Tag Archives: haters

Everyone’s A Hater.

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“You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” — John Wooden

 
This is Landon Donovan. He has scored more goals for the United States Men’s National Team than any other player in U.S. soccer history.

This is George Dohrmann. He is a reporter for Sports Illustrated. Here’s what he had to say about Landon Donovan during yesterday’s 5-1 U.S. victory over El Savador:

So to recap: Dohrmann feels that Landon Donovan — the greatest goal-scorer that American team has ever had — is not that good at finishing off goals.

Donovan went on to score a goal and notch three assists in the game, but Dohrmann kept up the hate tweeting.

Point is: Haters are always gonna hate. Even the very best in the world get have to deal with the haters.

So just do your work. If you’re getting the results you want, then forget about what they’re saying about you on Twitter. Some people just hate because they love to hate.

That image of Landon comes via.

Seriously, Penny Lane.

“I always tell the girls, never take it seriously. If you never take it seriously, you never get hurt. If you never get hurt, you always have fun.” — Penny Lane

 
With all due respect to the immortal Penny Lane of the immortal film, “Almost Famous”:

That’s a load of crap.

Take your work seriously. Work hard. Throw yourself into what you do.

Overcommit to the work.

Yes, you get hurt doing great work. You get pushback. You run into haters. You struggle.

But if you never get hurt while doing the work, how much were you really putting into it?

You have to take it seriously. You have to get hurt sometimes.

Anything else is just work half-assed.

Let The Experts Make Their Predictions. They Don’t Know What You Can Do.

Dewey Defeats Truman

“Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you, and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” — Steve Jobs

 
This is the Feb. 24, 1986, cover of Sports Illustrated, in which the magazine predicted that sports on TV just wouldn’t work.

A quarter-century later, ESPN is projected to make $8.2 billion in revenue.

This week, America held another Presidential election. For weeks, we’ve had TV talking heads telling us the race was a virtual toss up.

The President won, and handily.

Here’s more from the world of predictions gone wrong:

-The head of the British post office once predicted that the telephone would never catch on in the UK.

-A big Hollywood movie producer predicted that Americans would soon tire of TV.

-The New York Times — in 2006 — predicted that Apple would never make an phone.

Point is: The experts don’t know what’s next. They’re out there trying to predict the future.

You’re out there trying to build it.

See the difference?

Ignore them. They don’t know what you’re capable of.

Just go out and do great work. That’s all that matters for now.

The Haters Have Already Decided What They Think. So What Will You Do?

“Confidence is a little voice in the back of your head that tells you that you belong.” — Michael Gervais

 
There’s a cartoonist named Scott McCloud. He’s given TED talks and written some really influential books. “Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art,” is revered within the world of cartoonists.

There’s a quote in that book that’s fascinating. McCloud talks about the cartoonist’s challenge. You’ve got a handful of panels in which to tell a full story, which means that you can’t show every action. You’ve got to pick and choose the parts you want to show.

Let’s say you’ve got a cartoon of a man at Starbucks. In panel 1, the man might be picking up his coffee from the counter. In panel 2, the man might be yelling while the coffee burns his lips.

What’s amazing is that the brain is able to put together the middle step — somewhere between panels 1 and 2, the man drank the coffee, and the coffee was too hot — even though it’s never actually shown in the comic.

McCloud explains:

”The phenomenon of observing the parts but perceiving the whole has a name. It’s called closure.”

Basically, if there’s a story being told, and there are loose ends to the story, the brain is capable of closing the loop. It takes the parts it has and jumps to a conclusion.

But what if, in our little coffee hypothetical, what we think happened wasn’t what happened. What if something else happened between the man getting the coffee and the man screaming? We never actually saw the man drink the coffee, after all. Isn’t it possible that something else happened there to cause the man to yell, but our minds had already decided what we wanted to see?

What if our minds closed the loop but changed the story along the way?

So let’s bring this back to you.

If you’re reading this post, you’re someone who’s trying to do awesome work. I salute you, creator of awesome stuff. You’re doing the work we need more of in the world.

