The Benefits of Pissing People Off

240 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

240 comments on “The Benefits of Pissing People Off

  1. Dear Tim,

    I’ve been a reader of yours since I came across your TED speech and have enjoyed your ideas ever since.
    Recently, I’ve been thinking about my greatest weakness – the imprecise, yet paralyzing, fear of failure. A big part of this fear is the classic dilemma: “what will people think?”. It’s mostly absurd anxieties of which I am fully aware, but unfortunately, being aware of them doesn’t automatically cure this illness.
    I was wandering if you, or any of your great readers has any ideas for “tools” to get people started, to make them do the first step. I know that micro experiments are a great solution, but what I find difficult is even deciding to undergo them.
    I know that the “just do it” motto is the best answer, but I seem to get overinvolved in preparation.

    PS I think that my fear of failure/being judged is strongly linked with the idea of trying to please everyone.

    Like

  2. Thank you Tim for another stellar post! Other people’s opinions have quickly become the last thing that I consider when looking at a new opportunity. They are too busy thinking of reasons they can’t do it, not me. They could care less about my situation. Eagerly awaiting the new book bro. Been a “4 Hour Work Week” disciple for some time now and everyone I give the book to loves it. Happy travels!!

    Like

  3. So true. People are always wanting to project their insecurities and suffering onto others. I was puzzled whenever I saw a negative review of the 4HWW because the reviewers just highlighted their inability to implement the ideas in it.

    Like

  4. Just be careful with this one. An effective leader will inevitably piss people off but I’ve met too many folks who think that pissing people off is a sign that you are leading well. *Not* the same thing!

    Like

  5. “Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at your actions and decisions.”

    If you’re clear on where the group is going, and are able to express it to the group and get them excited about it, they will not be angry when tough decisions need to be made. They will KNOW that everything is done with the sole focus on reaching the goal.

    This is the case when an organization is small and has an incredible amount of open communication. Groups should not grow larger unless this kind of communication can grow with it.

    Like

  6. Hey Tim,

    This sort of thing is useless unless you also define what sort of criticism you are prepared to accept or consider valid. The idea that 95% of your publicity being negative is not indicative of anything being a problem is silly. Sometimes, even often, 95% of people saying the same thing is a pretty strong indicator that they’re right.

    In the case of Boras, his situation is a little different, and his advice valid, because he acts as an agent for his players. So if they’re happy (“just make sure your clients are smiling”) that’s the more important metric, and he’s more likely to be doing his job. But many people who cite his advice are bloggers, writers, etc. who are in a completely different position.

    Like

  7. Thanks Tim! I’ve always been someone who tried to be kind to everyone and I do realize that, at times, people who are doing all the work (myself most of the time) will get very discouraged and pissed because no one else is picking up the slack…mainly because they aren’t feeling the need due to the kind words I share.

    I’ll sure make an attempt to piss more people off ;)

    Jason

    Like

  8. When what we want to do is extraordinary, people tend to look down on what we do. Especially coworkers that are comfortable in their situations tend to see extraordinary actions from us to be a knock against their comforts and tend to push back negatively.
    I’ve found this especially true with personal friends that know that their current situation in life is not where they want to be.
    Keep your cool, mind your own business and carry on!

    Like

  9. Interesting article, although I would prefer more content.

    I recall an Oprah Episode where she was interviewing Tiger Woods. They both talked about how the hardest part of success is that you often have to leave your friends behind at each level of success. I thought about friends that I left behind over the years by pissing them off. I did not actually do anything to piss them off other than achieve my own dreams.

    For Example:
    -When they were bumming around jobless, I decided to go to University = Pissed off a group of friends
    – When my University friends were looking for jobs, I decided to start my own company = Pissed off friends
    – When others rent, I own

    Blah blah blah, the point is that yes, pleasing yourself will indeed make you happier than trying to please others. When you leave one group of your peers behind, you will find another that has more in common with you than the past.

