35 experts advise how to handle negative comments (part 2)

By radek

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35 experts advise how to handle negative comments - Part 2

  1. Outside Criticism
  2. Top 5 List of Negative Comments:
    David Cain [raptitude.com]: It's not about you
    1. "Get a real job"
    2. Sally Hope [sallyhope.com]: Make a commitment!
      Cris Nikolov [motivationgrid.com]: Prove them wrong
    3. "That’s not possible, just give up"
    4. Akmal Sagdullaev [volcanoapp.com]: Balance negativity with positivity
    5. "There’s so much competition already, why would they pick you?"
    6. Brendan Baker [startofhappiness.com]: Take a deep breath
      Rhoda Jordan [rhodajordan.com]: Use mental Aikido!
      Mike Vardy [productivityist.com]: Fix what isn't working
    7. "Nobody will pay for that!"
    8. Wilson Lau [richeminds.com]: Ignore comments from passers-by
    9. "How’s your pet project going?"
    10. Sid Savara [sidsavara.com]: Know what you are capable of achieving
      Henrik Edberg [positivityblog.com]: Listen to the ones who did what you're trying to do

    See more:

IV. Outside Criticism

Top 5 List of Negative Comments

To sum up this section, I’ve made a list of top 5 negative comments you can hear from people to discourage you.

It is worth reminding, that since we all are different, so is our perception of criticism. To many of us, unfortunately, negative comments outweight the positive ones. So before you dive in, read this advice from David Cain

David Cain - raptitude.com
David Cain


For me the most discouraging thing is always certain critical blog comments. For some reason — and I don’t think this is unusual — a critical comment has a much bigger effect on us than a dozen positive ones.

The trick for dealing with it, if you can remember, is to recognize what has actually happened. Nobody is evaluating you as a person. They don’t know you well enough to do that. All that has happened is someone out there has reacted to words they saw on their screen. They’re having a very predictable emotional reaction to ideas that don’t jive with their beliefs, and they’re expressing it in a comment… just like all of us have a million times when surfing the web.

More about David Cain

David Cain has been running Raptitude.com since 2009, teaching thousands of his readers how to handle the tricky thing called life. His list of interest is as long as varied, therefore don’t expect sterile advice from the laboratory, but real-life experience you can totally relate to.

If only 1 negative comment had the same weight as the positive one, we wouldn’t be having that topic today. Unfortunately, we take the good things for granted, and notice only those rare, unpleasant ones, giving them far more importance.

The lesson to take from David’s example is that the critical comment is not about you as a person. You created something someone didn’t like, but that doesn’t make you a bad human. While I always recommend you put your heart into your creations, I also suggest you detach that heart from the negative comments if you receive any. It’s unhealthy!

Having said that, without further ado, here’s the top 5 list of negative comments:

Number 5 — “Get a real job”

That is an absolute classic. If you ever tried your luck in business and didn’t make a million overnight, you must have heard that comment at some point.

Sally Hope - sallyhope.com
Sally Hope


The most discouraging thing that happened to me while building my business wasn’t just one “thing” or event but rather an attitude that I would get from a lot of people. I felt like people didn’t take me seriously, didn’t believe in me, and were wondering when I would get a “real job”.

The last time that happened to me I was home visiting my family for the holidays. My parents expressed concern about my career trajectory and I remember breaking down, crying, and getting angry and I said to them “I’m gonna make it…you just watch.”

And it was that moment that everything changed for me. I knew I had a vision of what I wanted to create, but I’m not sure I ever drew a line in the sand. Committing to them and to myself switched something for me and within that year, I built the thing that took my business and life to the next level. Commitment and believing in yourself is key.

More about Sally Hope

Sally Hope is a founder of her blog, SallyHope.com, and that was the easiest part of the introduction. Bike-riding country-dancing bass-playing business-owning yoga-teaching van-travelling life-coaching blog-writing people-helping renegade. You don’t expect banality in her blog posts now, do you?

I told Sally I’m still having similar “fear” when visiting parents for the holidays, because that “get the real job” thing, that can ruin the entire holiday mood in a second, will, for sure, show up at some point.

People often are afraid to talk about their ideas, because that gives them a safety net — if they fail, no one is going to know about it and no one is going to judge them. The most annoying sentence of all times, “I told you”, won’t be heard. But sharing your plan with your loved ones, or with a bigger audience, can be a great motivational factor too. Because now you have no choice but to prove them wrong. We wouldn’t want to let them have that satisfaction, would we?