But I’m also warning you: The haters are coming for you. Haters love to hate on awesome work.

And your work is no exception.

They’re going to come and see parts of your life’s story. They’re going to see certain things you’ve done or written or said, and they’re going to connects the dots for themselves. This is what McCloud warned us about brains: They like to finish unfinished stories.

You have no control over how they decide to close the loop on your story. It is entirely out of your control.

Haters are going to find reasons to hate. They are going to find ways to close the loop however they see fit.

Here’s more proof that McCloud is right. Jimmy Kimmel sent out a TV camera two weeks ago to document voters’ reaction to the previous night’s debate. There was only one problem:

There wasn’t a debate the night before.

And yet: Here’s 3 minutes of voters responding to a debate that didn’t happen. They took this single bit of information from the cameraman — there was a debate last night! — and whatever preconceived notions existed in their minds, and they closed the loop for themselves:

So here’s what you need to remember: Haters are going to hate. When it comes to your story, they’ve already closed the loop for themselves.

You cannot control the haters, but you can control the work you do.

Focus there. Do the best work you can.

A huge thank you to Ross Nover, who gave a talk last week at Refresh DC that inspired this post. Also: That photo at top comes via someecards.

Excuses We All Tell Ourselves.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change. — Brené Brown

 
There is a voice in the back of your head that’s trying to tell you that what you want to do cannot be done.

All of us hear that voice. It leaves us wondering things like:

Where do I even begin to start?

Tomorrow will be better.

What if it doesn’t work?

I’m scared.

I’m worried.

I doubt.

I fear.

I’m not sure this is the right path.

I don’t know enough to get moving.

I’m a fraud. Doesn’t everyone know I can’t do this?

If this fails — I’m a failure.

Wrong. So, so SO wrong.

Many days, you are your own biggest hater. I know I am some days.

I doubt. I fear. I worry.

It happens to all of us. Every single one of us who does this work — we fight these voices off every day.

But there is a way past it.

Commit to the work. Hustle. Follow your effort. Start, and then keep going.

The voices don’t go away. But over time, you learn how to crush them. You learn how to fight them off.

Don’t let them overwhelm you. You have enough — right now, I promise you — to start. You have much more than you know.

Work, don’t worry.

That fortune cookie photo comes via @nellicoco.

Spread Love, or Just Keep Your Damn Mouth Shut.

In 2009, I wrote something that I thought was clever.

Turned out I was just being a dick.

I had gone to a concert with my roommate, Nate, at the Blue Fugue in Columbia, MO. There were a couple of bands playing that night, and one of the openers was from Utah. They were called Mad Max & the Wild Ones. They were a family band. (That’s them in the photo at top.)

Nate thought they were really good. I did, too.

But I also thought something was weird. The band was all children. The lead singer hadn’t hit age 10.

It bothered me. I went home and blogged about it.

And that was that. Until, of course, the band’s manager — also, the band’s mom — went home and searched Google. She found my post.

We traded some comments on my blog, and later emails. She was pissed, and understandably so — some asshole on the Internet was writing snarky comments about her kids!

It’s just that in this case, that asshole was me.

The conversation eventually settled down, and I eventually apologized. I never took the blog post down, because I didn’t want to forget the incident. The Internet is written in ink, and this blog is no exception.

What I’m building towards is this: There’s nothing clever about Internet hate. I know a little more now about what it feels like to be on the other side of that hate. Victories are fleeting, but hate stays with you. Especially Internet hate, where it’s often anonymous, and especially vicious. Somebody you’ve never met has just seen something you’ve done and taken the time out of their day to tell you exactly how much they think you suck.

Look, friends: Spread love, or just keep your damn mouth shut. Opening it to spew hate — especially on a blog, or a YouTube comments section — does you no good.

That night at the Blue Fugue, I could’ve just gone up to the band and told them what I thought. I didn’t, because I would’ve been a giant jackass to tell them to their face what I thought. Instead, I went home and wrote the thoughts on a blog, where I figured they’d never read them.

How is that any different?