    K

    Like

  10. Good post. It’s important to remember if you do things beyond the ordinary you will stand out from the crowd. And those are the ones who get shot at.

    The choice is not whether everyone will like you or not. The choice you make is who will like you. Make sure the ones who like you are the people who are important to you.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Like

  11. Well, I must be doing really well then considering how many people I tend to piss off ;-)

    Seriously, its great point. Most people, myself included, are governed by what others think and this limits their ability to “break free” from the herd mentality.

    The successes we usually see around us are often those who know they need to kill a few scared cows or challenge conventional wisdom to stand out and make an impact.

    It takes a thick skin….which you’ve clearly got Tim, but can result in extraordinary achievement.

    Do you have any strategies for ignoring the criticism, not questioning yourself and ‘sticking to the plan”?

    Like

  12. Spot on, Tim. I going through a lot of this right now from friends and family that think I’m just “lazy” for not having a job and don’t seem to understand the idea of automated income.

    Hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

    Like

  13. Perfect timing with this post. A message I needed to hear. I recently took a new job that requires me to bring organization, where there was none. It involves changing the way people work and getting divergent groups of people to work together. I work in higher ed… so change is not widely embraced.

    I have been spending way too much time making friends and in-roads, that I believe are necessary. But, now I’m itching to start changing things in a radical nature. I’ve been holding back… not wanting to risk my popularity by pushing things too hard. I call it the “golden child syndrome.” Whenever you start a new job at a new organization… everyone thinks your the great answer to their problems. However, if I can not facilitate change… I just become part of the status quo (the problem).

    Thanks for the wake up call!

    Like

  14. Dear Tim:

    Love what you just said. It comes as a great reminder to keep doing and do not worry about the rest. People will be doing what people do. You are doing what you are supposed to do.

    You cannot control the outside. You are only in control of yourself. I guess it goes back to trying to satisfy everybody. It’s impossible. Therefore inevitably some people will not like what you are doing. So why bother about worrying?

    It is just important to stay on your path, believe in yourself and just know that what you are doing is what is the best for you. Then others will just fade to the background and you will be able to focus on any task at hand.

    Best,

    Tomas

    Like

  15. I have checked in to your site everyday since the last post…………i just want in on the action once the new one is up; anyway, it paid off

    nice post; its a childish act to want to please everybody…………i had to snap out of it. so, just snap out of it period

    Like

  16. Well said!

    A sure way not to go far in life is worrying about what others are saying about you.

    However that does not mean that the opinions of those who do matter should be ignored.

    Like

  17. Great post!

    This is so true. Any attempt to do something amazing will bring up jealousy, anger and resentment – but you gotta let it slide (even though it’s hard).

    As Bill Cosby so wisely said: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

    Like

  18. Awesome post. Reminds me of something my Dad would preach to me as a kid…

    “To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard

    People have to lose the “Teddy Bear” personality. When it comes down to it, most people are afraid because of fear. A trick is called Pre-Acceptance of Failure; expecting the worst outcome or the harshest criticism, and being ok with that. By practicing this, you won’t think twice while making big decisions or pissing people off.

    But, like Colin Powell pointed out, most people want to be “safe”. They want to be liked by everyone and avoid tough decisions, which cultivates mediocrity.

    Like

  19. It is so true that when you are doing things “right” often times it is completely different than what everyone else is doing. But, by the time they catch on it is usually to late an they missed the bandwagon again. Typically, this cycle repeats itself. I like to think of the things everyone else isn’t doing and see which ones of those ideas and concepts have a chance of succeeding. If 1 in 10 of those ideas work you probably have accomplished more than 95% of your peers.

    Like

  20. Thanks for the this…it’s a “think big” mentality…your work keeps challenging the status quo, and keeps being spot on…and for that matter keeps making people mad. Be real, differential, selective ignorance, find shortcuts, everything popular is wrong…thanks for living the message. I right there with you.

