Ever wonder why the best minds with the best ideas seem to receive criticism from the smallest minds with the smallest ideas? Or, more pointedly, why Haters spend all their time hating rather than achieving anything?
Haters have become an international phenomena according to Tim Ferris, the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Weekly bestselling author. At an event in Amsterdam, reporter Amy-Mae Elliot asked Tim his perspective on Haters.
Not surprisingly, his wisdom on the matter confirmed my thoughts on Inc Magazine Top 20 leader and repeat NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and Business Week bestseller Orrin Woodward. Orrin has several NY Times bestsellers (Launching a Leadership Revolution and LeaderShift), a Top 100 All-Time Leadership book (RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE), and has built several companies to over $100 million in revenue along with several others over $40 million.
Furthermore, his latest company (LIFE Leadership) is rumored to be near 100,000 customers and members in less than two years! Not too mention that, as an engineer, he garnered four patents and won a National Benchmarking Award before he was 26 years old. And, despite getting top grades at the #2 MBA program in the country in 1992 (University of Michigan Ann Arbor), he quit the program to pursue his first entrepreneurial venture and has never looked back.
I say all of this to ask the simple question. With hundreds of thousands of fans, friends, and followers and a proven track record, why does Orrin still receive criticism from a few rabid Haters? The simple answer is because he and his community win while making no apologies for doing so. In fact, one of Orrin's most popular quotes is, "You either hate losing enough to change, or you hate changing enough to lose." This certainly won't make a person popular with the Haters of the world.
Orrin and his leadership team survived a multi-million dollar lawsuit against a billion dollar company bent on destroying them. In the process, he added some Haters from his former company who cannot believe he stood up to the powers-that-be on principles he held sacred, namely, that people have a right to own their own business, not be owned by companies. Indeed, his letter to Doug DeVos ought to be required reading in every character-based leadership class in the country.
But enough of Orrin's background and onto Tim's thoughts on Haters from Amy-Mae Elliot. I share my thoughts Tim's seven points in italics right after his.
We caught up with Ferriss backstage at the event to find out more about his seven principles for dealing with haters.
Read on for some interesting ideas and let us know which work for you — as well as your own strategies — in the comments below.
1. It doesn't matter how many people don't get it. What matters is how many people do.
"It's critical in social media, as in life, to have a clear objective and not to lose sight of that," Ferriss says. He argues that if your objective is to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people or to change the world in some small way (be it through a product or service), you only need to pick your first 1,000 fans — and carefully. "As long as you're accomplishing your objectives, that 1,000 will lead to a cascading effect," Ferriss explains. "The 10 million that don't get it don't matter."
LIFE Leadership has tens of thousands of people reading, listening, and associating, who desire to change the world by first changing themselves. Sociologist Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." LIFE is building this committed group of citizens across the world.
2. 10% of people will find a way to take anything personally. Expect it.
"People are least productive in reactive mode," Ferriss states, before explaining that if you are expecting resistance and attackers, you can choose your response in advance, as opposed to reacting inappropriately. This, Ferriss says, will only multiply the problem. "Online I see people committing 'social media suicide' all the time by one of two ways. Firstly by responding to all criticism, meaning you're never going to find time to complete important milestones of your own, and by responding to things that don't warrant a response." This, says Ferriss, lends more credibility by driving traffic.
I love how Orrin and his organization choose to focus on dreams not drama. Orrin refuses to throw mud at others because he knows the mud-throwers only dig themselves into a hole. Instead, he just serves people which is why his organization continues to break records.
3. "Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity." (Colin Powell)
"If you treat everyone the same and respond to everyone by apologizing or agreeing, you're not going to be recognizing the best performers, and you're not going to be improving the worst performers," Ferriss says. "That guarantees you'll get more behavior you don't want and less you do." That doesn't mean never respond, Ferriss goes on to say, but be "tactical and strategic" when you do.
