The Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

The iPhone just turned 10. Happy Birthday iPhone! 

Lots of people, actually lots and lots of people, who supposedly are experts, or were experts, on technology kind of stuff said the iPhone wouldn’t see one year much less ten. 

There were a wide variety of reasons including touch screens don’t work, multi-use gadgets will NEVER be popular, and of course it fills a need that doesn’t exist. 

Until the articles starting showing up recently in conjunction with Apple’s big anniversary I had forgotten just how negative many people were about the new technology. Some of the experts just clearly didn’t have the vision of a Steve Jobs and some I think didn’t like Apple. Some were just negative about anything new. 

Some people are just negative period. 

So be careful when sharing your plans and ideas with others. Apple had the courage of their convictions to press on with the unheard of idea. Many of us do not. We are too easily talked out of doing what we believe in by negative people who see our success as a threat to their negative views. 

If we succeed at doing something that they could have done but choose not to do then they think that makes them look bad. Negative people would prefer we fail because that supports their tormented view of life. 

The heck with them! 

Do not let negative people talk you out of trying to improve. Whether it’s improving the world, improving your workplace or even and perhaps most importantly, improving yourself. 

Most of what we take for granted today the nattering nabobs of negativism at one time said couldn’t be done. Negative people think in terms of “can’t” while positive people, who also happen to be the most successful people, think in terms of “can.” 

You can, you can, you can and don’t ever let anyone tell you anything different!

Negative Voices

Stephen Curry is a professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors. He was recently selected as the 2016 Most Valuable Player of the National Basketball Association (NBA). With his selection he became the first player in NBA history to be selected unanimously for this very prestigious award. 

Most of his fellow professionals were effusive in their praise of his abilities and agreed with his selection for the award.

Most.

One fellow NBA player said that while Curry was unquestionably a great player whether or not he was of MVP caliber was a little more debatable. 

Curry’s response was …. nothing. He did tell one reporter that he had learned long ago to pay no attention to the negative voices all around him. He added that their only goal was to “mess” with his head. You kind of get the feeling that one trait contributing to Curry’s success is that he controls the thoughts that go into his brain.

Friends, colleagues, co-workers, and even family members will sometimes tell you that you cannot succeed. They will say “that” was tried years before and didn’t work. They will say “don’t reinvent the wheel” or “if it ain’t broke don’t fit it,” and even more negative type statements. Some may have your best interests in mind but many, even most, will not.

You need to be very careful when listening to those comments because you may start to believe them if you’re not.

There will always be people who think you can’t succeed but here is an absolute key to your success; make sure you’re never one of them. Do not, never ever, talk negatively about yourself to yourself. Never never never tell yourself that you cannot succeed.

Always, always, always believe in the incredible power of you!

It’s easy to focus on the negative because negativity can seem to be everywhere. It requires discipline to see what’s good. Virtually every problem brings with it an opportunity and successful people find that opportunity. Successful people know that just because something “ain’t broke” doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be broke and rebuilt…. better.

All that matters at the end of the day… well nothing really matters at the end of the day so long as you have another day to do better, to be better, and to appreciate all that you have received, both the bad you’ve learned from and the good you’ve been able to share.

There will always be negative voices trying to mess with your head, make sure you don’t add your own to the noise of negativism. When you control what goes into your brain then you also control what comes out.

Turn Criticism Into Coaching

Everyone needs a bit of coaching. The best athletes have a coach, so do the most successful people and so do the most effective leaders.

The trouble is, some coaches aren’t that great of a coach. They criticize, sometimes harshly, and call it coaching. Some people struggle to accept coaching; most of us struggle to accept criticism.

You really have no way to control another person’s thoughts or comments about you. There often is no way to tell if their criticism was meant in a helpful way or was meant to be hurtful. What you do have complete control over however is how you choose to accept it.

You can, yes YOU can, choose to accept all criticism as coaching meant to build you up. When you make that choice you have the power to turn even the most hurtful criticism into a learning experience.

First ask yourself if there is any truth to the criticism. Be honest with yourself, very honest. If you don’t see a hint of truth in the comment then put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself why they might think it’s true. If you still come up empty then politely and as unemotionally as possible, ask them why they think it’s true.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how they intend the criticism to be taken, you’re accepting it as sincere coaching so do not become defensive. You must be open to the possibility that their criticism is valid and if you determine it to be then you must use it to improve yourself. Never give valid criticism less consideration than it deserves.

Learn how to stop taking things personally. This is especially important if, when you feel criticized, you tend to feel depressed. I know this is easier said then done but you must realize that an unfounded critical comment may say more about the person saying it than it says about you. They may feel threatened, they may lack confidence or they may just be flapping their gums. If you know it’s pure garbage then use your own confidence to ignore it.

When someone says something critical, smile and shrug. Then continue doing/saying whatever you were doing/saying. If the person is trying to get under your skin, this will show them that they did not succeed. If you lose control of your emotions then you lose control of the situation. Never give unjust criticism more consideration than it deserves.

If the person is your friend or boss, ask for advice. When someone criticizes you, say “Alright. What should I do instead?” This asks the person to follow through with their criticism. If they say they can’t for whatever reason, you can say “OK then, it might be more helpful if you didn’t point out a problem that you can’t or won’t help me fix.”

Don’t always listen to what people say. Don’t always believe what people say, especially when it’s something bad, and there’s only one person or two making this remark, only one time. It’s sad to say but not everyone has your best interests in mind. Trust yourself, you almost certainly do have your best interests in mind.

Above all stay open to the very likely possibility that you still have some growing and learning to do. It shouldn’t matter so much how someone intends their criticism to be taken. What really matters is how you take it.

When you decide you can learn something from anyone and anything it’s suddenly all good.