration.

  90. I needed this today. I just had someone hate on me big-time, ironically, on a very popular meditation/personal development site! I was very disturbed but this post made me feel better. Thank you!

  91. Another great inspiring text!

    I really like how you put up things, always in an optimistic way. It is exactly what we need to hear once in a while, especially if people close to you don’t support your dreams.

    Keep up the good work!

  92. Thank you James. Very helpful. But what if it is your own parents? Me knocking my head on my study books and landing a high-paying job is all they want me to do in life (at least now). Even though I will soon be an engineering graduate, I don’t want to do a job. They didn’t give a damn about the few things that I’ve always loved to do since I grew up. Usual retort is this – you can’t make a living doing that stuff, you will be poor and unhappy in life, etc. They even ‘recruit’ relatives do knock some sense into me. I literally gave up on my curriculum 2 years ago, I just didn’t study, and guess what they did – they took me to a psych and got me started on schedule H drugs. I didn’t want to eat the drugs, so after two months I started the usual routine according to them.

    I know that I have a lot to contribute. I am more technical and practically-oriented than most. I pay careful attention to the how’s and why’s behind every thing. But I fully realize that as soon as I complete my degree, they’re probably going to jack me into some organization. If I remain rigid, I will probably end up on the streets with a bag on my shoulder.

    At times I feel so worthless.

  93. Cheap seats still paid for a seat! Most of those people are more genuine than the people who can afford the backstage pass meet and greet. These are wise words though, thank you.

    Tony

  94. I love receiving your articles and I am consistently amazed that the information and the insight contained in each one is so completely relevant at the precise moment in which I am reading it. Thank you!

  95. Your work is such a blessing to others. I hope you continue sharing your talent, wisdom and vision with the world, as it is such a source of inspiration and motivation. Keep that momentum and drive. Thank you for your uplifting words, advice and energy!

  96. “You can either be judged because you created something or ignored because you left your greatness inside of you. Eventually, I decided that it was more important to contribute something to the world than it was to protect myself from criticism.”

    Just what I needed to hear. I love your writing and fully support what you do and who you are. :) Thanks so much!

  97. I find it amazing that (at work, for example) people pull you aside to tell you something you have done “wrong” or when things didn’t go well in the direction people wanted. But people don’t pull you aside and say what a great job you have done (especially talking about the work place).

    Imagine how much more people would contribute if they were acknowledged and valued for their strengths.

  98. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I am not a writer. Grammar and spelling are not my thing and never have been. We are our biggest critic. It has been suggested to me to journal. I tried and I am so critical of my writing that I stopped and gave up. Crazy, I know but it’s true. You gave great examples and that really helped. The Mario Andretti was a definite plus being that I grew up in Indy. I know that it takes time to quiet the critic in your head and to not worry what others think. What are some beginning steps one can take to stop being their own worst critic? When you first started sharing your writing, how did you get past yourself?

  99. I always look forward to your articles in my inbox. Just know that you are inspiring at least one person when you make these inspiring contributions to the world. Thank you. :)

  100. All of this sounds really helpful, it sounds very nice. But things can be easier said than done…at least for me. It doesn’t help either when you are reaaaaaaaallly sensitive and take things too seriously. I hope I can “ignore looking at the walls”.

  101. I’ve never heard of you before or read anything you wrote before (that I’m aware of). I was made aware of this article through an email that Buffer sent to me (and I will be adding this article to my Buffer).

    I just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed and appreciated your article. This topic is something that I get hung-up on all the time. I have had many “talks” with myself about enduring criticism, and have read many topics on it and done personal development on it. I think this article really fits in well with all of that, and even adds some things that I haven’t read or heard before, and bolsters what I already know to be true.

    When I was little and first started riding bicycle, I remember riding behind my dad to the park a few times. At a couple different entry/exit points on the bike path, there were a couple metal bars sticking several feet out of the path (I guess to keep motor vehicles off the path; the bars are no longer there, so I think they eventually took them out due to being a safety hazard!). On your bike, you would have to ride between the bars to continue on the path. There were several feet between the bars; for any mildly-experienced rider, going between them would not be even a second thought, much less any kind of a problem. However, as a very inexperienced rider and a young child, not knowing how to cope with something like this due to having no experience, riding between the bars seemed very intimidating to me and I remember being scared that I would run into one of the bars. I would be looking right at one of the bars as I approached, yet trying to go through the gap, and I would crash right into the bar! This probably happened to me about two or three times over a period of a few weeks or months. I think I also sometimes would make it through without hitting the bar. Well, my dad realized there was a pattern of me hitting the bar, so there must be a reason. He told me almost exactly what you said in your article. He told me in order to go past the bars, I cannot look at the bars at all and that I instead needed to look at the gap between the bars. Well, I never hit one of the bars again! I always looked at the gap from that point forward, and it was always easy to ride right through! What a freeing feeling. It really made a lot of sense, too, even as a little kid. That was a great lesson for me!

