The Benefits of Pissing People Off

241 Comments


“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard (source: uberzombie)

Right alongside the cash and credit cards, I keep a number of strange things in my wallet.

The largest is a folded-up page from the July 6, 2009 issue of Fortune magazine. In a profile, Scott Boras, widely regarded as the most powerful agent in professional baseball, describes a dinner with one of his mentors after a record-breaking contract:

“He said that if you are really effective at what you do, 95% of the things said about you will be negative. Keep your head on straight, don’t get emotional, take the heat, and just make sure your clients are smiling.”

Doing anything remotely interesting will bring criticism. Attempting to do anything large-scale and interesting will bring armies of detractors and saboteurs. This is fine – if you are willing to take the heat.

There are good reasons to be willing, even eager.

Colin Powell makes the case: pissing people off is both inevitable and necessary. This doesn’t mean that the goal is pissing people off. Pissing people off doesn’t mean you’re doing the right things, but doing the right things will almost inevitably piss people off.

Understand the difference.

Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.

Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at your actions and decisions. It’s inevitable, if you’re honorable. Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity: you’ll avoid the tough decisions, you’ll avoid confronting the people who need to be confronted, and you’ll avoid offering differential rewards based on differential performance because some people might get upset.

Ironically, by procrastinating on the difficult choices, by trying not to get anyone mad, and by treating everyone equally “nicely” regardless of their contributions, you’ll simply ensure that the only people you’ll wind up angering are the most creative and productive people in the organization. (full presentation here)

Don’t go through life with kid gloves on. The stakes are too high, and it is oftentimes more important to give people what they need, rather than what they want.

This includes ourselves. By facing the fire early and often, we ensure the confidence and breathing room later to do bigger and better things.

Or to just sit back in a hammock with the peace of mind that only comes with belief that you did your best.

Be criticized for doing small “safe” things, or be criticized for doing big things that you’re passionate about. That is the choice. The criticism will come either way, whether in the form of self-talk (the former) or ankle biters (the latter).

Let the critics criticize. It’s the builders who count.

###

Get the brand-new Expanded and Updated 4-Hour Workweek, published 12/15, which includes more than 50 new case studies of luxury lifestyle design, business building, reducing hours 80%+, and world travel.

Posted on: November 25, 2009.

Please check out Tools of Titans, my latest book, which shares the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers. It was distilled from more than 10,000 pages of notes, and everything has been vetted and tested in my own life in some fashion. The tips and tricks in Tools of Titans changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for sample chapters, full details, and a Foreword from Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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241 comments on “The Benefits of Pissing People Off

  1. Hi Tim,

    Great article. Part of the job of leader is to speak from and lead from the edge. The edge may anger, scare or piss off the masses, even when most of the masses know – suspect – feel that the leader really is right.

    A mentor of mine years ago asked me if I would be able to handle it when my coaching clients got pissed at me… when they got what they were seeking, or when they got something better than that.

    Often we assume that what we want “out there” will make us happy, fulfilled, satisfied, and when we discover that it is “the same – but different — improved yet not perfect” we get pissed.

    Thank you for being real, and being you.

    Mr Twenty Twenty
    That guy who really changed his name to the number of perfect vision, because YOU living your vision perfectly matters.

    Like

  2. To get past anything that bothers you the way is always the same – drag it into the head lamps of reality instead of leaving it lingering around in the shadows of personal emotion, biased view and personal experience. There is nothing more refreshing and mind-soothing than to see the things the way they are… it´s just hard for us to do ;-).

    If possible, take physical action towards resolving the issue/reaching the goal – whatever. No matter how small or minor – just take at least one action towards your goal each day. Do not “overthink” but rather set the course by creating physical results.

    Creating solid results will always piss of people because you do what others cannot or seem to cannot do. Not feeling good about be criticized it is even more a natural process. We are herd animals and everyone subconsciously lives with the fear of rejection from our “herd”, “group” because it used to be vital to stay in your herd.