    Like

  21. Chamillionaire’s Good Morning is my new favorite song for precisely the reasons you point out. If you don’t have haters, you’re not doing it right.

    “I want to show all of my haters love (hey!)
    This song’s for you (this song’s for you)
    If you had it like me and I was in your shoes
    I’d probably hate on me too ….

    I wanna show all my haters love
    So I’d wave to you like
    Good Mornin
    Ha- ha- ha- ha- haters
    Good Mornin
    Ha- ha- ha- ha- haters

    They said we couldn’t do it (do it) but we already did it (did it)
    I’m fresh outfitted, and my Benz got kitted
    Cuz I get-get-did it and you did-did-didn’t

    If you know you a hater, then this is dedicated to you
    You hatin my last move i’m way on my next move
    See… they hate to see you be successful”

    Like

  22. Hey Tim, I agree, to be successful you need to be controversial. I was hoping this article would be a lot longer–bringing in some examples of how you’ve titled your book “4 Hour Work Week” and made people irate.

    Anyone who is big gets hated on b/c people are jealous and b/c that person has stepped out of the realm of ordinary and done something remarkable. Quite literally the word remarkable means to make a remark about–whether it’s good or bad, thats how you generated so much buzz!

    Like

  23. Tim:

    All true points! This describes brands, politicians and pretty much everything in between.

    We live in an age of invidious comparison, where I can only win if you lose. Further, we all see too many examples of success without accomplishment, particularly in Hollywood and Silicon Valley. We all want it quickly and look down on anyone who seems to be getting it faster than we are.

    It also captures the politics of our age in the US. George W Bush was and is hated for making hard decisions. Barack Obama is afraid to offend anyone, even our enemies, and as a result, the magic that swept him into office is now gone. He offends through his missteps, not through his choices.

    Here’s to making tough decisions! Thanks for a provocative post.

    Like

  24. Make sure you keep it the right way round, though – just because you’re pissing people off doesn’t mean you’re doing good work!

    I used to work for a boss who believed that the more people who hated you, the better you were doing your job. He was a pig of a man, horrible to work for, and certainly didn’t get anywhere near the potential out of his staff.

    That aside, you make a good point. Trying to please everyone just leads to mediocrity.

    Like

  25. Removing emotion from business is one of the many lessons I have learned over this past year. It’s easy to avoid criticism when you play a small game, but I’ve realized that a big part of the process when you are going from small to big, is gaining the strength to continue to listen to the voice inside, rather than the voices on the outside.

    Sheila

    Like

  26. This was in a similar vain to an article I wrote recently, “10 Reasons to Love Criticism” (yes, that was a shameless plug) but it’s still nice to be reminded of what’ll happen if you try to do anything remotely cool or worth doing.

    Another perspective I wrote about is “Everything You Do is Wrong.” You touch on the idea a bit, but basically, no matter what you do in life, even saving the lives of 50 orphans from a burning building, someone will say you’re doing or did the wrong thing.

    After I realized that it just became a matter of listening to my intuition when it came to making decisions. Someone will think I’m wrong no matter what, so I may as well do what’s most agreeable with myself.

    And this quote from the Dalai Lama also tied in quite nicely:

    “Do your best and do it according to your own inner standard (call it conscience), not just according to society’s knowledge and judgment.”

    Like

  27. So true, when launching my first venture out of graduate school many of my friends and family suggested I go get a “real job.” 4 months later I have a stable income that would have met or probably exceeded any “real job.” I believe the more haters you have the closer you are to a really good idea.

    Like

  28. Great post Tim

    This reminds me of a few lessons:
    1. You can’t go through life by making everybody happy…unless you enjoy having a sh1tty life.
    2. No good deed goes unpunished. – Ergo every bad deed has some form of reward?