  102. James, you really got me above the fold – people criticize and judge because of their insecurities. I think it’s important for people who are faced with the opposition (which is nearly everyone at some point in their lives) to understand this and keep moving forward. Thanks for sharing!

  103. This was very helpful. I really needed this to get inspired and to keep my focus on my goals instead of fearing what others will think. It doesn’t matter what you do. People will always judge you.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this, James.

  104. Like Melanie, I too have never heard of you until this post popped up on Buffer. While your observations and counsel re handling negative feedback are right on point, my interest was drawn to what you shared about how you got started. I am a new blogger who is just getting started with a similar focus: sharing my personal observations re politics, religion and relationships.

    Like you, I too went through (and am still struggling with) the battle of putting myself out there before family, friends and associates who know who I am, but have no idea of what’s in my head. Right now, it feels like I’m writing to an empty room (it’s only been three months) so your story was quite timely. It will be interesting to see if my work has drawn an audience by the end of the year.

    Thanks for sharing. It helps keep the optimism up.

  105. In a foul mood, I once commented to a political cartoonist that his work was derivative, and what’s more, I knew which artist he was copying, a favorite of mine. To my surprise he wrote right back to me and admitted that yes, I caught him, he greatly admired the artist and was inspired by him. He graciously gave me a bit of his background, of how he had gotten into the political cartoon business after he realized he wasn’t a great writer. And he concluded by asking me not to respond to his email. I realized just how much we had in common, and that I was just projecting my own disappointment as an illustrator on him. I wrote him back anyway, and apologized for being so critical and thanked him for sharing his story.

  106. James, thanks for this article. I received a difficult e-mail criticising a course I wrote a few years ago. It has gone worldwide and is used widely in groups around the UK – leading to positive community action. I have had hundreds of people say how meaningful it has been.

    We are about to revise it and I asked people to feedback so we can make it even better.

    I only had one response, it was very negative and I received it about an hour ago. As a writer who has decided to be vulnerable it knocked me back.

    I’m glad I read this so soon afterwards. I don’t normally comment on articles, whatever I think about them, but I wanted to say thanks again.

    Bless you,

    Jonathan.

  107. Hey: This has come in handy. I have just started a new venture and been hit with quite a few “haters”. I keep with Jim Rohn “it’s the birds”, and I won’t chase birds but stay on my field :-) while taking into account the reaction for that glimpse of truth that might be in there :-) and if there is not, let’s move on and wish the haters well :-)

  108. Really enjoyed your post. Timely and relevant in all kinds of ways in what we do with branding and design, especially when dealing with client perception and innovation challenges. And thanks for posting the link to “Bad is Stronger Than Good.” Having the wealth of all that information in one place made my afternoon.

  109. I can’t believe I spent time reading this post… but I’m sure glad I did. Very insightful and a breath of fresh air. ;-)
    (hee hee, did I get ya there?)

    ~justin

  110. This was exactly what I needed to hear. I always start by skimming articles online but I literally went back to the beginning and read every word.

  111. I think reading your article has mellowed out my feelings. I am a person that’s so use to people judge me, and always trying to met their expectations.

    I’ve dealt with 85-95% of ugly, judgmental and unproductive criticism. The whole point of criticism is to improve where you may want or need too. I am a hypersensitive person, but I am trying to get to a point where I am not affect as much by peoples attitude, behavior, and mannerisms so much. What you wrote remained me so much of these two phrases like when life gives you lemons, make lemonade and kill ugliness with kindness (I might have messed up on the phrase, but it goes like that). This I what I am trying to do, it’s hard not only because of my own tendencies, but the support system in my life. I reach to be better because it makes feel good.

    Thank you for those words of encouragement and words of enlightenment. I haven’t read many of your blog postings, but you don’t seem like a waste of skin. LOL. ^_^

  112. I can’t say enough how I appreciate this article. Thank you for your example of how to deal with critics and negativity (both the ones inside our ears and outside of them!) I find humility graciousness and generosity are characteristics that I would like to reflect out to others especially to my critics.

  113. I was searching for articles on how to stop being judgmental to send to someone who has been horribly negative and judgmental to me but is too important in my life to be given the boot. I came across this and realized that I am focusing on the wall. I’m letting my path be determined by fear of crashing instead of steering where I want to go. Thank you for that insight.