    You can however overwrite this concern if you can convince your system that there are more people that benefit from what you do than there are people that reject what you are doing.

    Like

  3. Nice post Tim.

    Controversy is one of the best marketing tools I know of.

    It’s kind of ironic that most people would say that they want to do bigger things and yet they spend their time criticizing the people who have done it. Hmmmm ?

    If anyone really wants to go BIG, they better ask themselves “What’s wrong with this picture” ? How can you become what you hate?

    Worrying about what other people think of you is a colossal waste of time.

    It makes you afraid to offend anyone and it limits the true pursuit of your passions.

    Thanks Tim,

    Rick Falls

    Like

  4. Insightful post, really targets our physiological behaviour and our desire for admiration and belonging over powering our need for personal growth. This maybe part of some innate behaviour rooted earlier in our life experiences that reveal themselves in the work environment.

    Like

  5. I have been saying the same things forever. People like to do what is easiest mom and dad thought it was easier to do it themselves (or pay to have it done) so the kids did not learn how to. Bart asked how to do it?? It is a learned skill you learn to do what is right when it needs to be done (even if you make people mad at you) by doing it. Most people do not understand that we learn skills that carry us through life as kids. We either learn how to make our beds and clean our rooms or we learn someone else will do it for us. Once we learn those skills we keep adding to our “life skills tool box” one skill at a time. Taking dishes away from the table to the sink, washing dishes, (By hand not with the dish washer this teaches how to follow instructions and that there are accepted normal ways to do something) help mom fold the clothes, learn to wash clothes. These are called problem solving skills and kids who have their parents do everything for them have no skills to deal with the normal every day problems and frustrations of life. People ask why we have people shooting other people they were not given the skills to cope with life they needed as kids. It is really quite simple.They do not know how to stand on their own two feet and accept criticism without caving in.

    Like

  6. This is a great article.

    I agree, If you are taking action in your life, being who you are and doing your best at it…Not everyone is going to like you.

    For one reason or another there will always (and Hopefully ) be resistance. Resistance builds strength, with out it, we get soft bones, flesh a minds. You can not please everyone and who wants too anyway!

    Thanks, Tim

    -Azstrel

    Like

  7. Tim,
    You probably have no idea how relevant your post was/is to me. I couldn’t figure out why certain powers that be and the media make people out to be so evil when they’re not.
    Even if you disagree about this person (AI, who’s forced to retire last night, due to the media coup,) it makes sense. A person who gives to charity, supports his family and friends, yet stands up to the administration can only end up in the situation he’s in now.
    If and when I ‘make it’., I’ll be sure to remember your words, and to never let those who don’t matter, bring me down.

    Thanks Tim.

    Like

  8. I am so thankful to hear this today.

    I’ve let myself ride the stress of listening to criticism and the disease of making an effort to please. In some bastard and misinformed way, not hurting or offending anyone can be a misguided assurance.

    Time for the madness to end. Thanks for making me think bigger and smarter and building a better now.

    Like

  9. Thank you Tim…

    This post resonates so much that I had to comment.

    I’d like to add one thing… in the world filled with ‘tribes’ some of the people that criticize you may have a hoard of followers…

    Shrug off the criticism … but if it’s truly coming from a source of expertise (even if it is delivered with ridicule, mockery or sarcasm)… then absorbing this criticism and using that to further develop your product, your concept, your business plan may win you a hoard of followers, by proxy.

    my saying “It is better to play and get injured, than it is to watch from the sidelines” ….

    doing involves sticking your neck out there and taking some heat… it’s happens by definition. However, make sure you read people’s motivation for their criticism before deciding weather you want to shrug them off or absorb them.

    Like

  10. This made me think of how Chinese people express criticism. In Taiwan, if you openly make any mild criticism of a superior or authority figure you are finished. Someone who causes any kind of loss of face is never forgiven. Better to keep quiet and think of alternative means to get what you want.