    Like

  29. Detractors can come in all shapes and sizes: I haven’t encountered any significant resistance to most of my opinions, but many people do convince themselves what I’ve done is a fluke and that they couldn’t possibly do the same (usually out loud, too, which tends to be a little uncomfortable for everyone involved).

    The point is that negativity isn’t always directed at you, but instead can be directed at the message you are spreading, or even aimed at stemming the flow of influence you’re spreading just be existing.

    As far as I know, the best way to deal with this is just to encourage where you can, help where you’re able and otherwise just keep doing what you’re doing; if they’re meant to come around, they will.

    Like

  30. Thanks for this post!

    At younger age, I always wanted to become this popular and successfull guy that everyone liked, and no one would ever argue with. Life has learned me that this is not possible. Creating a happy and successfull life for yourself can not be done without anyone criticising you or are negative to your journey. That’s life, suck it up and get through it, and later you can look back at it as a life lesson learned.

    Like

  31. Agreed. There is always so much friction when you try to do something different or new. I think the most important thing to do is listen to your heart and live through it. Some people won’t understand.

    “As they say in Italy these days … ‘Take off the white gloves.'” (Public Enemies, J. Hoover)

    Like

  32. Another angle on this concept is to protect yourself. Sometimes the detractors are people who are business partners who no longer wish to see you succeed. I am learning (still) be very clear in my dealings with people because certian detractors are able to file lawsuits. In cases like that, pissing someone else can cost you a lawsuit. Nothing you can do to prevent people who wish to take things that far, just make sure you are thoughtful as you plan your next moves in your life.

    Like

  33. Thanks for the reminder Tim.

    Seth Godin says: “What people are afraid of isn’t failure. It’s blame. Criticism.”

    Seth has a great blog post regarding critics and criticism. He has two and a half questions you should ask when making a decision.

    1. “If I get criticized for this, will I suffer any measurable impacts? Will I lose my job, get hit upside the head with a softball bat or lose important friendships?” If the only side effect of the criticism is that you will feel bad about the criticism, then you have to compare that bad feeling with the benefits you’ll get from actually doing something worth doing…..”

    You can see the other 1 and a half questions on his blog:

    http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2005/05/on_critics_crit.html

    Like

  34. I think at least half the time people lash out with negativity because they are jealous and ashamed of there lack of drive to succeed or accomplish similar things.

    There’s always a blessing in disguise and I like to think that going against the grain and causing a little friction is one of life’s many blessings!

    Good post Tim!

    Mike

    Like

  35. Criticism often comes out of jealousy and/or laziness. Secure people who’re too busy accomplishing awesome things don’t have the time nor inclination to take petty potshots. I’d conservatively say 99% of the criticism I’ve seen has been worthless, and I prize the useful, actionable, so-called “constructive” criticism. Now, a critic will be quick to say: “You’re arrogant!” without any unfounded basis, and having nothing to do. So, you must have a gift for prizing the critics who CAN help you.

    Related to this topic, I recommend reading To Criticize Is To Publicize, a PDF I created with ChangeThis about how to keep moving effectively, even if potshots come your way: http://bit.ly/critpub

    Like

  36. Tim….what the heck…..you havent posted in ages……..what adventures have you been partaking in?

    It pisses me off that I checked the blog every few days for a month to find nothing new. Theres noway im gonna read your book for the 300th time to get a few Ferrisisms. Jeeze-louise.

    Like

  37. Tim,

    Great post. And it’s certainly well taken for all those times we deal with detractors.

    I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on deliberately avoiding criticism as a smart lifestyle choice, rather than embracing it as a signal you’re a good leader and innovator. In particular, for you, why go into publishing and have to deal with the public’s criticism, when you could have simply continued your businesses in relative, peaceful obscurity?

    I’m with Epicurus that public discord (politics) should be avoided where ever possible because it’s counterproductive from the ultimate goal – peace of mind and happiness. Sure, you can learn to ignore criticism, and even see it as a positive signal…but at the end of the day, why deal with it at all when it’s possible to avoid it completely and live a nice, happy life?