Stop fooling around and get the real job

"Get the real job" they say...

Need a less risky way? Cris has slightly different solution to the same problem:

Cris Nikolov - motivationgrid.com
Cris Nikolov


I’ve heard it all, after all I started the business from Bulgaria, on my own without any budget or knowledge about blogging.

The most discouraging I’ve hard was — Why are you working so hard, this is bullshit man — you will never make it — better get a decent job.

How I overcame it?

Well, I was just so driven and I wanted to prove everyone wrong. My friends that were telling me that this is not possible were my biggest source of motivation. I had to prove them wrong and I had to prove my self right — and I did it, 6 months after I started — I already had a profitable business model.

More about Cris Nikolov

Cris Nikolov is the founder of MotivationGrid.com — the biggest self improvement brand in the world. He has been Featured on Forbes, Addicted2Success and HuffingtonPost. His mission is to spread knowledge, experience and positivity to the rest of the world.

This is more of an underdog scenario. Everyone tells you you’re not being serious, just get a real job. Perhaps you get into argument with them, but all you get are some pity nods of compassion. And then, few months, perhaps years later, you come back just to show them that you nailed it.

Revenge… Sweet revenge. It’s like eating ice creams in the summer. You know you shouldn’t, you know about the calories, you know it might affect your health (barely, but still)… but isn’t that creamy, cold, melting taste worth it, at least sometimes?

Number 4— “That’s not possible, just give up”

I heard a funny story of a guy who conceived a child in his 60’s. When asked how he did that, he responded “Everyone’s telling you something can’t be done. And then comes that one guy who didn’t hear them saying it, and he does it”

Akmal Sagdullaev - volcanoapp.com
Akmal Sagdullaev


The biggest discouragement is when people tell that it’s not possible and tell me to give up. I’ve had many failures where I went bankrupt, lost everything and got into debt. There are some people who remind me of those and tell me that I should just give up and get a safe job.

The first thing I do is to try to understand their intentions. They haven’t achieved anything themselves and usually want others to be the same. They don’t criticize or give advice pragmatically but want us just to give up.

What I do at those times is to match those negative comments with equal positive ones. I ask for advice or comments of people who achieved what I want to achieve. If I don’t know any, I watch interviews of successful people on Internet. Successful people don’t tell the reasons to give up, but things we need to fix or do differently to be successful. Just like people who want us to give up, successful people also want us to be like them, to be successful.

So what I would tell others is, don’t get advice from sculptor when buying a jewelry. If we want to be successful, we should listen to and get advice from successful people.

More about Akmal Sagdullaev

Akmal Sagdullaev created VolcanoApp.com blog and the iPhone app by the same name. The app is designed to share inspiring quotes, and the blog — to share all the knowledge from the self-development fields there is. Productivity, motivation, self-help beautifully delivered in well written articles.

That in a way tackles an issue I raised earlier, getting the expert advice from people with no portfolio.

But Akmal’s solution to the problem is quite clever indeed. Got a negative comment? Get a positive one, watch the motivational video, read some inspiring stories. As many as it takes to bring you back on track. Just don’t give up, that’s the worst choice you can make!

Number 3— “There’s so much competition already, why would they pick you?”

I don’t know, shall we ask one of thousands clothing or food manufacturers? Or any motor company that dared to build their own vehicle ever since Ford T has been created?

Brendan Baker - startofhappiness.com
Brendan Baker


The most discouraging thing for me was my family making comments such as “why would people want to listen to you?”, “there are hundreds of people doing that already”, and “just focus on your job, you need to support yourself financially”.

Agh, these comments are so debilitating… but in my line of work I need to role model what I’m teaching.

So whenever I heard comments like this, I would pause, take a deep breath, say “thanks for the comment” and not enter into an argument or try convince them otherwise. I would focus myself on my own mission in life (that is, to serve in this capacity), and remind myself of all the positive feedback I have received from the people I have impacted through my blog.

My service is bigger than myself.

More about Brendan Baker

Brendan Baker will show you where the StartOfHappiness.com is. He stepped out of the corporate ladder he was vigorously climbing, and now is successfully running his motivational and self-development blog with annual epic list of the top self-development blogs. Seeking happiness? You’re in the right place!

