Living in a fairy tale world with no negative feedback would only happen in your imagination. There are people to push you up and there are people to pull you down. Some people admire someone and some others loathe that person.
The ability to tolerate both to keep someone on track without derailing is a skill and it requires developing a tough skin. Being tough may sound cheeky but it’s crucial in life. Developing a thick skin is not to become indifferent to negative feedback but to tolerate and only filter the information from the criticism if it’s right.
Whenever you put yourself in the outside world, you should expect a lot of garbage that can come with it. A journey to success is not a road trip with just your friends. You would eventually accompany people who would tell you that you’re travelling the wrong road or your destination isn’t right. Sometimes the critique is harsh and would tell you to abandon your journey and go back home.
Therefore, if you intend to travel this journey of life, you should be ready to receive a lot of garbage, insults, criticism, ad hominem attacks, and abuses.
Generally, people adopt two strategies to deal with criticism. Either they react or ignore. Reacting to everything to every negative feedback is what we usually see in social media. People turn up against every bad comment or dislike they get. We see so much of hostility and outrage in how people respond in social media feuds.
The other strategy as I have mentioned before is to ignore criticism. But if that was the solution then developing a tough skin will be a matter of training. But it will eventually lead to distorting the reality around you. I have said in an older post that – we should respect reality. Reality should be the foundation of our dreams and success. So ignoring negative comments is not the way to develop a tough skin.
Having tough skin is hard. You need to manage criticism while staying motivated to your actions. It’s different from becoming insensitive. When you look at the legendary people, who changed the course of our lives throughout history, they faced the same amount of negative feedback to the number of applauses they got for their actions. But they still woke up motivated in every morning.
To Stay in The Game
We won’t achieve anything by starting something but by enduring it. Pain and patience are inevitable to become successful in what you’re doing. In a world that advice you “the 7 things to become rich” everything may sound attainable. But when you enter the game, there will be more than seven-hundred things that you have to deal with.
The world might have changed with technology, people can become viral and rich with a matter of hours but the game, in the long run, to sustain what you achieved is still the old fashion game of pain and patience. Therefore, if you want to stay in the game, you better toughen your skin to the point that it can tolerate a painful blow that life throws at you.
Having a tough skin would keep you real and help you to build your dreams from the foundation of reality.
How to Handle Negative Comments
There is a sizeable difference between genuine criticism and baseless criticism. But what people do most often is they treat both in the same way.
To develop a tough skin is to separate the feedback you get. If you treat a genuine criticism in the same way you treat an insult, you will not see any growth opportunities. With most criticism, there is a growth opportunity if taken in the right way.
Types of Negative Comments
- Anger – These types of comments may not have any information associated with it. Mostly it’s an emotional reaction. So if you try to elucidate any information from it, you may not get any. But you can use it to change your behaviour because people often behave the way you behave to them.
- Insult – This is again emotional feedback with no reasoning. You can ignore such comments. They attack your character not your actions.
- Critique – Critique could be harsh. In those situations, people confuse it with insults. But if you strip away the harsh language used, you would see the information.
- Ignorance – This is what kids in the social media age are most concerned about. In a world that is very much connected, people expect others to appreciate whatever they create. They expect people to like and share. Patience could be one of the answers to deal with ignorance. The other one is to change your approach and try again.
The finest answer to deal with negative comments is – goal setting. Before you deal with any feedback, you should have a clarity of what your goals are.
With every feedback there are either of two actions you can take
- Not ignore
Ignore – If criticism is irrelevant or will derail you from your goals, you better ignore it. People told me to better do YouTube videos instead of blogging as blogs are the old way of publishing content. But I do blogging because it helps me to gain clarity, improve writing and provoke me to read and acquire knowledge. So, I simply ignore such comments.
Not Ignore – You can consider a critique if it’s in the same theme of what your goals are. If someone tells me the theme of the blog is not good or the writing style has to improve, I may check if there is any truth to it.
No Pain, No Gain – Put Yourself Out There
“Every pain is a gift. Every pain is an opportunity.”Maxime Lagacé
The only way to become immune to negative comments is to experience them in the first place. Getting used to such negative comments will help you see the truth beyond the negative language or emotions it was concealed with.
You have to constantly put yourself out there until you can safely tolerate harsh feedback from others. No one has ever learned to swim without getting wet. No one has ever learned to chop the wood without getting sweat.
If somebody is standing against you, it means you’ve stood for something you believed in. Accept and be open to such people but be focused to put yourself out there irrespective what everyone thinks. The more you do the tougher you become.
Each time you expose yourself to pain, try to exceed the expectation you have for yourself.
Remember that you better reach the shore you want to be in before the current drives you into places you don’t like.
Stay Committed to Your Vision, not to The Perception of Others
“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”Winston Churchill
There is a story of a frog race that is very relevant for anyone to attain their goals. If you haven’t heard about it, here is what happened.
A bunch of tiny frogs had a competition to reach the top of a tower. The crowd didn’t believe they could reach the top. So they started discouraging the frogs as it was impossible and the tower was too high.
Many frogs started collapsing and the contest was left with only two frogs almost reaching the top. The crowd again yelled at those frogs to give up. So, one of the frogs gave up.
The other frog continued to go up and it showed absolute focus and disregarded what the crowd said. Finally, the frog reached the tower top.
The crowd and the other frogs were wondering what made the frog to stay in the competition and win it. To everyone’s surprise it turned out that the frog was deaf.
Being deaf it couldn’t pay attention to the impossibilities set by the crowd.
If there is one theme that you could take away from this article, let it be this – “You will never achieve anything if you give attention to everything around you”.
Unfortunately, in a world where every entertainment and every silliness around the world is available to people with automated notifications inside a smartphone, it is too easy to get lost and never know what mattered in their lives.
You’re not meant to know everything that people does in their lives through app notifications. You’re not meant to message and be expected to reply to everyone in your contact list regularly. You’re not meant to like and comment on what every celebrity does in this world. You’re not meant to scroll through other people’s lives while you have your family sitting next to you. You’re not meant to capture your lives with silly captions.
If you’re someone who does all those things, I’m sorry to say, you better check where you end up in this life. If you don’t have a vision for yourself, and always looking behind others, then you may end up living like a victim of what other people set up for you – like another tiny frog that collapsed.
It’s very fancy thing to say – “You should care less about others and what people think of you”. I never say, you should think like that.
Instead, you should know what things you should care and care it to the best and become committed to that. Ignore the rest.
Whenever you get criticized, go back and check your vision. If you don’t have a clear vision of your goals, it’s easier to collapse and fall back. This is why goal setting is important.
You should also possess enough conviction in your vision. What I learned is that, when you have enough conviction in whatever you’re doing, people will begin to follow you later.
When you don’t look for constant approval from others by developing a thick skin, you become more independent. You’re free to pursue whatever you want. If you intend to become an inspiration, it’s hard to face criticism and stay motivated. But you never end up living a life that was too silly and simple for anyone to rebuke.