    The choice to embrace criticism to do big things vs. shunning criticism to have an anonymous, happy life strikes me as similar to the choice between starting a billion dollar business and starting a lifestyle company.

    Like

    • David, this is a great question, and I’m a big Epicurus fan. The answer: I ultimately felt I could have the greatest impact out in the world with the book and what has led from it. It’s definitely not a postponed-goal like the hypothetical IPO, however, as I am lucky enough to see the results every day.

      Hope that helps,

      Tim

      Like

  38. This is a exercise in trying to reach the unreachable. I want to talk to you, Tim Ferris!! If you’re reading this, please, for the love of curiousity, e-mail me back after you’ve read this plea for help! I’m on my freetime-loving, bended knees, here. I am so close to utter mobility and your NR (or “double R” as I call it: the “Real Rich”)lifestyle, I can taste it. In brief, I’m a physical therapist and I designed a super hip, green, ergonomic effective workstation and need 10 minutes of your OEM 101 advice. As I put on my e-backpack and get ready to look around on the internet for OEM’s, if I’m looking at other countries, how do I find trustworthy liaisons?

    I’ve bought your book, and the book on cd. I swim laps daily to your book on CD in my waterproof mp3 player. So help me get to the island of Crete to give tours in English at the ruins of Knossos for 5 months a year by telling me, in a few sentences or less, how to find the best OEM and website designer to begin “Project 100% Outsourcing” on the production and distribution of my “DPT Workstation” (Designed by Physical Therapist). If I build it, it may e-volutionize every living room, hotel room, dorm room, and maybe even libraries and at-home office. It’s good and much-needed, as my 10 years of treating patients with the same, computer related orthopedic issues, is a testament. I just need a good, off shore OEM with an internal design team. Any words of advice, Captain?

    Like

    • Hi Jeannie,

      Thanks for the comment! If you’re referring to Original Equipment Manufacturing — effectively contract manufacturing — I’d suggest http://www.alibaba.com as a starting point. Chinese consulates or trade commissions can also help, as that is your most likely country for cost-effective manufacture.

      Good luck and see you in Crete :)

      Tim

      Like

  39. Tim, thanks for this post. I was just stewing over this very issue tonight thinking of how to handle an issue at work. Perfect timing. If you get the time to post more info about this topic, I’d love it.

    Like

  40. Crazy. I saw this in my reader after reading Nice is Overrated (http://www.philosophypress.co.uk/?p=861) about Socrates and House. It’s not exactly the same thing but close. It reminded me of the wisdom you’ve gleaned from Seneca. I can’t speak from experience (well, maybe a smidge), but it certainly seems like a hell of a way to live. I would set this article to the tune of “Pork and Beans” from Weezer. Cheers!

    Like

  41. This is something I think our entire generation (20s, 30s) are wrestling with. At some point we picked up a value that being liked or not upsetting people is most important. With this we tend to also fear, or at least avoid, confrontation. The result? Horrible negotiators and sub-par businesspeople. Thanks for the reminder Tim.

    Dan Johnston.

    Like

  42. I love how everyone blindly posts : Great Post! Whaa! Amazing, Groundbreaking stuff TIM!!!

    Please.

    Tim, your content is great (I don’t think you need a random idiot on the internet like myself to tell you that) but this post was pretty weak in my opinion. At first glance it seems like you’ve been so busy to write on a well researched/articulated subject..that you just scribbled some inspirational poppycock with little substance.

    Then again, thats just my opinion. Why should you listen to me :)

    Like

  43. If I had to hazard a guess as to what inspired this post, I would guess the recent highly publicized criticism of some of the nutrition and training gurus of CrossFit.

    Like

  44. Nicely said, thanks! This last comment really hit home:

    “Be criticized for doing small “safe” things, or be criticized for doing big things that you’re passionate about.”

