Some people don’t like me. Or they don’t like my work.
I get it.
Even if I publish the coolest eBooks, snap the most inspiring travel pictures and churn out kick butt, rock it out content, some folks won’t dig my creations.
Contrast makes life interesting. If we all agreed on everything life would be bland as hell. I like chocolate ice cream, you like vanilla ice cream. I like Hootsuite Pro, you like BufferApp. Variety is the spice of life.
Case in point. I just discovered that:
- I can easily fix my Android Tablet’s “upload to youtube” issues
- I can easily upload short videos in a minute or 2
- I can easily upload *720 HD quality videos* to Youtube in a few minutes
Yes, kid in a candy store time. So happy I wrote for my clients already today and that I love writing posts because I’d have uploaded 10 videos by now, with my new, slick HD style presentations, instead of churning out this post.
Of course, keep an eye out for 1 HD quality video attached to my new posts. Thanks, Universe and thanks, Android support forums.
The thing is this: contrast makes HD style videos pop. After filming a few this morning in Savusavu, Fiji, the contrast between my handsome mug, the trees, the clouds, the gray skies, the flowers, and all that good stuff, creates a visually appealing experience.
Online Contrast aka Criticism
Being criticized is experiencing contrast. That’s it. Experiencing contrast – like contrast experienced through the good old, HD quality video – creates an appealing experience.
If you didn’t live through rainy days you couldn’t fully appreciate a sunny day. If you didn’t experience sickness you couldn’t fully appreciate being healthy.
If you haven’t been criticized you can’t appreciate:
- Being praised
- Being fully clear on what you’re doing
- The strength of your belief system
Like the HD quality videos I can shoot through my tablet (videos that I’m quickly becoming obsessed with) the contrast creates the “pop”, or the pleasing, intense, wonderful experience.
I know what you’re thinking; why in the heck would you feel good, or feel pleased, or feel wonderful, after somebody blows you out of the water? The critic did a few favors for you.
- Said critic helped you establish greater clarity in speaking your message
- Said critic helped you establish a more firm, resolute belief in your core values
- Said critic provided you with valued feedback, in some cases at least…feedback that could accelerate your growth, if you listen to said critic
- Said critic indicates to you that you’re growing quickly, because once you leave your comfort zone you’ll run into harsh critics from time to time
Celebrate, folks! You’re on your way to becoming even more successful if you’re facing critics here and there.
The goal ain’t to slam into as many critics as possible – Jesus surrounded himself with 12 apostles, not non-believers who wanted him dead – but rather to handle criticism gracefully. Hang with like-minded people most of the time but learn how to face, embrace and mine gold out of criticism.
The other day I received a healthy dose of criticism. A tweeter felt my blog post came up short, or didn’t deliver. I felt a little annoyed for a minute because the response dripped with sarcasm.
Then, I laughed. I took a deep breath…..and I…..decided to write this blog post.
So how can you turn blogging criticism into gold nuggets?
No….not a sarcastic laugh, or a “who is this jerk?” laugh, but, a “I’m not taking myself seriously anymore” laugh, changes your vibe immediately.
After reading the feedback with a sarcastic twinge I became agitated. A minute later I laughed. At me. For being so serious.
Hey, I offer blogging tips. Not exactly life and death stuff. So I can stop taking myself so darn seriously by belting out a hearty laugh.
Most bloggers feel hurt, or offended, or feel the sting of criticism because they take themselves too damn seriously. Lighten up. Relax. Laugh. Set the stage for the other tips.
Honest to goodness, I found this tip out on my own, and it works like magic. Read each word spoken/written by said critic SUPER slowly. I did so the other day, to experience a miraculous shift.
It’s almost like the collective sentence or 2 loses its power when you speak or read each word slowly and deliberately. The mind slows down, the feelings dull, and you feel a sense of calm, and peace, as you digest the statement(s) word by word.
By reading the tweet slowly, I felt less agitated, then, I felt calm, peaceful and in balance. The sting died. Lost its power.
Not sure why, but darnit this approach works so well.