Getting into argument is usually tremendous waste of… of pretty much everything. If people get emotional about the reasons, the chances you convince them are almost none. Now it’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about the ego, and they simply won’t let you win.

So just like Brendan suggests, take a deep breath, save yourself time and energy, acknowledge their point of view and focus on your mission.

You can try this one too:

Rhoda Jordan - rhodajordan.com
Rhoda Jordan


One of the most discouraging things I heard when I first started my blog and business was: How are you going to get people to pay attention to you? There are already so many others out there, doing what you do.

But I was determined to find a way. And in order to do that, I had to find my voice. I had to trust in my own unique way of writing and teaching. At first, I didn’t want to honor that. I just wanted to follow the pack and keep things safe. But as I got more confident, and allowed my authentic self to come through, I started to attract more readers and students.

Those words of discouragement actually encouraged me to dig deeper and to bring the truth of who I was to the surface. So to anyone who is facing resistance, who is coming up against negativity from others, the trick is to use the discouragement to motivate you. Don’t let the negativity tear you down. Look at it as an opportunity to take your power back and remind yourself that you’ve got this. Stay true to your voice and to your own unique vision. Let your authenticity guide you.

More about Rhoda Jordan

Rhoda Jordan on her blogs RhodaJordan.com and FemininePowerCircle.com posts about spirituality, femininity, development, inspiration and self-improvement. On top of that she writes for Huffington Posts, runs femininepowercircle.com, heals, teaches and make independent movies with her husband. Rhoda also practiced boxing for several years, so pay extra care when commenting on her articles!

That is more advanced technique, the ability to use enemy’s energy to your advantage. Mental Aikido. Not only that requires certain knowledge, wisdom and significant spiritual experience, but loads of persistence to accumulate the negativity and turn it into something productive.

But once mastered, you’re untouchable!

Success can be also consciously rehearsed, just like in Mike’s example.

Mike Vardy - productivityist.com
Mike Vardy


The most discouraging thing I heard was that there would be no way that my voice would be able to rise above the amount of noise in the productivity space.

I rose above it and recovered by simply being more deliberate with my message and not wavering with putting my insights out there. Over time, my voice was heard more and more and I’ve continued to evolve and grow.

The key is to never stop going but not to burn yourself out along the way.

I’ve managed to find harmony in my work and life and I think that shines through at Productivityist. Putting all of that into perspective has allowed be to create, innovate, and thrive along the way. (And I pay far less attention to discouraging things these days as a result.)

More about Mike Vardy

Mike Vardy is the founder of Productivityist.com. Featured on The Huffington Post, Lifehacker, SUCCESS Magazine, Fast Company (to name a few), his blog, podcasts, coaching, workshops, and productivity products will leave you with no excuses to be unsuccessful in life. Not a single one.

Persistence is truly the key, and people who didn’t give up, eventually achieved success in one way or another. But if you see that competition is on every corner, market pretty saturated, and you just don’t feel like relying on pure luck is your thing, do something to stand out.

George M. Cohan said once “I don’t care what you say about me, as long as you say something about me, and as long as you spell my name right”. This sentence has no expiration date, is as valid now as it was back then. Still, we recommend you try to stand out in a positive way.

Number 2— “Nobody will pay for that!”

My response to that comment is the same for years now: “Obviously you haven’t heard of Marmite, have you?”

I don't know a single person that would like Marmite, but just the fact that it's been on the market for over 100 years and is being sold internationally, should be pretty much all the motivation you will ever need

Wilson Lau - richeminds.com
Wilson Lau


The most discouraging thing I have heard is “it’s impossible to make money on the internet selling digital products, there is no demand for it.”

Most people assume that if they are not the target audience, nobody is going to buy, but they are not the ones giving you the money. You have to research on the hungry market that people are willing to buy and provide the right offer to them, that’s when you will build a profitable business.

Your friends and your family are not going to give you the money but your targeted audience are. So listen to their problems, concerns and provide a solution for them.

Free bonus: Online marketing advice from Wilson (read more)

The only way to see if an idea is working is to get more data by doing key word volume research or run paid ads to see if people are actually clicking on your ad.

What have helped me greatly in my business is to tap on paid traffic. That’s the fastest way to get more data and to scale your business faster. Another strategy that have helped me greatly is to attend Masterminds with the top JV partners and get into their circle.