    Looking forward to hearing Powell’s presentation.
    Have a great weekend!

    Like

  45. I definitely agree with your post although this is one of those things where if A then almost always B but if B then sometimes A. Where A = being a great leader/doing great things and B = pissing people off/being criticized. – Joel

    Like

  46. OT: Potential topic for future article…

    I did a small AdWords test and made some sales so subsequently invested additional time/effort/money into my muse. It now seems that the initial success was an anomaly. My clickthrough rate is awesome, bounce rate and page views respectable and getting better all the time, but my conversion is awful. My landing pages are relevant to my ads, and while I’m sure the design could be tweaked and improved there seems to be a more critical issue at hand than that.

    I’m not sure whether to be patient and keep trying to learn with this product line – perhaps testing price points more thoroughly – or whether I should cut my losses and bail, chalking it up to a poor choice of industry/product line (competitive, saturated, etc.).

    Any thoughts or advice? Or interest in addressing such challenges in a future article?

    Thanks.

    Like

  47. Tim,

    Excellent post. Sometimes in life when you do things that make a difference you come up against people who disagree, who deny what you are doing is right – it’s a fact of life that those who make a difference in this world will always have others who say that they are not doing things right – but when it comes down to it – the person that gets things done usually make the best leaders.

    Thanks.

    Like

  48. Caring what people think too much is the biggest reason why people don’t achieve great things. Caring about what they will think if you fail is the number one reason people do not become rich – Felix Dennis

    When you can stand still in the middle of the dancefloor with your eyes closed, you are close.

    Like

  49. “If my inner voice believes in something, I will follow my inner voice, even if I the whole world is against it.” – M K Gandhi (these are not his exact words, but my vague recollection.). I believe in it. At the least, you are not left with any regrets later on in life.

    Like

  50. Thanks for your post. I thought about that yesterday, I didn’t do a lot of things cause the criticism, but I working on it. Really thanks for you book, it changed my mind.

    Thanks from Geneva, Switzerland

    Like

  51. Often pissing people off is about saying ‘no’.
    Often saying ‘no’ is about harmonizing with your inner compass therefore the ‘no’ has nothing to do with the other personally.
    But there is a natural care in framing and delivering the ‘no’ because it comes from a place of response not reaction.
    This is an art and a process, so like any other skill it can be refined.

    Criticism and abuse are two words that can often be substituted for each other. Sometimes abuse can be cleverly disguised inside criticism, but a refined inner awareness can sense it. Someone abusing you should be an emotional reaction after an alarming event. When language or action turns nasty you have obviously crossed a line in the last 5 minutes and probably deserve a reaction; hence making the others boundary visible. Or nothing has happened and they’re just hunting you to bring you down. You can see the hunter via the vocabulary. There is a meanness in the criticism. If your ego doesn’t take it personally you can see it for what it is – a shark looking for a feed. And just by seeing it for what it is, changes your emotional reaction into something much more appropriate.

    Like

  52. Absolutely true: criticism is a constant partner in everyone’s life; you don’t need to be doing great things to be criticized, you get criticism as soon as you do *anything*. But, as others have pointed out the most important thing is learning to ignore useless criticism and to accept good one.
    About David’s comment on Epicurus: I agree that public discord should be avoided when possible for the ultimate goal of a happy and peaceful life, but what does “when possible” mean?
    Besides, I do not consider criticism an obstacle in the path toward such ultimate goal: it is either irrelevant noise (bad criticism) or an opportunity, and thus more a suggestion (good criticism). It is really easier to try and avoid any criticism than learning to consider it for what it is?

    Forgive me if I am not clear in what I say, I am not an Enlish mothertongue.

    PS: for more interesting quotations on criticism:

    http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/criticism/

    Like

  53. Very good reminder. I think that people at 40s have struggled even more with being too kind, at least here on northern Europe. Our culture is very inclined to kindness and obedience. Wayne; thanks for great advice how to deal with guilt feeling of being assertive/selfish.