  114. I understand that you don’t have all the answers, but so far this is good advice and I will keep this in mind. Thank you for sending this message out there, it was motivating.

  115. Thanks a lot for this post! What you have written is exactly what I was looking for yesterday. Your words are inspiring. I feel stronger and positive after reading this. I am now determined to follow this approach and help myself get the best out of me. I read many other articles on this topic but your writing appealed to me the most. Please keep writing and posting. I have subscribed to this blog and have also started reading book “Transform Your Habits.”

  116. Thank you for sharing these important and practical reminders. It also reminded me of the principle of investing in friendships with people who are genuine and authentic and actively disinvesting in relationships with people who are blatantly derogatory, one sided and completely self-centered “what’s in it for me?”

    You become the company you keep!

  117. Thanks for this. I’ve just put up my first blog. No “haters” yet, hasn’t been seen enough, but devastated by my friends’ lack of interest and enthusiasm. The blog is really important to me and the subject stems from 7 years of soul searching. I just can’t get over their response! Thanks.

    • Naimh — congrats on sending your writing out into the world! Your experience with your friends matches my experience and many others that I have talked to: sometimes the people that you think will be the most supportive are not that way at all.

      However, there is good news: if you continue to share your message with the world, you will be equally surprised by the people who come out of nowhere to support you (sometimes friends you didn’t expect, sometimes total strangers).

      Thanks for reading and keep writing!

  118. This was an amazing read! It really helped soothe my inner conflicts and put them in perspective. Grateful I stumbled upon this post! Thanks for sharing!

  119. I love this article because it is so true: Who loves and appreciates criticism? I saw that Vaynerchuk could actually change someone’s life by his act of kindness. Maybe that is why those critics are there to show us something about ourselves that we need to see or to have a chance to offer kindness to a fellow human being who is in pain. What if they are a gift and not an annoyance after all. Interesting to consider that. Thanks for a great article.

  120. Great article, James. Thanks for taking the time and care to write it. The internet means you can attack and criticise in a matter of seconds. It takes a lot longer to write something of value. Thank you :)

  121. I completely identify with your message James. Your simple positive writing style is so readable and valuable to me and my aspirations. Excellent work!

  122. There is a story in India. It goes something like this: A young boy and his father are walking with a donkey with some luggage on it for some work. Hearsay goes ‘When you have a donkey why not use it to ride!’. The father hearing this, mounts his son on it and continues walking. They comes across another set of people, watching them they say ‘How demeaning when a old father has to walk-by when his son who has all the reserves of energy is riding the donkey!’. Now, the father and son change places and continue their journey. They come across another set of people, who on watching this trio, comment ‘How careless about the donkey, which has to carry such heavy load!’… So the take-away from the story is: People comment on you whatever you do., so do not listen to what people have to say ‘Do what you think is right, the right thing to do, at any point in time…’

  123. Thank you very much James. A timely piece and also great reminder to myself daily.

    I don’t deal with haters much especially of late but reading your blog gives me the confidence to step out of the house and face the day daily.

    Keep up the good work! :)

  124. I fully concur with your thinking. It is sad that one does not recognize the self. Many a times in ones life we look outside for our self-worth, when all the time it is within us. Be good to your self and be thankful for what you have rather than what you don’t have.

  125. Great article, James. Some ideas were stopping me and you described them clearly. It was my own fear to not get accepted. This article helped me a lot! Thank you.

  126. Great Post James. I liked your article. You nailed it by emphasizing on forgiveness and kindness. The other points are worth mentioning. First and foremost, don’t be the hater. Don’t be the person who tears down someone else’s hard work. The world needs more people who contribute their gifts and share their work and ideas. Working up the courage to do that can be tough. Support the people who display that courage.

    If you’re dealing with criticism, then don’t let the wall keep you from seeing the road. Focus on the path ahead. Another way I heard it put recently, “Ignore the boos. They usually come from the cheap seats.”

    If you choose to respond to the haters, then surprise them with kindness. You might just win a new fan while you’re at it.

    Finally, and most importantly, make the choices that are right for you. People will criticize you either way.

    Best,

    Raj Kosaraju

  127. Hello my name is Philip and, I have been subjected to criticism my whole high school career. This is why I was brought to your article. I have not done drugs nor have I done everything i am not proud of but, i seem to have a emotional anguish with people not liking my work. They say it’s constructive criticism but it bothers the hell out of me!

  128. James,

    Thanks for the article. It was very timely, and you gained a new fan in the meantime. Thanks for putting yourself out there like you do. You rock!

    Dyanne

  129. I’m so thankful that I found your article today and for your steps of bravery in writing. This was the type of positive confirmation that I needed in this moment in my life.