    Office meetings usually just consist of the boss talking and everyone just keeps their mouths shut. They may however criticize blameless coworkers of equal status in order to curry favor with their boss. Same game as in the West but with different rules.

    Like

  11. My philosophy entirely. I have always tried to walk to my own drummer and
    have consequently pissed off my share of people. In today’s busineess world where PC rules especially within the U.S. it is difficult to find people who
    can handle the unvarnished truth about most situations. I am my own person
    and have for the most part succeeded at what I do. Thanks for the article
    which helps support my beliefs and I will keep it as a reminder when I am
    the most frustrated.

    Angie

    Like

  12. Tim, long time, no read, how is the KB action lately? Swung a 2 pood yesterday, I feel great.

    Consequently I would take this a step further and say unless your angry or vengeful, you wont accomplish much either. Vengeance in business has typically lead to the greatest fortunes being created; swearing you will be somebody, proving people wrong, not giving in to adversity or laziness, or the status quo. You need a chip on your shoulder to have an edge, and a big one to really do something. Partying definitely wont get you there. Check out the bio of Ferrari, screw FIAT!

    On the other hand corporations teach you to be neutered and political, swarmy and well dressed, afraid of your own shadow. I have recently shrugged this off my back. Its the entrepreneur who really needs the stinging edge of defeat to fuel the fire; having a disability, being a severe geek/loser as a kid, a tough upbringing, an ugly ego which gets put in check and causes deep self reflection. Channel all of that and you’ve got a winner 😉

    Like

  13. Thank you once again Tim for a fantastic post!

    Being 44 now, I know I’ve spent most of the first 34 of my life worrying about what others thought of me – and as I got older I started to realize that they actually don’t “think” about you nearly as much as you think they do. Most of their time is spent thinking about themselves (and what others think of them!) Such a vicious cycle.

    Now I strive to use this as my ruler when making choices:
    From Carlos Castaneda’s: “Don Juan’s Teaching”
    “Anything is one of a million paths.
    Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path;
    if you feel you should not follow it, you must not stay with it under any condition.
    To have such clarity you must lead a disciplined life.
    Only then will you know that any path is only a path,
    and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you to do.
    But your decision to keep on the path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition…..”

    And it’s that last line that sums it up: To choose free of fear or ambition.
    Here’s to 2010 being a year where we all follow “the path with a heart” free of fear or ambition.

    Warm regards, Kim

    Like

  14. Enjoyed this blog post.

    Reminds me of Dan Kennedy’s quote, “The single biggest secret among ALL highly successful entrepreneurs is immunity to criticism.”

    Like

  15. Hello Tim

    A very good film about this:
    “Mr deeds goes to town”.

    I was in University and a friend of a friend asked for copying a project I had done last year so he could pass without working( Maybe this is rare in USA but in Spain quite common). I strongly opposed and he got MAD.

    Like

  16. This post really pissed me off!

    I am a supervisor at my place of work and now have to reconsider some ass beatings to get some work done. LOL

    The truth is… its best to lead by example. If you walk the walk and are willing to take the hits people will follow.

    I can see how this must be a necessary evil when it comes to business.

    Like

  17. Well, not to seem cliche, but Ted Roosevelt said it best:

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” 4-23-1910 (99 years later still kicks ass)

    In fact the entire speech is something to be treasured: http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html

    Not sure if this is Epicurus worthy or not but to me it’s not the absence of conflict that’s the goal, but the mastery of conflict.
    I’m thankful for you Tim.
    Best,
    Eric

    Like

  18. I’m reading a book called “Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time” -S.Scott. It’s a book about the fears that you reference above that keep us from confronting reality and can manifest itself in a “teddy bear” like demeanor.

    It has a been a great success for me in leading my staff towards excellence and getting the most out of other people as well as myself. But guess what one o the bi-products of confronting fear is…pissing people off. And that’s how you know it’s working.

    Great post Tim. Looking forward to the expanded edition on 12/15.

