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How I handle negative critics

Ramit Sethi

Here are some of the names I’ve been called in the last MONTH:

  • “Scammer”
  • “Sellout”
  • “Rip-off artist”
  • “He lies about everything”
  • “Total BS…none of his stuff is good anyway”

How would you feel if someone said this about you?

How would little Ramit handle this?

ramit_elementaryHe would cry

 

It’s a funny quirk of human psychology: You can get tons and tons of nice comments…and then the MINUTE somebody says something negative about you, you can’t stop thinking about it.

As someone who gets thousands of comments a day, I’ve had to learn this first-hand.

Take a look at this great Facebook post from one of my students:

naginafbcommentWatch the video: How Nagina built an online business

 

AWESOME! I get dozens and dozens of comments like this every day. It feels great to know I’m making an impact.

But then…I get comments like this:

“Ramit is a media whore”

deadpenguinlifehacker

“Ramit, you don’t have any credentials and you’re not rich”

notconvincedcomment

Do they realize what it’s like to get these comments?

Every day, every month, for over 10 years?

It doesn’t matter that I turn down millions of dollars in revenue every year by prohibiting people with CC debt from joining my flagship courses (which, to my knowledge, is unheard of).

It doesn’t matter that I give away 98% of my material free.

They have a viewpoint and they really, really hate me.

The most frustrating part is how these hateful comments are the ones that stick out the most. I can get 100 positive messages, but the ONE negative one sticks out.

It’s crazy. Why do we let some random anonymous troll ruin our day?

When I started out, I saw how one negative comment could ruin my entire week. I would fixate on it, obsess over it, wake up days later with that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.

You can’t focus on helping others when you’re consumed with worrying about random critics.

In fact, I wrote all about how I handle negative critics here.

You know what’s changed now? I don’t get mad at random critics. In fact, I’m amused by them.

boorrinngcommentMy response to this emailer

 

I’ve realized something after years of getting these emails.

If you want to criticize me, feel free. But what are you doing about it? How are you helping people lead Rich Lives? Building a business? Turning down millions of dollars by prohibiting people with CC debt from joining your flagship courses?

Oh…you’re not? You’re just sending a rant-filled email to some guy on the internet? Not interested.

This mental toughness takes years to develop. Think about the critics in your life: Is your family unsupportive of you wanting to try a new job? (“You should just be happy you have a job at all.”)

I’ve heard heartbreaking stories about people’s spouses being critical.

Or maybe your friends constantly try to sabotage your weight loss.

To me, the best thing I can do to prove them wrong is succeed. Not argue, not debate. Just show them through my actions.

If you’re thinking about starting something new to live a Rich Life, it is INEVITABLE that you will get critics questioning you. Do not be surprised. Expect it. Plan for it.

And know that one of the most common questions you will get is about your credentials.

“What are your credentials?”

Do you realize that people STILL ask me about my credentials? It’s not enough that I’ve helped tens of thousands of people find their Dream Job or start online businesses.

People are obsessed with knowing your credentials because it’s the only worldview they know.

I don’t need fancy letters after my name to make a positive impact. And neither do you. Put another way, most of the successful, influential people in the world don’t have PhDs.

Critics love to throw around this “gotcha” question to make you feel inferior. “What makes YOU think you can teach this? What are your CREDENTIALS?”

They look at me expecting me to wilt like a flower in the sun. I smile back politely. “I think credentials matter for certain industries, but my biggest credential is the results I get for my readers.”

This took me years to internalize. I don’t want you to have to go through what I went through, because I thought about giving up lots of times when I got these horrifically mean comments.

So I recorded a video showing you how to overcome these critics.

What if you’re not an expert?

How do you know you’re ready to teach something to the rest of the world?

Aren’t there already other people doing it better than you?

Here’s how I think about being “expert enough”: You don’t have to be the world’s best. Just better than the people you’re helping.

Here’s what we’ll cover in the video below:

  • The only credential you need to run a successful online business (it doesn’t require years of study or experience — hell, you may already have it)
  • How you can start a business with skills and knowledge you already have, but don’t think are valuable
  • 2 ways to connect deeply & authentically with your customers
  • Discover a great business idea using the “what if I were perfect?” technique

Enter your email here for Part 2 of my Launch Your Online Business series: Why would anyone listen to you?

100% privacy. No games, no B.S., no spam. When you sign up, we'll keep you posted with a few emails per week.

12 Comments

 
  1. Ryan Stephens

    Another great way to handle negative critics is to tap into your inner psychopath.

    Psychopaths are undeterred by negative feedback and certainly don’t let it prevent them from pressing forward and taking action in pursuit of their goals.

    From Kevin Dutton’s “The Wisdom of Psychopaths”

    Psychopathy(if that’s what you call it) is like a medicine for modern times. If you take it in moderation it can prove extremely beneficial. It can alleviate a lot of existential ailments that we would otherwise fall victim to because our fragile psychological immune systems just aren’t up to the job of protecting us.