  130. I’d enjoyed how you had said about dealing with Haters. It’s someone to me who is jealous of how you carry yourself in your work!

  131. I have been encouraged by your article to contribute more in the world while at the same time being happy with my decision instead of regretting it. Inspiring article. :-)

  132. I love this post! Such great advice for someone looking to transition into self-employment or make a major career change. Thanks for sharing.

  133. Hey James,

    I’m pretty new to your site but I love what you’ve got on here. I’ve even started using some of your tricks to start getting back in shape and to avoid procrastinating. Maybe one more thing that you could add in this great article is that people are not in the habit of leaving comments when they like something. At least not as much as they are when they don’t like something. So for every negative comment you receive, there are probably a dozen people or many more who liked your stuff but just didn’t say so.

  134. Thank You so much for using simple language. I am really impressed by you and yeah you helped me to get motivated. Nice work. GOD BLESS YOU.

  135. Thank you for this. In my life I have been really good (not too often) and I have been really bad (more often than I would like). But one thing that I have learnt is, that no matter what I do, people will always judge and criticize. In the past I have been absolutely dumbstruck by people exactiing payment/retribution over a crime that has not even been committed against them. I call them God’s debt collectors, but I doubt that He even appointed them. This Humpty Dumpty took a big fall, and she learnt a great lesson – many in fact. But what was amazing was the absolute satisfaction that some people derived from seeing me broken to pieces and no matter how much I pay, they would find a way to make me pay just a little bit more. No matter how ‘good’ I try to be, it will never quite suffice. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

    Anyhoo, I stood up, dusted myself off and, from this terrible experience was born great and many things. But still I need to deal with the critics and the judges and the hate eaters. It takes a great deal of self-restraint to not reciprocate their hate with more hate. I cannot change my past, but my reaction will determine who I will be today and tomorrow. It’s one of my biggest obstacles towards achieving my new goals. I came here looking for an answer and I found it. So thank you for pointing my eyes back on the road.

    Regards

    Joannie.

  136. I just love this article. I really needed this for to move forward. I’m scared of criticism and lack self confidence. Thanks again, it was more than helpful.

  137. Haters are everywhere. Don Quijote answered to Sancho Panza about the barking dogs, “Let them bark, it means we are advancing”. Very comforting post since I myself just started blogging.

  138. Thank you so much — this article was exactly what I needed to see.

    My 13 year daughter faces “haters” constantly. She has a dream to become a singer/ songwriter and whilst putting herself out there and getting great feedback, there are always haters in the background trying to put her down — about her looks, her talent. Even making up rude and vile rumours.

    I will get her to read this tonight. You are so right — they are in the cheap seats! Cheers.

  139. Hello James,

    I was misguided and was going on a wrong track before I read your post. After reading your post, my perception of looking at things changed.

    I would be grateful to you for this post.

  140. I really needed this. I’ve been so paralyzed by the fear of being criticized that it’s ruining my life. I really identified with everything you said and wanted you to know that I feel much more at peace now and I have some practical advice I can put to use in case of an ambush. Can’t wait to read what else you have on here.

  141. I got motivated by your message. I personally get judged by strangers. Some will downsize you. I just wish we lived in a caring community.

  142. Hi James,

    I just found your website a few days ago and I love it! It is brilliant and so are you! This is just what I have been looking for, something to encourage my people and give them the facts, motivation, and permission to color outside the lines! Keep up the great work and thanks for all the inspiration!

    Roz

    P.S. Just started watching you on YouTube as well!

  143. This article was very recognisable and helpful. In my work as a receptionist I get a lot of critisism from unsatisfied guests. Although I try to help everyone and take every comment serious, I noticed that for some people it’s never enough and they already formed their opinion. This is something I find very hard to deal with for me personally, because I put so much energy in creating a nice atmosphere for everyone. Maybe I should focus more on my own future and the bigger picture, rather then let negative comments hold me down. Your advise makes me realize that, for which I thank you.

    Regards, Suzanne (NL)

  144. Wonderful article. I certainly relate to it.

    I’ve always wondered why I would fixate on one bad evaluation and ignore the 100 good ones. I appreciate your sharing your wisdom.

  145. I am going through so much hell at work. A lot of gossip and just a hateful place to work. I’ve been there 20 years it gets worse instead of better. I cry everyday when I go to work. I try to avoid it but it is hard. I also have a boss that talks crap about the employees. He has been turned in but nothing happens. What to do? Help.