    Like

  19. Great post Tim!

    I see success and leadership as a flowing river. Obstructions (criticism) can slow you down but not stop you. You will eventually find a new path of least resistance or wear down the obstructions to keep moving. When you apply Pareto’s Law to this, you definitely know who the 20% is, they are the ones pissing everyone else off. Take care…

    Like

  20. Ah yes Scott Boras the baseball anti-Christ…LOL being a Texas Rangers fan and having both A-Rod and Texiera here at one point both represented by Scott we have seen the effects of his hard work and in the end yes his clients are happy, but what about his clients’ fans. Not sooo much. But that’s not relevant. 🙂

    I think that pissing people off can actually be a great motivator to getting things accomplished. Sometimes if one is not pissing someone off then they are not being very effective in their mission.

    Like

  21. Time,
    I could not agree more—which doesn’t always make it easier. There is that line between being a gratuitous asshole and speaking the truth, though. I occassionally stradle that…not proud.

    Take Care,
    Jill

    Like

  22. I think this evolved from a quote by Abraham Lincoln, but it always rings true for me:

    “You can please some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not please all of the people all of the time.”

    Maybe this version makes more sense now…

    “You can piss off some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not piss off all of the people all of the time.”

    Like

  23. hello

    with constructive mind there is only one thing needed – filtration. if critisism helps you being more successful and effective – you take it, otherwise it doesn’t get inside you (or your attention).

    There is such a great environment here, thank you all and personally you Tim for keeping this place alive. So inspirational sometimes the posts and opinions are …

    There is one thing I would like to share with all you:

    Once, about a year before I read your book, me and my friends had an idea to build a platform, where idea-people can meet entrepreneurs, and vice versa, and not just sell or buy ideas (or muses), but together implement them… After your book the work on this idea became inevitable. New Rich men, as Tim call them, need those muses; inventors need their ideas work. When both sides understands the rules and each other needs (which comprehensively said in the 4hww book) – then we’ll see a huge New Rich Nation in action and real life…
    (click on name to see the simple prototype)

    Like

  24. The truth is many people are pretty set in their way of thinking. If you piss them off, it has nothing to do with you personally. Another good quote, “if you only do what easy your life will be hard, if you do what’s hard your life will be easy”. I am not sure who said it.

    Like

  25. Tim:

    Thanks for serving as the next step in my transformation(midlife crisis).
    After reading “The Secret” I am convinced that we all have the power to create the life we want. Interestingly, we get in our own way!?
    I’ll keep you posted as I make a move to the international school system. It occurred to me that I can take what I love about my job (school principal) and create a whole new venue. As I have been thinking about this, your book jumped out at me as I was browsing. it seems you have figured it out at 29. I wish I had had the courage to follow my passions year ago. Oh well, I going to make up for lost time.

    Hey, I may run into you dancing flamenco in Seville, Spain someday. I’m quite good!

    Peace.

    Like

  26. Tim. I LOVED reading this article… PLEASE Keep pumping out the GOLD! Best to You/Yours… Brian-

    PS Do you like doing Video or Writing blogs better? Or Both?

    Like

  27. gee tim, are you saying nice guys finish last? leo durocher beat you to this one. i usually love your stuff, but this is old news…by the way, scott boras achieved his goal with me…money grubbing scum bags like him have ruined the game of baseball.

    Like

  28. I disagree strongly Tim.

    The aim is not to piss people off. That’s combative and a waste of energy. Focus on doing what you want to do.

    Who cares whatever happens as a result of being your own person?

    My online venture pisses tons of people off, but that’s not my goal. If getting people angry was my goal I’ll take a different approach; namely, direct provocation.

    Focus on your goal, do what you do best, and forget about how other people will react to you being you.

    Like

  29. ahhh Tim these are some interesting words of wisdom…very Deepak Chopra-ish

    What was it that inspired you to write something like this? It glows with passion, knowledge and maybe even a hint of anger. What triggered you to write such a piece?