    Like

  54. I had a chance to see Colin Powell speak two weeks ago.
    Its funny because the first time you get criticized for doing something different it makes you think about not doing it. The 100th time you get criticized, it makes you want to do it more.
    Great post Tim

    Like

  55. It’s great to read how many people responded positively to this excellent article.

    For every post that cautions against controversy (“Just be careful with this one”, “public discord (politics) should be avoided”), there are at least five with uplifting messages about overcoming self-doubt and the insecurities of others.

    Nice job, Tim.

    Like

  56. Pissing people off in itself isn’t detrimental. The problem comes in when you intentionally set out to make someone mad. Of course “stirring the pot” in politics and the like is a very effective way to gain support.

    Like

  57. Hello,

    I’m sure you’re tired of gushing accolades, but I wanted to contact you and at least say something.

    While killing time at a bookstore in Canada before yet another J.O.B. interview yesterday I picked up your book and started flipping through. I admit I hadn’t heard of you or the book before, but more and more things seem to be coming into my awareness in recent years. Although a few years older than yourself, your brief biography and timeline struck so many chords with frustrations that have haunted me my entire life, such as the inadequacy of the current “learn by rote and pretend to be a good student” education system, redundant and inefficent job routines, the absolute lunacy of every single sales job boiling down to the same ineffective “pound the pavement and dial for dollars” mantra, and above all the crushing herd mentality which completely stifles any attempt to break the paradigm.

    Without jealousy or envy, I rejoice in the fact that you were able to break free of ther herd, unlike myself who has let my limiting beliefs and fear trap me in the land of the walking dead.

    I intend to read every word you have written and keep my mind completely open in hope of examining and changing my perecptions and beliefs. I am still plagued by fear that I have too many responsibilities to risk change, but I am hoping to be able to let those go for good. I am also going to ensure each of my teenagers receives a copy of your book for Christmas along with the advice that they never take anyone else’s word about what is good for them.

    I apologize for the wordiness. Happy Thanksgiving and I hope your word works miracles for everyone it reaches.

    Like

  58. Hi,
    I will be honest, I haven’t had the pleasure of reading your book yet, but after this post, I most certainly am reading it.
    Completely agree with you, I have had a taste of what you talk about and feel proud of myself for sticking to my guns and following my passion no matter what. This doesn’t mean I don’t care about people. On the contrary, It is because I care that I must lead.
    Thank you,
    Anna Aparicio

    Like

  59. Hi Tim – what a refreshing article and for me timely. We are growing our business and along with the growth come the “growing pains”. Over the past few weeks, many of the pains have been a bit sharp! I am taking heart from what you say – we definitely aren’t setting out to upset anyone but equally we don’t want to settle for second best just because we can’t keep everyone happy. We have big plans, we are big guys, and we can take a bit of heat – but it’s good to feel a bit of positive energy coming back through the universe sometimes. Thanks :)

    Like

  60. Excellent points Tim, however I think it is beneficial to temper this philosophy by noting that it is still important to be nice. Be honourable, as our esteemed host suggests, don’t be ruthless and piss people of for the sake of it; I have come across too many people in business who automatically assume that if they have got people’s back’s up; they have done the right thing.

    Reijo- there is nothing wrong with a culture of kindness. This only becomes a problem when the greater good is disregarded in favour of political correctness. In other words, sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

    Kris- Your (former) friends sound unpleasant. I truly believe that for most of us, pleasing ourselves comes (at least in part) from pleasing and helping others. There IS a happy medium to be found. We can be highly successful and take others along for the ride, genuine and concrete ethical values are what’s required. Sticking to these values will piss people off on occasion, but it is those people from whom criticism should be like water off a duck’s back.

    Thank you and goodnight (please criticise accordingly).