True or False?
After laughing and reading the statement slowly I took the next step: I decided if the statement was true, or false.
The critic/tweeter felt that a step-by-step, How To tutorial was in order, and all she received was some marketing takeaways, after reading my post. She wished me luck after that, the intention being, I’d need it, to draw in traffic or readers.
So, I read the post in note. The title indicated “12 Lessons I Learned from Selling My eBook”. I never promised a step by step guide, or a How To type tutorial. So, her statement was false, not true.
I could ignore this criticism. At least to this point.
I re-read the post. I shared my unique experience, that nobody on earth can share, so my advice wasn’t generic in any way. As far as a takeaway, yep, the basic topics I discussed have been explained by guys like:
- Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, and every single marketer who’s walked the face of the earth since civilization
Said critic probably follows these takeaways, as did the first marketing ancient Babylonians. Nobody’s re-inventing the wheel folks. We’re all following the fundamentals….BUT….guys like Seth, and Chris, tell such a special story, from a different perspective, and in their own voice, that they stand out from the crowd.
Her second bit of feedback was a truth-lie. Sometimes, you’ll see truth-lies, when assessing criticism. Sure, I shared marketing takeaways – like every human being who’s ever created a marketing post – but they are MY marketing takeaways.
I’m not special, but I worked for 5 years to hone my writing voice, to build my friend network and to deliver a story-rich experience to you. So yeah, my marketing takeaways are unique, because nobody else can own them.
Truth: I shared marketing takeaways. Lie: the inference that the shares were bland, or generic, was not true. Hence, this one was a truth/lie.
Listen to Comment/Social Feedback
Many commentators (click it to visit my friend Andrew Warner’s blog, he’s a top flight commentator) at Blogging from Paradise are my friends.
Many commentators at Blogging from Paradise – who are my friends – are successful, prospering, trusted bloggers, whose word is their bond.
That means, they tell the truth, in their eyes, which means, they wouldn’t complement a blogger, unless they meant it.
This post generated a ton of positive comments and social media feedback from respected, successful, objective bloggers, and from respected, successful, less objective bloggers….who still wouldn’t lie to me, to risk losing their rep…so I felt the feedback was largely positive.
This blog post was also in alignment with my voice, my writing style, and my brand….and since I’ve received endorsements from some serious heavy hitters recently, from multiple niches, I felt good, and clear, on the fact that I delivered.
If I feel good, and clear, and happy about the fact that I delivered, then I don’t feel like the criticism is warranted.
The A**hole Factor
The twitter critic I received the other day was lobbed my way from a kind person involved in some awesome causes. Bless her. You don’t need finishing school to be a good person, and again, contrast makes life interesting.
But you need to keep the a**hole factor in mind. Trolls, or plain, simple, unhappy people, project their misery, and unhappiness, onto others, through either harsh or downright brutal criticism.
We’ve all faced it at one time or another.
I recall a guy a few years back who said I had the “posture of an earthworm.” I started laughing at him over the phone because I thought it was legitimately funny, and I credited the guy.
That was a turning point for me. Without even trying to do so, I was getting under this guy’s skin and he got angrier and angrier because I found him, his tactics, and the whole baiting situation laughable.
I eventually hung up on him after I’d had enough laughs and had to get back to work.
Some people are miserable, unhappy a**holes. Accept this. Which brings us to….
All About them Nothing About You
Criticism says everything about the other person and nothing about you.
This means, angry, negative people may tend to offer angry, negative criticism. Or a kind, happy person who’s having a bad day may offer angry, negative criticism.
Or a happy, kind person who’s having a good day will offer such positive, constructive feedback that you’ll never even knew it was criticism.
Don’t kill the messenger. Just understand that how they choose to view the world and how they choose to project their energies determines the nature of their feedback.
Use Criticism to Expand Your View
Critics present you with a different viewpoint. That new viewpoint expands your range of vision.
I recall a few folks telling me that my old theme, on my old blog, was crap. “Crap” is the G-rated word. I wanted to respond with an “F U” because I was narrow-minded, lacked confidence, and deep down, I knew that it was in fact true, that my theme was crap….but I simply ignored the feedback.