    Like

  30. So many good comments above. Just wanted to add my two cents. Nothing good can be achieved without a little “pain” , we need to be strong in our convictions and stay the course. One of the signs of a great leader is the ability to make tough decisions that will be unpopular with a % of the people they will affect. Being constructive and professional and consistent in your approach not only in business but in life in general is critical. If we waiver on the right way to raise our children they will suffer in the end by being to self indulgent.
    The old adage of “if you stand for nothing you will fall for anything” comes to mind.
    Always make decisions with research, documentation conviction and you will succeed.
    Thanks for the post!
    John

    Like

  31. I especially love the quote: “Pissing people off doesn’t mean you’re doing the right things, but doing the right things will almost inevitably piss people off.” This is so very true!

    Like

  32. This post really comes on time as I have constantly wondered how to “stay under the fire” or away from it completely but realize that in doing so, I will get no where, and be nothing if I always let others criticize and nitpick at every thing that I do. I appreciate this post especially in the light of when I’m trying to do a lot for myself and get to the next stage of my life and for me that takes a lot of mental power first in knowing how strong one is to propel to newer and better things…

    But I digress, and in that digressing thanking you for this article. 🙂

    Like

  33. Dear Tim,

    Your post was interesting and timely for me since I am at another crossroad in my life that will probably require challenging my fears and pissing off a few people. You and others have mentioned that the fear of what others will think of you often causes us to freeze in our tracks. In fact, it is the greatest impediment to success.

    To succeed requires persistence in spite of our own fears and the opinions of other people.. This quality is usually described as the imposition of an iron will toward the attainment of a goal, a partial truth. Persistence is “the physical manifestation of a highly focused mind”. To become highly focused one must truly have an accurate understanding of who he is, and what he really wants. Persistence is derived from our ability sort out the true objects of our desire and focus on them everyday. Fewer than 5% of people can or will do this.

    If we are ever diligent in our search for self-understanding, the outward manifestation will be behaviors consistent with our inner desires, the attainment of our goals, and that which others will describe as persistence.
    Then if they happen to get pissed off, you probably won’t even notice it.

    Thanks for the great post,
    Dale

    Like

  34. Tim, great post! I continue to get so much from your blog. The section taken from Colin Powell sums up the nuts and bolts of leadership so well. I’ve been talking about it for the past couple of days with lots of friends. Wish I could send it to my boss!

    Take care.

    Like

  35. My junior year at Uni. I discovered that I suffered from 2 common illnesses, “fear of failure” and fear of “what if people think less of me”. I don’t know if I’ll ever completely overcome those thoughts, but there are 2 quotes that I constantly repeat to myself that has helped me to get out of my own way: from the movie Three Kings, “You do the thing you’re scared shitless of and you get the courage after you do it, not before!” And my all time favorite (i’m not sure who said it), “if you knew how little people thought of you, you wouldn’t worry about it so much.”

    Like

  36. Tim – Thanks for another great post and for being the catalyst for such an inspirational follow-on discussion. In New Zealand, they call this the “tall poppy” syndrome where everyone tries to chop down the tallest poppies to make them even with everyone else…It’s not one of the nicest aspects of our personalities, but it is human nature and the sooner people accept it, the better able they are to deal with it. Your advice in learning to embrace it and to focus on being builders is dead on.

    I once heard this saying that I think is so appropriate for anyone wrestling with fear of criticism and action – I don’t recall who said it to give proper credit, but I think it deserves being shared (especially for @Bart):

    “I have no intention of tiptoeing through life only to arrive safely at death” ~ unknown.

    In the end, we all end up in the same place, so if you have a good social, moral and ethical gyroscope, you have nothing to fear by being true to yourself and following your heart. This means taking chances and embracing risks. If others have a problem with it and try to knock you down, hold you back or unjustly criticize you – chances are it is they who are the problem – not you. By succumbing to your fear you give other people way too much power over you and why would you want to do that? They have their own lives to screw up – don’t allow them to screw up or marginalize yours!

    Like

  37. Well said, Tim. This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes of all time, one that pops into my mind at least a couple times a week:

    “What other people think of me is none of my business.”

