Picture yourself standing in the middle of a crowded stadium. You’re in the heat of competition in front of 100,000 screaming fans, and at least half of them aren’t cheering for you. Some of that 50% even hate you. They don’t just hate you, they are letting you know why and precisely how much they despise you. Maybe even with disgusting comments about your family.
You actually enter into your own personal version of that stadium every day in the sport of business. They’re called haters, and you probably don’t have enough of them. That’s right, you read that correctly. I am suggesting you need more haters. Why? Because there's a direct correlation between the amount of success you enjoy and the number of haters you have.
Many experts will tell you that if you want to achieve greatness, you have to be willing to be hated. I spin it a little differently. You should love the hate, because that means you’re on the right track. There’s a big difference between willingness and love. Every top achiever has their critics—even Michael Jordan to Steve Jobs did—yet they were still wildly successful.
Haters are people who think they know the route to success, but they never actually get in the plane to fly themselves there.
Who do haters hate?
Successful people. You don’t see nobodies go on the Jimmy Kimmel show and read mean tweets about themselves—it’s called celebrity mean tweets for a reason. We all have our own version of Kimmel’s celebrity mean tweets, and with technology today it takes the form of not just social media but also Yelp and Amazon reviews and the comment section of articles.
When I published my most popular article, What Dating A Model Taught Me About Chasing Opportunities, I was called everything from a sexist pig, to other unmentionables which the website deleted and my email inbox was flooded with people saying I should be fired as a columnist. Apparently a couple readers were asleep in school during the lesson on analogies. Some great hater comments included: “reading this made me cringe”, “this is stupid”, “face palm”, “waste of time”, and “he’s extremely shallow”.
My personal favorite was: “Objectification of women, and yes, the analogy / metaphor stinks. Can't believe that the editors posted this. Wake up and smell the coffee. If they replaced model with CFO, or something that involved some brains, or personality, then I could agree. If we want people to aspire something, then don't put us in the dark ages.”
There’s absolute value in having haters. Gene Siskel, of the legendary movie critics Siskel and Ebert, gave a poor review to the blockbuster movie The Silence of the Lambs—he absolutely hated it. The Silence of the Lambs went on to win an Oscar. Rolling Stone magazine gave Nirvana’s album Nevermind just three stars. Then after being publicly humiliated about their review, they later admitted it was one of the top twenty albums of all time. Rolling Stone didn’t like Led Zeppelin back in the seventies or Jimi Hendrix before that. They admitted in all three of those reviews that they probably did indeed misjudge them.
This all reinforces the fact that we need haters in our businesses, but we cannot get caught up on what critics says about our work. There’s value in haters—even in the one-star Amazon reviewers as it turns out, because they are an authentic reflection of our cultural norms. That’s right, take solace in the fact that haters are the norm.
Why do haters hate?
Criticism is self-hate turned outward. I believe hate is often a sign of weakness, envy and fear. Haters hate on you because you’re doing what they cannot, will not or are too afraid to attempt.
Haters are a natural part of the growth of your business. When you’re new there will be critics, when you’re good there will be haters, and when you’re excellent they will turn into admirers. The question is: Are you willing to be attacked and criticized as a person to grow your brand?
There is one way to avoid having haters. Sit on the sidelines, do nothing, don’t set goals, be average and no one will judge or hate you.
Criticism and hate are the price you pay for taking your business to the big time. So don’t let the sound of your haters overwhelm you, you only give them power if you listen to what they say. Ignore the noise and use your haters as fuel for the fire. They’re hating you because you’re on to something and are doing big things. In a way they are one of the greatest forms of feedback you can get.
Case in point: The more Trump haters come out of the woodwork, the more his numbers increase in the polls. Newsweek even commented that he had more haters than voters. Howard Stern’s haters actually listen to his radio show longer than his fans do on a daily basis, because they want to hear what he would say next. Lots of haters equals lots of success.
Remember: They can doubt you, they can fight you—but they never stop you. Feel free to comment below, share a mean tweet or email me to tell me my writing stinks.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.
Photos from Flickr (Mario Millions) and Wikimedia Commons