  146. This article turned my whole mood around! As a new blogger who just received my first negative (not constructive) criticism I really needed this. The whole article was just perfect. Thank you so much. And I did sign up for your newsletter! :)

  147. Whilst reading your awesome piece, I actually visualised what you were discussing. Being creative helps me when dealing with issues that bother me. I have anxiety and I found your piece soothing, fresh and just lovely to read. Thank you.

  148. Thank you so much for this article. It helped me a lot. We really have no control of what other people may say about us. I am the type of person who minds my own business but I am kind-hearted and knows how to have fun. I respect other people’s choices and in return, I want people to respect mine also. But since the world is never a perfect place and balance is surely not guaranteed, I encounter difficult ones from time to time. What saddened me the most is that a friend who I thought is genuine, keeps on criticizing me on Facebook. It made me mad and I posted subtle insults not directly at her but I know she will get affected by it. After reading this, I realized that there is so much more to look forward to,than to snap back at those who have nothing constructive to say about you. Thank you so much. It’s all about putting yourself on a higher level.

  149. You are blessing to humanity. This article was indeed informative and educative to me. Thanks so much. You are ‘Above Only’.

  150. Nice article this should be available to more people. I remember when I worked at Amazon I was annoyed by my boss and his sports analogies now I have more appreciation. I used think I don’t know anything about baseball and I meeting my goals so who cares? I guess now I see that was arrogant. Nice article.

  151. Great article! I like it a lot it gives a different perspective of criticism and i think that it will help from now on.

    Thank you and continue your good work.

  152. It is a very tough world. People will stab you in the back to get ahead. I have seen this. I am a Christian. I do the best I can and ask for God’s help. I am to treat all people with mercy. This is hard to do in our culture.

    Chris
    Owner CEL Financial Services

  153. I recently did a presentation involving 200 or so people. Everyone was engaged and having a great time as evidenced by smiling, laughing, dancing along, chatting. Particpants appeared to be excited. throughout the activities. After it was over my two team members that helped facilitate had nothing to say about the entire event other than “it went too long”. Nothing to say about the actual content which we had spent weeks putting together. In fact one member reiterated “yeah when I do these things my criteria is to keep it at an hour” which is not true because other presentations usually last an hour an a half. So a couple of things 1) I felt judged by hypocrites 2) I felt like they missed the point. People were having fun so who cares that it was an hour & 45 minutes? 3) I realized that we are operating under different value systems. My team members are focused on the time and want to leave as soon as possible. I am focused on the experience and the participants.

  154. I find it so hard to just let it go. I can’t stop thinking about what they think of me; it frustrates me to much. I am trying to follow your advice to just forgot about it. Responding to them with hate just makes it worse.

  155. Hi James,

    Thanks for sharing this article.

    Anytime you put yourself out on a ledge, you run the risk of being criticized and mocked. Many people are jealous or even scared by success. Rather than congratulating people for taking the massive step and putting themselves out there and for trying to do good for others, they would much rather pull them down to their level. It makes them look bad if others around them are successful, but they are not.

    I’ve been in this position myself in the past. I’ve written books, posted blogs articles and have a podcast show, so I know what it’s like to be open to skepticism and even hate.

    A few years ago I wrote some training manuals and sold over 1,000 copies in the first 12 months. I received awesome feedback from 99% of the people, but there were always one or two disgruntled people who just wanted to complain. Initially, I took the complaints personally and took on-board what they were saying. I soon came to realize that the people making all the noise were known noise-makers. They complained about everything. Not just my product, but everybody elses as well. In fact, I even found that a couple of them were competitors of mine in the same market! trying to bring me down and make me and my product look bad, so that they could build themselves up! What a low tactic! – And guess what? – They’re no longer in business.

    I’ve come to realize that it’s impossible to please everybody. You are always going to have your share of disgruntled customers, haters, skeptics, people who oppose what you are saying/offering. But do the maths. If you’ve got thousands of people who sing your praises and only a handful of people who hate you – then who’s the one with the real problem? – You? or them?

    At the end of the day, if you know you’ve got a great product, service or knowledge to share and have gone to the work and effort to share it with others – and others are truly benefiting from it then keep doing what you’re doing. You are serving your market and you’re doing a good job.

    I love the Gary Vaynerchuk method of dealing with haters. Not sure I’d be able to do it, as it really takes a lot of control to not try to prove you’re right and to answer politely back to someone who’s just bagged you out! However, it’s powerful and would work. It kind of lets everyone know that you’re the one in control and the other person is just being a jerk!

    Unfortunately, some people just love to complain. More often than not, if you dig deeper, it’s very seldom got anything to do with you, they just got out of bed the wrong way that morning, or have other stuff going on in their lives that they’re not coping with and are looking for a scape goat to take it out on.

    Great blog – Thanks

    Brent Price

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