    Like

  38. This idea of pissing people off not only serves in the business world, but in the dating world as well. I find it funny when a guy tries to alter his opinion in order to not piss me off… after the conversations ends I usually decide he is a push over and move on. People who care too much about what other people think are a turn off in any arena.

    Like

  39. Pingback: Sunday links
  40. Thanks for this Tim. Interesting things always bring criticism, and I find it throughout immediate peers sometimes. I try to help these people be less cynic as well as help them understand why they think the way the do. It let’s them see things in a new way, and gives a positive atmosphere amongst your peers. This is great for people you see day to day.

    Like

  41. I totally get you.

    What you speak of is definitely an acquired character trait. Being authentic comes with its price and is indeed painful, yet priceless.

    To summarize what Kerry Gleeson said, you can’t be 100% certain in your decisions at all times, if you’re 80% certain of, execute your plan. It’s more important to take decisions than the correctness of the actual decision.

    In other words, it’s a philosophy towards life. Take the risk, be true to yourself then to wallow with indecisiveness about who you are and what you want out of life. Be passionate.

    So embrace the negative aspect of it too since reality is our friend 🙂 Critical people will always be critical, you can’t expect a change in that.

    Like

  42. Tim-

    Great post.

    Our critics, in a nutshell, are those who are not emotionally equipped to handle the changes that come from ideas, changes, etc (we make them uncomfortable). I believe critics valuable in many ways. They can cause us to check ourselves (in the case of intelligent, rational critics) and evaluate our situation. They can cause us to increase our performance, and can spur greater focus (in the face of degrading critics.)

    Usually when it comes to critics I follow the rule “better to act first and explain later” or something like that.

    Like

  43. I’ve always “esteemed others more intelligent than myself” – and I’m seldom disappointed.

    There have been times when I’ve had to move on from some people but never because I gave up on them or pissed them off. Very few, but some (outside of the core team by the way), have shown character flaws that I could not abide by. In the end the core team is still standing with me, 100% intact for 9+ years.

    Best wishes for a prosperous and happy 2010, Tim, and all the 4HWW believers.
    Bob

    Like

  44. “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

    Not that it matters, but I think it was Aristotle who was originally noted in saying that…Could be wrong though. Its an amazing line any which way, definitely a favorite quote of mine.

    Good thoughts…

    Like

  45. Hey Tim,

    It’s like they say: statues aren’t erected for critics.

    People don’t know what they need until they actually have it. So you have to sell them what they want, but give them what they need. Wasn’t it Ford who mentioned that, before the automobile, if you asked people what they needed they replied, “a faster horse?”

    And because people are resistant to change, hearing detractors is a sign that you’re on the right path to creating something new. Hopefully, what you’re creating is also good of course (as you pointed out, simply ruffling feathers doesn’t mean you’re doing it right).

    I have yet to receive my first big detractors. I’ll keep pushing, refining, and spreading my message through writing and electronic dance music until I start to really piss some people off – then I’ll know I’m on the right track 🙂

    Here’s to doing the right thing and constructively pissing the folks off,
    Oleg

    Like

  46. Tim,

    I have to say that while it seems unfortunate, your post is very true. It seems that whenever I seem to be having some level of success, I also get a lot of criticism. I was working on a webcomic with my wife when this was very much the case and while I was able to realize that these comments didn’t matter, it wasn’t something she could deal with and it led to her discontinued involvement in the project.

    However, I think that this often has to deal more with the creative rather than being a necessity of management. In dealing with supervision and working with people, I find that there are ways which you can avoid pissing people off, at least on a personal level. The philosophy of Taoism has a lot to offer on those subjects.

    Like

  47. The benefit does not come from pissing people off (tho it makes an attractive headline), the benefit comes from doing what you believe to be right and not being concerned what is going on in the minds of others. When we are ahead of the game on an idea, it takes a tremendous amount of character to push forward with it and a tremendous amount of humility to acknowledge when people who oppose your idea might be right.

