“I find Rich Litvin repugnant…”
OUCH! I read these words on a YouTube comment about one of my videos.
I read that comment, my face flushed red and I literally heard the sound of my blood pounding in my head. I felt dark tendrils of anger wrapping from my back to my heart. My breathing got shallow and my heart immediately constricted.
I felt hurt. Deeply.
I went into total denial. “Nope. You’re wrong. You’re an idiot. There’s no truth at all in what you wrote.”
Then I felt ashamed.
Then I crossed my fingers and hoped that no one else had read their comments.
Then I started to make them bad and wrong and I made up all kinds of stories about them in my mind, to make myself feel better.
You know, I can get hundreds of positive comments and they’ll roll off and barely register with me. But one single critical comment can shut me down emotionally for days, and I think about nothing else.
As a kid, my mum used to teach me the old nursery rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt you.”
But it’s not really true, right?
I felt hurt when kids teased me when I was 11 years old. And I feel hurt to this day when someone says something about me.
Why does it hurt so much?
Throughout history, if you stood out, you’d probably die.
If people talked about you or didn’t like you, you might die.
If you upset your tribe or your village, you’d be banished. And you’d die.
If you upset your neighbor they might want to fight you. And you could die.
We’ve all heard the statistic that people are more afraid of public speaking than death.
What that really means is that most people think – deep down – “If I speak out, I’ll die…
You are literally the product of thousands of generations of humans who learned to fit in, to NOT stand out.
Fitting in is hard-wired into your DNA because most of your ancestors who had no fear of speaking out never got to pass their genes onto the next generation.
You’re not here to be liked
For most of us, the comments on a Facebook post or the replies to an email or the reactions to a speech are not going to end in our death.
I get it, those things can feel intense.
But that’s the legacy of all those ancestors of yours doing their best to keep you safe. That’s the voice of your mum or dad in your head, dialing up the fear inside of you, to keep you safe.
Look, some people will love you no matter what you do or say.
But let’s be honest, there are a few people out there who can’t stand you – no matter what you do, or say.
And the bigger truth is that there are over 7 billion people on this planet, who – no matter what you do, or say – will never even know you exist!
The insidious nature of Facebook is that for almost a decade, it’s been encouraging us to seek ‘likes.’
But it’s the like button that will kill you!
It will kill your productivity, it will kill your creativity, it will kill your spirit.
So, here’s the thing…
You’re not here to be liked.
In fact, your very job is to polarize people. That’s not the same as deliberately trying to upset people. It means that your mission is to turn people into 0s and 10s. The zeros will be done with you and head off to find THEIR people. And the 10s will love you no matter what you do.
As Elbert Hubbard once said: “To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
Step up. Stand out.
Tell me, what are you holding back from in this moment? What fears are slowing you down? When did you last let a critic stall you in your tracks?