I traded emails with the band last week. They’re getting older, and getting offers from legit bands to tour. They’re still out on the road, taking their stabs, making it happen. That’s awesome.

They’re coming through Springfield in a few weeks, actually. If I’m here, I’ll go to the show, and apologize in person, and tell them what I could’ve said the first time:

You guys may be young, but hot damn can you play. Don’t let the haters get you down.

Me included.

Ferris Bueller, You’re Still My Hero.

I had a Twitter back-and-forth with Therese Schwenkler last week. She’d just written an awesome post about Derek Zoolander and finding yourself.

And I joked: “Zoolander” is a classic, but I think my lifestyle (and Stry.us) is more based on “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

Except I wasn’t really kidding.

There’s a whole lot of Ferris in everything I’ve been doing these last two years. The attitude. The rejection of norms. The inability to play by any sort of rules.

Seriously, it’s all there.

But don’t take my word for it. Take Ferris’s:

Ferris: Hey, Cameron. You realize if we played by the rules right now we’d be in gym?

The rules were laid out pretty clearly for me in high school: Get good grades. Get a good SAT score. Go to a good school. Get a good job. Go to a good grad school. Get a better job. Have kids. Coach a soccer team. Send your kids through the same cycle. Retire. Move to Boca.(1)

I can’t remember a single class that taught me that doing what I’m doing now was possible. I was trained to go out and be a part of the existing workplace, to serve my bosses well, and to maybe get the chance to work my way up to boss one day.

This? They mentioned lawyer, doctor and firefighter, but they never mentioned this.

If I played by the rules, I’d be out in the journalism world starting a second or third job as a professional Facebooker by now. Instead, I’m building a start-up.

So I’m not big on rules these days. I think we make our own rules around here.

Cameron: Okay Ferris, can we just let it go, please?
Sloane: Ferris, please. You’ve gone too far. We’re going to get busted.
Ferris: A: You can never go too far. B: If I’m gonna get busted, it is not gonna be by a guy like that.

There have been times when I’ve been told it’s time to give this up. It’s gone on too long. It’s gone too far.

Hell, no.

Every time I get that sense, I push it even a little further. I’m not going to let the doubters keep me from taking Stry.us as far as I can take it.

Our site’s getting old? Let’s build the most beautiful new news website on the planet. Our team’s not big enough? Let’s hire a few guys. Hell, let’s hire five.

Let’s try some live events. Maybe one live events partner’s not enough. Let’s find another.

Let’s tell some stories online. And while we’re at it, let’s syndicate ’em. Online. And in print. And hey, why not?: Let’s do it on the radio, too.

All that’s happening this summer with Stry.us.

Ferris was right: Don’t set limits for yourself. Break beyond them.

Ferris: Look, it’s real simple. Whatever mileage we put on, we’ll take off.
Cameron: How?
Ferris: We’ll drive home backwards.

Yeah, I had a couple of crazy ideas when I started Stry.us. Some worked. Most didn’t.

The crazy ideas keep coming. I’m not sure if any of them will work, but I’m going to push my team to try them anyway. One or two might turn into something big.

Do first, ask for forgiveness later.

Cameron: We’re pinched, for sure.
Ferris: Only the meek get pinched. The bold survive.

One of my earliest Ferris lessons: Get yourself out of a jam once and you’ll know you can do it again.

And again.

And again.

I’m not trying to end up in trouble. I swear I’m not.

It’s just that… trouble sometimes finds me. And when it does, it’s good to know that I’ve always been juuuuuuust smart enough to get myself out of it in the past.

Knowing that I can find an escape again helps in tricky situations.

Ferris: This is my ninth sick day this semester. It’s pretty tough coming up with new illnesses. If I go for ten, I’m probably going to have to barf up a lung, so I better make this one count.

Part of me keeps thinking about the end. About the untimely demise of Stry.us. I have this recurring fear — not a nightmare, just a fear — that somebody’s going to show up one day and tell me, straight up: Dan, it’s been a nice ride. But, uh, we made a mistake. It was supposed to be somebody else on this crazy journey. Turn in your press pass. You’re needed on the fryer at McDonald’s now.