    Like

  48. I love this post. As a woman who is passionate about construction, I am in both trade school and grad school (MBA) at the same time, and you’d better believe the guys at work hate my guts.

    Like

  49. @bart

    Did anyone answer your post/question?

    I would be interested in this information as well. I definitely have the people pleaser personality and this is debilitating many times along with fear of failure.

    I love to put together action plans but never put the plans into action. Anyone else have/had this problem. Anyone have a success story?

    Mark

    Like

  50. I must admit after seeing you speak at RailsConf I pretty much was turned off and tuned out. However, this post was spot on. I apologize for letting a single interaction judge an entire body of work. I think Im going to chalk RailsConf up to poor moderation.

    Like

  51. I am curious. How much does race fold into this question. Are minorities more likely to be criticized for taking moderately sized risks or doing things on a smaller scale. I think that as a minority one has more of the self doubt and there is inevidibly more external criticism

    Most people here are college educated how many times did you tell yourself that a minoirty student probably did not belong at your college because they were an athlete or tha you thought they got peferencial treatment as a minority.

    College is a good example. Just going to ocllege and getting a little
    flack or doubt or even making other students pissed for tour even being there.

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  52. Often, negative criticism comes from the failure to adequately explain the reasons for the actions taken. I’ve often initially responded negatively, only to have my attitude changed by a well considered and expressed explanation that had me saying, at the least – “I can see that if I’d been in his shoes I’d have made the same decision,” EVEN if I ultimately disagreed. Whether someone is likely to agree or disagree with me, I feel it can be a “teaching moment” for them them at the least and it’s worth the investment of my time.

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  53. So true Tim. Ever since I’ve attempted (and have) taken “the road less traveled by”, I have gotten so much crap and speculation from so many people and I am convinced that much of it comes from jealously of those other people not having the courage to get out on a limb where all the fruit is. I guess if everyone was encouraging of getting others out of their comfort zone and discovering the real joys and fulfillment of life, then everyone would be doing it. Here’s to spending time on the limbs!

    -Scott

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  54. Hi Tim,

    This post is so true. For me in my 20s, I was so obsessed with trying to keep everyone happy in my business. I just wanted to please everyone and I would not confront the people or the situations that needed confronting. As a result, I ended up being kicked in the proverbials on more than one occasion. I cannot blame the people who took advantage of me – instead I realise that it was my responsibility to be a leader and ensure that all transactions I went into were win-win, not lose-win.

    So now I understand that criticism will come when I’m being true to myself… but as you say at the end, I’d much rather get criticism from ankle biters than have to live with my own self-criticism of knowing I could have done better if only I’d worried less about the opinions of others.

    Two quotes that have served me well since I made the above realisation:
    1. It’s not anyone else’s job to like me, it’s just mine!
    2. What other people think of me is none of my business.

    Ever since I came to terms with the fact that I cannot please everyone – instead I must focus on being authentic and doing what’s right I have had so much more freedom in my life. And amazingly, I’ve made a lot more true friends and great business connections.

    To being the best you,

    Niro

    PS: Another quote I just remember – Be the best you that you can be. There is nobody else who can do it as well as you.

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  55. Great post. it’s funny because many of the men and women we revere today were EXTREMELY unpopular by the majority during their times. A majority of American colonists did not support the sucession from England. If you reflect on anyone who has done something great they were usually pretty unpopular during their times. It’s until the benefits of what they’ve accomplished is achieved do they ever begin to receive appreciation.

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  56. Critics are builders–good ones are at least. Construction workers not only construct buildings, but tear down old, dilapidated ones too.

    The point of being a critic is to destroy that which needs destroying.

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  57. Duff, this blog is preaching to a chior its not really up to critique from us because we generally agree with the contents or we would be reading a different blog. So if Tim were fishing for criticism hed be a complete moron to search here. When he does see some on this blog hed also be stupid not to read it and analyze a little bit but thats just how things work.