That’s where you can start to collaborate with each other and cross promote each other. With that said, your traffic from your mailing lists must be quality enough to ensure long term partnerships.

Master cold and warm traffic well using email marketing, you will not go wrong in growing your business.

More about Wilson Lau

Wilson Lau is running RicheMinds.com to share his experience in building successful online business, but also successful life in general. Impressive achievements for his young age, entrepreneurial mindset and inspiring personal story. Recommended especially for online business owners.

Nothing to add! Having worked on achiever.be for some time now, I have heard way too often that what we’re working on will never work, because there’s no need for it, or there’s already product X, Y or Z on the market (there really isn’t). The thing is, we were asking people who were not our audience anyway, and we took their words pretty seriously, letting ourselves feel down. Funnily enough, people who are our audience seem to like it, based on the comments we receive.

I bet the same people would criticize Twitter, Pinterest or any given Blog, featured in this Expert Roundup, prior to the launch.

So take Wilson’s advice to heart if you’re building some product. People who tell you nobody will want your creation, are usually the ones that are generally not interested in it in any way. Those who are, on the contrary, will usually share their opinion and advice on how you can improve it, so they’ll be happy to give you their money.

Number 1 — “How’s your pet project going?”

This is my favourite. It has this funny, fake benevolence and hard to hide undertone of sarcasm. Can’t even imagine how many people never recovered from that one.

I tell you who did though. Sid Savara.

Sid Savara - sidsavara.com
Sid Savara


I think the most discouraging thing was not a particular negative comment — but rather the underlying assumptions people make, where they think smaller than you do — and do not expect as much from you as you do from yourself.

For example, I didn’t know how it would happen, but I felt deep down that I was doing something that was going to be big one day — that I would be able to impact huge numbers of people’s lives and connect with many people across the world.

However, people would make comments like “I hope your pet project is going well” or “Glad to see you are still enjoying it” — with a ton that implied it was something not serious, something trifling — when the truth was it was something that meant a lot to me, and that I did take seriously. Even when I reached the point of tens of thousands of visitors a day, sometimes as much a 100,000 a day, people didn’t realize the level of success I had achieved or what I thought was possible in my mind. Now of course it is a well known site, and I get emails from friends who tell me they were searching for guidance in their life, and were surprised to come across my advice and find it ring true.

My trick, and what I encourage everyone with a goal and a dream is — don’t worry where you start from, or what other people think is possible for you. Only you know how far you can truly go in your life and what you can achieve.

More about Sid Savara

Sid Savara is a guy who gets the things done. Running his blog SidSavara.com while living in Hawaii, makes me so jealous I should stop writing now. But his great blog posts on motivation, productivity and self improvement, that got him featured on CBS, Forbes, Fortune, Inc. or The Washington Post, deserve your close attention.

As far as sarcasm is a form of intelligence (the highest form, to be specific), it shouldn't be used recklessly. But not everyone realizes that. Sid’s trick is a clever one though, if you focus on the finish line, and not let people who’re not cheering you up, stop you from running, it will be much harder to put you down.

Henrik has another way to deal with it:

Henrik Edberg - positivityblog.com
Henrik Edberg


The most discouraging thing I heard was probably that people in my surroundings thought, that my website and idea was just a small and somewhat pointless hobby, and not anything I could ever build into something, that could make an impact in people’s lives and become a real full-time business.

In those situations I chose to read and listen to what people who had actually done what I wanted to do had to say about this and about their path to success. That gave me a jolt of constructive optimism and got me into the right gear to move forward again.

More about Henrik Edberg

Henrik Edberg is a person behind widely popular PositivityBlog.com. Through his productivity / self help / motivation oriented blog posts, he generates more endorphins that you could ever get from the sun rays in Sweden, where Henrik is based. He transformed his life for better, and will help you to transform yours.

Whatever your goal is, it will always be different than anyone’s else — primarily because you are different than anyone else. Still you can find people who achieved success in the similar field, similar place, or at least faced similar difficulties.

Read their stories, find the interviews where they spoke about their journey, or even try to drop them an email. Just so you can get some positive energy to put to your fuel tank.

Gaudi is a great inspiration to those who keep on hearing something can't be done

Gaudi must have had really hard times when "pitching" his ideas. But that is why he's one of the most famous architects ever

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