Be prepared: if you’re planning on going somewhere, haters will try and hitchhike.
I’m not saying they’ll try to use your success to acquire their own, however. I’m saying that haters will attempt to latch onto you like a parasite that seeks to drain the blood from its host one warm drop at a time.
They’re going to hit you, and they’re going to hit you hard, no matter what you do.
Haters are just a part of the game and so you’re going to need to get used to them if you want to reach any notable level of personal success, especially the more you’re in the public eye.
However, you can do far more than just ignore haters. Sure, sometimes that’s the best option. But many times you have the chance at taking that interaction or comment from the person and turning into a positive. This is how you use haters as a springboard for your success.
It might sound unrealistic and overly optimistic BS, but it’s not. There is a dependable way of utilizing haters to make progress and it has nothing to do with tired motivational posters.
When you have haters, you’re doing something right.
– Kylie Bunbury
Haters aren’t what you think they are
Something that’s important to understand about haters is why they’re hating on you in the first place.
Some will say that it’s jealousy and envy. And they’d be right. However, we want to dig deeper here and get to the source of the attention.
It’s their own unhappiness, their frustration with life, that has caused their admiration to turn into jealousy.
I’d repeat that but, well…you can just read it over again.
This is an important point to understand. Deep down, they truly do admire your skill, talent, or accomplishments. However, their pain and suffering have created a wall which transforms any feelings of admiration into something poisonous in a subconscious act of self-preservation.
This is particularly important for our next point because we’re going to use that useful bit of information to perform a kind of transformation of their hate into something constructive.
It’s one that doesn’t always work. However, when it does, it’s incredibly uplifting and powerful.
Respond to haters with kindness
To put it as simply as possible, I want you to respond to and interact with haters in the most honest and human way possible.
I want you to respond to haters with kindness.
- When they write a review about how much your food or product sucks, I want you to write them back thanking them for their review and for suggestions as to how you can improve.
- When they leave a nasty review or comment on your work, I want you to thank them for it and ask if there’s anything you can do to clarify the information or invite them to speak openly about what they didn’t like about it (Gary V. does just that).
- Or when they criticize you openly in front of your colleagues about your process, I want you to invite them to discuss openly what they believe can and should be improved and to spar a bit on finding the best process.
Not only can responding to haters with hatred and anger burn bridges and tarnish your reputation (even if anyone in your situation would have reacted the same way) but responding with kindness has a special kind of power that sometimes transforms the disposition of the hater and turns them to a friend.
And, sometimes, this can work as a springboard for your success, building valuable new connections and allies with whom you have an instantly deep connection with.
But a more important reason why this method can be a springboard for your success is that it helps teach and grow you in a way that few things can.
You’re directly facing someone who disagrees with you or something you’ve created and isn’t holding back what they think out of a desire not to hurt your feelings. This kind of openness is rare among friends and family and can help you take yourself to a new level.
In his book, The Writer’s Journey, Christopher Vogler talks about exactly one such experience and proves the power of responding to haters in a spirit of kindness and openness.
After releasing his first book on storytelling, Vogler received a scathing criticism from a major critic. However, instead of allowing the criticism to get him down or responding with anger, he invited the critic to take part in a talk he had previously scheduled at UCLA.
“He accepted and joined a panel discussion which turned into a lively and entertaining debate, illuminating corners of the story world that I had never glimpsed before. The seminar was better and my ideas were stronger for being challenged,” said Vogler.
Make the most of dealing with haters
This methodology for dealing with haters might now sound great or still absolutely ridiculous. Either way, it’s important to remember these three things:
- Being kind doesn’t mean you’re a pushover: This is a typical misconception. Niceness doesn’t mean you’re willing to accept what someone says, simply that you’re willing to play nice and treat them as the real human being they are. It’s a much wiser approach.
- You’re not dealing with a perfectly stable person: Super important to remember. I mean, who among us is perfectly stable? There are some things that just become pet peeves of ours and what you did, are doing, or created might simply have fallen right within their scope for one reason or another. They’re being unreasonable and a little kindness will often knock the sense back into them.
- Hatred will only rebound off of them and hit you: No matter how you deal with haters, don’t do it with hatred of your own as this will only hurt you in the long run.
Keep these things in mind and you’ll make the most of dealing with haters– even using them to further your success instead of hindering it.