I still might end up on the fryer. But I’m not going to go quietly. I’m going to do like Ryan Adams told me and burn up hard and bright.

Hell, I might end up in a place I didn’t expect/want, but I’m not going to spend my days there wondering what might’ve been if I’d just put in a little more work on Stry.us. I’m not going to leave any “what ifs” on the table. I’m trying everything I can right now.

Ferris: A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.” Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus.

The -ism here: All those conventional journalism beliefs I was taught. Time to challenge them all.

And another thing: Be yourself! Not a bad lesson, either.

Ed Rooney: I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind.

I like it when traditional news folks tell me that I’m messing with their shit. It means they’re scared of what I’m doing. And if they’re scared, that probably means I’m trying something a little bit risky.

Risky is good. Journalism needs some risk right now. It needs experimentation.

It needs something like Stry.us.

I’m not trying to leave anybody’s cheese out in the wind, but if we do this right, the Stry.us team might build something that saves somebody else’s bacon.

Ferris: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

The best Ferris Bueller advice of all.

I’m 24, almost 25. I’m not waiting around for retirement here. I’m young, I’m dumb, I’m hungry. These are amazing years, and I’m trying to build something great with them.

So I tell you now: Be like Ferris. Be a little too bold. Get up and dance a little too hard. Drive a little too fast. Kiss the girl a little too long.

We may not be able to save Ferris, but I want to keep his spirit going.

Bueller? Bueller?

Yeah, he’s still alive here at Stry.us.

  1. Okay, maybe not the Boca part.

The Four Types of Haters You’ll Meet. (or: Beware The Wrath of The Rainmakers!)

I’m a member of a local Toastmasters club(1), and one of our members gave a talk last week that was so good, I begged him to let me republish the key themes here on the blog. The talk was by Kenny Freeman, a Columbia, Mo.,-based communications specialist. The talk was titled, “The Wrath of the Rainmakers.” I’ve adapted his words for the blog.

So here’s the secret: If you decide to do the work and take on your own dreams and ambitions, you’re going to hit a few walls. Building something from nothing — a song, a book, a company — takes a lot of work and a lot of persistence. If that sounds hard, it’s because it is.

You will run into walls when you’re doing this work. The biggest wall comes in the form of the doubters and the haters. They are out there. And if you’re doing really good work, they will find you. They will come at you with all the hate and negativity that can shut down good work before it even begins.

Call these people The Rainmakers. These are the people who will rain on your parade — if you let them.

There are four types of Rainmakers in our world. They are:

The Pirates: These are the people who exist to steal your dreams. They see what you’re doing and want it for themselves. They’ll try to get to you with their jealousy and their anger. Ward them off. They want what you have — but they’re not willing to do the work themselves to achieve it.

The Guardians: These are your friends and family, who want to protect you from embarrassment or failure. They’re often going to try to keep you from doing things that might be risky. But in the process of protecting you, they’re also keeping you from trying something that might succeed — or at least lead to growth. They’re not rainmakers in the traditional sense — there’s no hate here — but they are holding you back. And they’re an obstacle between you and the work you want to do.

The Gatekeepers: They represent the status quo.(2) They do not want to see anything in their world change. Their life is comfortable, and what you’re trying to do will affect their routine. They want to stop you before that happens.

Yourself: There is no greater hater than the one inside your own mind. It is so easy to convince yourself of the reasons not to do something. You can crush your own dreams with self-doubt and fear.

It takes insane courage to do good work. Believing that you can do it – and do it right — is so crucial. Don’t be afraid to take the first step. It is better than no step at all.

So don’t fear The Rainmakers. They only have as much power as you give them.

Give them nothing. Just do the work you need to do. Go prove them wrong.

  1. Toastmasters is an international organization devoted to helping people practice their public speaking and leadership skills.
  2. Kenny jokingly referred to them as the “status crows,” and now I’m never going to be able to see the crows from “Dumbo” without thinking of his speech.