In building any business, some will, some won't, so what. The key is to focus upon who will and help them win. This is exactly what LIFE Leadership does. In other words, Orrin is building an all-volunteer army to Have Fun, Make Money, and Make a Difference.
4. "If you are really effective at what you do, 95% of the things said about you will be negative." (Scott Boras)
"This principle goes hand-in-hand with number two," Ferriss says. "I actually keep this quote in my wallet because it is a reminder that the best people in almost any field are almost always the people who get the most criticism." The bigger your impact, explains Ferriss (whose book is a New York Times, WSJ and BusinessWeek bestseller), and the larger the ambition and scale of your project, the more negativity you'll encounter. Ferriss jokes he has haters "in about 35 languages."
Tim Ferris and Orrin Woodward have both had multiple bestselling books and both have achieved success beyond most people's imaginations. Because of this they accumlate haters and with LIFE Leadership expanding internationally, the Haters will soon speak numerous languages. Orrin and Chris Brady have even generated a FAKE HATER.
5. "If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid." (Epictetus)
"Another way to phrase this is through a more recent quote from Elbert Hubbard," Ferriss says. "'To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing." Ferriss, who holds a Guinness World Record for the most consecutive tango spins, says he has learned to enjoy criticism over the years. Ferriss, using Roman philosophy to expand on his point, says: "Cato, who Seneca believed to be the perfect stoic, practiced this by wearing darker robes than was customary and by wearing no tunic. He expected to be ridiculed and he was, he did this to train himself to only be ashamed of those things that are truly worth being ashamed of. To do anything remotely interesting you need to train yourself to be effective at dealing with, responding to, even enjoying criticism... In fact, I would take the quote a step further and encourage people to actively pursue being thought foolish and stupid."
A local newspaper once reported Mark Twain as deceased after an extended absence. His reply to the report is a classic, "The report of my death has been exaggerated." For years, people have written off Orrin and his organization, especially after enduring a three year legal dispute. Apparently, someone forgot to notify Orrin and his leadership team. They simply refused to quit and now are growing faster than ever. The reports of his, and his organization's death, has been exaggerted.
6. "Living well is the best revenge." (George Herbert)
"The best way to counter-attack a hater is to make it blatantly obvious that their attack has had no impact on you," Ferriss advises. "That, and [show] how much fun you're having!" Ferriss goes on to say that the best revenge is letting haters continue to live with their own resentment and anger, which most of the time has nothing to do with you in particular. "If a vessel contains acid and you pour some on an object, it's still the vessel that sustains the most damage," Ferriss says. "Don't get angry, don't get even — focus on living well and that will eat at them more than anything you can do."
Orrin Woodward has taught for years that a person can get bitter or he can get better. Leaders, he said, choose to get better. The alternative, bitterness, is like drinking poison expecting someone else to die. Leaders get better and losers (Haters) get bitter. Orrin travels the world with his family and friends, helping people live the lives of their dreams. The Haters, in contrast, are consumed with self-pity and bitterness, drinking poison wondering why they are the only ones dying.
7. Keep calm and carry on.
The slogan "Keep Calm and Carry On" was originally produced by the British government during the Second World War as a propaganda message to comfort people in the face of Nazi invasion. Ferriss takes the message and applies it to today's world. "Focus on impact, not approval. If you believe you can change the world, which I hope you do, do what you believe is right and expect resistance and expect attackers," Ferriss concludes. "Keep calm and carry on!"
Orrin Woodward once twittered, "Let them criticize; let us serve, let God judge." I will edit slightly to close this article: Let Haters hate, leaders lead; and God decide. Orrin dares to get in the ring and make his life count - Do you? Teddy Roosvelt said it best, “It's not the critic who counts. It's not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled. Credit belongs to the man who really was in the arena, his face marred by dust, sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs to come short and short again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming. It is the man who actually strives to do the deeds, who knows the great enthusiasm and knows the great devotion, who spends himself on a worthy cause, who at best, knows in the end the triumph of great achievement. And, who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and cruel souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”