    Like

  61. My dad always says, “nobody kicks a dead dog”. If you are doing something, it’ll inevitably upset someone. Thanks for taking all the heat you have to do the right thing, and keep doing what you are doing.

    Like

  62. Love the article but think the timing of releasing an article about pissing people off wasn’t so good. It’s Thanksgiving Day – at least in the US. I imagine with your international perspective, that might not be high on your radar screen! LOL!

    Like

  63. It is incredbile that some people (including myself sometimes) are inclined and worried to take action on our principles because we are worried about what somebody else is going to think of us.

    It’s great to see this post. It’s important that we stick to our principles and express ourselves and our feelings otherwise the ultimate result extra stress and pressure on our mental and physical bodies.

    Like

  64. I was lucky to be raised by parents who taught me this lesson early, and I’ve benefited from it.

    But there is another side to the same coin which my parents didn’t teach me, and I regret certain experiences I had before I learned the second lesson:

    Social graces and self-awareness must be a component of one’s daily life, because when one acts boldly there is a higher risk that others (who uphold the status quo) will feel disrespected or abandoned.

    Creating an atmosphere of support, collaboration, and solidarity is not the same as “wanting to please people” or “avoiding criticism.” It’s about team building and sympathy.

    My favorite people are the leaders and pioneers who make others feel important and respected. It’s a great combination.

    Like

  65. Your post is likely to be mis-interpeted by people who don’t look deeply into the issue you raise.

    Nothing, is more important to me then to have comraderie ,respect , and trust with my clients and colleagues. If I am walking over one group to please the other, then I lose.

    Pissing people off because you are encountering resistance to change….is one thing. However being cruel, vicous, and mean to reach an end is another thing. There is an old yiddish saying….”there is fine line between honesty and cruelty”.

    Like

  66. Here’s a bit of criticism for you: There’s no better way to piss people off than to be a critic yourself. So let your admirers admire. It’s the critics who build.

    Like

  67. thanks for this post Tim… I needed the reasurance that sometimes what I do must not always aim to please everyone…

    I supose that is where neiche comes from, poeple buying into something they like, and others nearly spewing at the thought of being anything to do with it…

    I have found more recently the less I am trying to please others the more they seem to let me get on with my job… it’s become more about getting the job done and not getting overly worried about what may go wrong…

    great post and some cracking comments as well…

    I trust I have pissed someone off out there for this comment though.. lol

    Like

  68. @ Bart

    Hi Bart, I use a technique called TFT to get rid of my fears of anything really… fear of failure and pleasing other people being the largest that I dealt with…

    there are loads of great tools and techniques out there… a good thing to do is find someone who has achived great things and research them, find out how they thing and act… that may help a little (or loads cos you are lucky)…

    hope that helps.. (I just had two fears kick in there, infact three in a flash,… will this sound cheeky, will tim let this post online (lol), is my spelling OK (I am dyslexic and always have this fear crop up)… more and more… it’s more thinking all the time instead of just taking action that stops people… a great responce that I have learned from the best masters are to repeat into your head (or out loud if you really feel like it)… when a problem comes up and you think things like, but what if I piss her/him off… what if i get sacked, what if she leaves me… you return the comment… SO WHAT… just to remind your subconsious that it’s all futile if you were to be told you had days to live… what would really matter?

    just a few ideas @BART, hope it’s not to loony tunes…

    have a great day folks…

    Like

  69. Thanks for the post ! Seems like ideas are travelling along earth very quickly because it arrives right on time for me to use and apply to my own life. I think this might even be the biggest challenge of my whole life… dare to be criticized !!!

    Oh…. and thanks for your book as well, even though up to recently, I knew it was a great book but i couldn’t find the strength to apply what i just learned.

    Like

  70. One of my favorite quotes is: “He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” The pull to “be liked” is enticing indeed. Whenever I have made decisions based on this philosophy, which I have plenty of times, the criticism has been rampant. Great post and thanks for the reminder!

    Like