After a few more criticisms I caved. Then, I decided not to cave, but to see my theme and blog from the new perspective offered to me from these critics.
My theme needed an upgrade. I couldn’t see this with my former narrow-minded view, but critics expanded my field of vision so I could see the truth. I upgraded, and my old blog grew quickly after that theme change and branding infusion.
Develop the Profitable Habit of Being Compassionate
Sure, critics may seem like – or may be – miserable jerks, in the moment, but when you view critics as unhappy, unclear people you begin to develop compassion.
Compassionate people can feel your pain. Compassionate people can feel your worries, or know how your nightmares, or problems, feel.
Compassionate people lend a listening ear, and in so doing, they are able to stress your paint points and they’re also able to match the dream they are selling to the pain points you’re experiencing.
I’ve attracted some loons over the years. I know these critics were super unhappy, angry people, whose problem was with themselves, not me.
Even though they seemed to be jerks at the time I soon learned that miserable people love to project their misery, and self-loathing, and anger with themselves, at me, and at other people around them.
Knowing this, I became a more compassionate person. I felt their pain. Even if I refused to respond to insane ramblings, or pure hate, I still felt compassion towards these folks and I learned to cultivate my compassion for all struggling people.
Develop Selective Ignorance
If I’m really clear on some topic and feel good about the idea, or post, or eBook, or whatever, I may be open to feedback yet I ignore certain criticisms. Like, if someone else criticized the post I mentioned above, with the same criticism, I’d feign selective ignorance, ignoring the post fully.
I don’t have enough time to waste time. I may be selectively ignorant when dealing with trolls, or other angry folks.
In truth, the most compassionate thing I can do is ignore them. If I respond, I feed their energy. I teach either angry people, or folks who are offering poor feedback, through some defective mechanism, that their criticism is not worth a response.
Example: if someone told me my brand sucks, and it lacks originality, or that I didn’t speak my voice, and that my brand was bland, it’d be like them telling me I had the body of a little girl.
It’s so far out of the realm of reality, for me, that it sounds silly, laughable, and of course I wouldn’t take it personally. So I’d ignore their criticism. Selective ignorance time.
Well, my brand is pretty darn neat, and is original (no other blogging-tips blogger I know, in the world, blogs specifically from paradise….and if there is a paradise blogging tips guy or gal, they can’t tell my story), and I speak my voice, and my brand has some flavor.
In the same regard, I am no Mr. Olympia, but I’m pretty jacked, and my body is usually not confused with the body of a teenage girl.
Both scenarios are ridiculous, and since the feedback/criticism is so far from being true, for me, and since I’m clear, and confident, in my truth, I ignore these off base critics.
Make a Friend for Life
I recall a long while back receiving an email from a young blogger. We had connected a few times.
Said young blogger commented that I was charging way too much for my freelance services – at $25 per article – and that these rates were not reasonable at all.
Of course, $25 was probably way too low at the time, and I’m charging a bunch more per article now, but I had to set the guy straight. Or at least, I had to explain that charging $5, $10, or $15 per article devalues you, and your work, and sets the bar way too low.
The guy I had the exchange with was Amal Rafeeq. He later designed my old blog – an inspiration for my current design – and nudged me to write my old eBook – which was practice for my new eBook – so yeah, I made a friend for life through criticism.
He wasn’t harsh in his criticism, but it definitely was criticism. I felt not too charged, or annoyed by it, so I simply responded with what I knew from my freelancing experience.
I made a friend for life. Amal helped me when I was really sick in Muhamma, as we met during that period, and he’s taught me about design and other stuff on the back end.
He rocks. I met him after he offered me some strong feedback, aka “criticism”. Instead of tuning him out I opened up, listened, and offered my insight to him, and a friendship was born.
How do you process blogging criticism?
Do you have to fight yourself to NOT act defensively?
Or can you handle criticism gracefully, as feedback?
How do you turn blogging criticism into gold nuggets?