    Its kind of funny I used this blog to become the person I wanted to be someone who people could know and trust with their issues. However lots of people like to say things about me behind my back, which I think is a good thing. If they arent willing to say things in front of me then they arent willing to let them be tested. Its one thing to say to a mutual friend that their friend is an asshole or whatever. Its another thing to say it in person. I have never recieved a personal insult from anyone who I wouldnt consider to be a friend. I have however heard that I raped a girl and stabbed someone from people who never met me and didnt know I was standing near enough to hear them. The girl that I supposedly raped was my girlfriend at the time and I never had sex with her because I respected the fact that she was a virgin and left it to her decission whether or not to do it while we were going out.

    Piss someone off and you can get to hear really funny things.

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  58. Tim, you’re so lame…
    Your blog sucks.
    Just get a life! will you… Stop bumming around and wasting your talents – this is becoming quite pathetic.
    Aargh!

    PS: just kidding – was trying to piss YOU off… A wise man just told me it could benefit me 😉

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  59. I’ve been grappling with how to make some changes in my career and have realized that I am a bit afraid of criticism and have kept things relatively “safe” for the past few years. I guess it’s not always comfortable or desirable to innovate and challenge myself everyday, but it is also very easy to slip into complacency. In any case, after a few cushy years I think it’s time to grow a pair once again. Thank you for the great article and the encouragement!

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  60. I had been rolling along through 2009 like a champ. Things working magically, business doing well, helping a lot of people. Then BOOM this week, OMG, I started a 7 day detox and the world begins to crash, income cut in half, tenants (who i take abundant care of) begin to complain and say really bad things! OMG, I go to yoga, come home for some brown rice, and veggies, I walk out on the grass and think this earth will be here long after I am gone. What am I and who do I think I am that any of it matters. Perspective. Do I roll up in a cocoon, shut out the world, and hope to be reborn in a better form? General Foch, WWI, “My right has been rolled up, my left has been smashed, my center has been driven back. I have ordered an attack on all fronts.” Pity the poor bastards that served under him. I have Plan A and Plan B mapped and under advisement, things are damn tough, but I am ordering an attack on all fronts.

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  61. Great Thoughts! There is a reason why there are 24 people of the field and 80,000 in the stands…..the easy thing to do is sit back, cross arms and judge. Be a Player not a Critic!

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  62. Tim this is great. It’s such a learned trait to realize we have to allow ourselves to be disliked at times. When we try to please everyone we’re often only pleasing the people we could care less about and who can’t help us.

    Also I like your new “Random” show with Kevin Rose. Great stuff in China!

    Marshall

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  63. I AM SO INTO THIS POST. To be honest, nothing really new here, but the logic is simple. In order to do anything stellar or remotely interesting, pissing people off is part of the game. Now, you can cry about it, or use it to your advantage. I used to really freak out when there would be a negative comment about something I’d done, but not only does your skin get thicker, but if there is no controversy…. well… it all ceases to be interesting!

    So thank you Tim for reminding us the importance of riling people up now and again 😉 Tina Fey rocked it at the Golden Globes last year in her speech: “if you ever start to feel too good about yourself, they have this thing called the Internet! You can find a lot of people there who don’t like you. I’d like to address some of them now! BabsonLacrosse, you can suck it.”

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  64. It’s interesting when your not responsible or successful in life more people like you but when you expand your mind and go after your dream some or most of your friends disappear.

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  65. Tim,
    If you are living 100% through passion (i.e. heart), then I find it very surprising that you end up pissing off 95% of people. I suppose there are some rare examples in history of those who were so far ahead of their time that only later were they understood or appreciated. But with a bestselling book, I’m not sure that that would be the case with you.

    I’m not sure if you are inferring in your post that you piss off 95% of people OR that you’re just making the point that you are okay if you piss off 95% of people OR that your goal is to piss off 95% of people.

    Either way, I suppose that is one path through life, but certainly not the only path to be a good leader.

    Thanks for always thinking outside the box!

    Tisha

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