From the desk of Harsh Strongman
Subj: Why you should not listen to naysayers
Anatomy of a Naysayer
The vast majority of humans are unserious and unambitious.
They live their lives mindlessly following a simple template that looks like this:
Born -> Go to school -> Go to college -> Work a job -> Marry -> Have Children -> Midlife Crisis -> Die
While there is nothing wrong with this life for those who want to live it (as it does not hurt other people), it can’t be disputed that all the people who live like this have made peace with the fact that their lives will amount to nothing significant.
What’s more is that most of them – whether they say it out loud or not – believe that this is the only path possible in life.
They think that people who are very successful have something they don’t (like “privilege”) and that they are incapable of being very successful.
They look at someone who is ripped and say “that’s impossible for me”, they look at someone who replaced their job with an internet business and say “I can’t do that”, and they look at a hot woman and say “she’s out of my league”.
They literally believe that people doing well in life must be made of something different, while they are just ordinary people who must only do ordinary things.
This is their mindset and you can’t change it.
Why Naysayers Don’t Believe in You
1) Their own lack of conviction in themselves
Naysayers can’t believe in you because they don’t even believe in themselves.
When they hear you talking about your plans and aspirations, they think “could I do that?”. The answer is usually no.
And they think that if they can’t do something, then no one else can. Especially not another “normal person” like you.
So they try to talk you out of your ideas and encourage you to be “realistic”.
2) They don’t want to feel bad about themselves in case you succeed
There is a crabs in the bucket mentality situation here.
Deep down, naysayers are thinking, “what if he succeeds?” – how will they feel then?
The naysayer knows he will feel miserable if you succeed at something and get ahead of them, so they will maliciously try to sabotage you.
For example, if you’re trying to stop drinking, most of your friends who drink will try to convince you to “have just a glass” because if you stay sober, they will have to reconsider their life choices as well.
The same will happen if you’re fat and trying to lose weight. Your other fat friends will encourage you to eat more.
Deep down, they are afraid of how miserable they will feel if you get thin and they are still obese.
Imagine what they will feel if you succeed in business and they’re still working their jobs? No one wants to feel that way. So they try to convince you to stick to the conventional path … just like them.
Behind all the niceties, there is just fear. It is human nature.
3) They want you to be safe
This type of naysaying will usually come from good friends and family – usually your mom and dad.
Your mom and dad’s first priority is not that you be successful, it’s that you be safe.
Your parents want you to be doing safe and predictable things, and not risky and unpredictable things.
Most parents do not understand that success necessitates risk. They want you to do risk-free things like getting a job, settling down, etc. even if it means you’re guaranteed mediocrity.
They have different priorities than you which is why when you say you’re going to do something they don’t think is “safe” (like starting a business), they’ll try to persuade you into the beaten path.
They mean well, they just have different priorities than you. You understand that this person is not a hater, but they’re getting in your way just the same.
The Big 3 Reasons Why You Should Stop Listening to Naysayers
1) Naysayers do not offer practical reasons, only emotional ones
If you read the portion above on what makes people naysayers, it’s simply their emotions and mindset.
If you say you want to start a business, a naysayer will typically not critique your idea with reason and encourage you to come up with a different idea – they will just keep telling you it’s risky and that you should stick to your predictable job.
If you say you want to stop drinking, they will not offer you rational reasons to continue your alcoholism (there aren’t any), they’ll just try to emotionally manipulate you into drinking.
Just one drink. You only live once. What’s life if you can’t have fun. Just a sip. It can’t hurt.
If they give you rational reasons for why something will not work, listen to and consider them.
When you are just being fed emotion – which is what 99.99% of people do, you should ignore it.
2) Naysayer bring unneeded negativity into your thoughts
Taking to naysayers will fill your heart with negativity and fear.
Naysayers will talk about scenarios that are unlikely to ever happen, usually out of fear, ignorance, and emotion.
A funny analogy is a guy telling you that the plane might crash right before you’re about to go on your first flight. They’re going to scare the shit out of you, even though you have little to worry about.
You will be anxious and you won’t be able to stop thinking about it on some level, and your trip will be ruined.
The same goes for starting your first business or doing anything new. It can fail. Everything can fail; but letting someone poison your thoughts and mentality with fear of the unknown will not make anything easier.
3) You will always regret letting naysayers convince you
There are only two things that can happen if you talk to a naysayer: either they convince you and change your mind, or they don’t.
If they don’t, then we’ve already discussed what’s doing to happen – there’s a good chance they’ll introduce negative thinking and a fearful attitude in you towards your new venture.
What’s worse is, if they do get you to abandon your goals, you are going to regret it forever.
You will always wonder “What if I had taken the chance and succeeded?”
You will not regret trying and failing, you will always regret never trying.
You’re an LMM reader, i.e. you’re smart. You’re not doing dumb things like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. You’re talking calculated risks. Don’t let naysayers talk you out of it.
You will always resent not just the guy who talked you out of pursuing your dreams, but also yourself for being convinced by them.
The type of person who wants to do something big is also the type of person who will hate himself for never trying to do something big.
Steve Jobs would never have started Apple if he let the naysayers tell him IBM is too big to compete with. He would have spent his life in misery.
Arnold Schwarzenegger would never have become a successful bodybuilder, actor, and politician if he let the naysayers tell him lifting is a waste of time. If you read his autobiography, The Education of a Bodybuilder (India, USA), you find that plenty of people told him to stop.
Narendra Modi would never have become prime minister if he let naysayers tell him to stick to his father’s tea stall.
All the big businesses were extremely risky ideas when they started and had a big chance of failing. All of them. Every single one of them had a bunch of naysayers saying it can’t be done.
Even if you fail, you learn something – and your next attempt will be better.
If you let naysayers not even allow you to take your first step to get there, you’ll never get there.
Stop listening to them. Do what you need to.
– Harsh Strongman