    Though, to your point, it’s also mission critical to understand who is providing the feedback. Psychopaths don’t pause for negative feedback and as a result don’t learn from their mistakes.

    tl;dr When an idiot provides idiotic feedback, adopt the mindset of a psychopath and press forward with ruthlessness, focus, mental toughness, fearlessness, mindfulness, and action. When someone you trust, who is where you eventually want to be provides feedback, listen, take heed and learn from the feedback, but after ruminating for a bit… take action!

  2. Carmen

    I find it interesting that the people quick to criticize Ramit do it under a pseudonym. If they were “oh so smarter”, they wouldn’t have no problem showcasing their “expertise criticism” under their real names. Makes me wonder how much of the real them sucks donkey balls.

    It has taken me a long time as well to develop mental toughness against critics. I was the type that would obsessed and cry over what critics would say and good gracious, some of them were vicious. I use to go into deep depressions over the crap.

    Now, I have pretty much learned to not give a damn anymore. I just brush my shoulders off. However, I still have 99 problems, but critics ain’t one. 😀

    Well other critics, sometimes I can be my own worst critic (still working on that!).

    With that said, I don’t mind taking constructive criticism from someone who knows better and can help me do better (example: My shark tank mama). I can’t stand the types who think they are above imperfection and refer to everybody as a jealous hater.

    Thank you for all the applicable knowledge that gives real results, Ramit.

  3. Adam Thomas

    There is nothing worse than an anonomoyus critic. It always feels like they know your weaknesses, even the ones you never told anyone.

    Even so – It is amazing wha

    Thanks for the video Ramit – Dig the beard…good look!

    • Adam Thomas

      Whoops – the comment cut off (my pinky got excited!)

      The amazing things happen when you learn how to push forward. Showing up everyday, creating good work, and realizing that critics only show up when you are making a difference.

      Its about value!

      And once again – Good to see others embracing the beard – I started to myself.

  4. Kalyani

    Criticism is something I have had to live with for the last 12 years of my life, since I got married. Unfortunately, I cannot do anything right as far as my in-laws are concerned. It took me 11 years to figure out how to handle this especially because my husband treats his parents like they are God. I asked myself a very simple question – do they add value in my life? Simple answer – No. So, in essence, what they think of me really doesn’t matter to me. I also discovered another major insight – those who criticise are insecure in themselves and the only way they feel good about themselves is by putting others down.

  5. Brent

    A psychology expert with “no credentials” you say? Reminds me of this scene from “The King’s Speech” http://youtu.be/f7131IkiSCg

  6. Dunte Hector

    Not the perfect venue for this, but didn’t want to send another email. The second video on Maria’s ZTL story page (http://zerotolaunchsystem.com/maria/) has a CRITICAL topic that I think people will ignore. You asked, “What hints did you have that you were afraid?”

    She responded, basically, that a person CLAIMS something is priority #1, but puts all the action steps last on their to-do list. Well, the people who read your stuff and receive your newsletter, but then decide to call you a spammer/scammer/dirty lout – they’re taking in information as if improving themselves is priority #1 but spending time bitching instead of following any of the steps.

    Okay, that’s all. I have my 5 minutes of daily writing to do and, tragically, this comment isn’t making me any money.

  7. Maren

    Fear of criticism has seriously stunted my growth in so many ways. I have decided to put my head down and just DO SOMETHING, because I will feel like an asshole later if I never do.

    P.S. Your beard is pure sass. LOVE IT.

  8. dzandueta

    Wholeheartedly agree that it takes time, even years, to develop mental toughness against these online critics. A maybe funny thing? By developing that mental toughness, you can also apply it towards others (even your loved ones who just love to needlessly criticize) in the offline world.

    Curious, though: did “Douglas” reply to your concise reply to his email? Heh.

  9. Amit Kumar

    Hii Ramit,

    First of all I would like to thank you so much for covering this important topic “handling negative critics”.
    The ideas and thoughts you have mentioned in this article is just amazing and quite helpful for us. Specially, i loved the section “What are your credentials?” most.

    thanks for inspiring and motivating us. Keep helping !!

  10. Excellent Printers

    Nice one Ramit,

    There is a saying:

    “Nobody Ever Put up a Statue to a Critic.”
    So have no Fear!

    Well It got them talking about it didn’t it?
    That in itself helps
    ‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity’
    http://excellentprinting.co.uk

  11. Lemon Angel

    well if nobody talks about you then you are nobody. i believe that the ambitious are criticized by those who have given up. never ever give up no matter what anyone says. dont allow the negative energy released from the words of people affect you in any way. they dont matter. keep your focus and forge ahead. critics, back biters are always behind your back. and thats where they will remain. learn how to ride above the economic systems of this world by getting this free ebook now, its the ultimate guide to be rich, you’ll be glad you did. claim your free ebook now at http://richandsuccessful.subscribemenow.com/