I know – that sounds harsh.  And it is not entirely true.  Of course, if you are a friend of mine, a family member, a mentor, coach or business partner – I am totally interested in your opinion.  So, what am I on about?

Well, a few weeks ago I interviewed the lovely Helen Bartram – TEDx speaker 🎉 And we were discussing that when her TEDx talk was finally published on the official TEDx YouTube channel she had a negative comment from one person.  And it really upset her.

It made her doubt herself and her talk, and it upset her 😟

And that is completely understandable. But it is all down to cavemen.


What Do Cavemen Have To Do With Criticism?  Caveman Cartoon

It all goes back to caveman days.  It really does – bear with me.  Back in the day, the way to stay safe, was to be in a community.  20 cavemen against one big old bear or woolly mammoth had a greater chance of being a successful (for the cavemen) encounter, then one caveman on his or her own.  So, the way to stay safe was to stay in the community.

How are people accepted in a community?  By being recognisably the same as everyone else.  Not ‘making waves’.  Not encouraging others to do things that are outside the ‘norm’.   Not being different.  And if you DID do something that upset the community, depending on the hierarchy and who you upset, you could get yourself ejected from said community.  And that is not safe.

So – relating this to the criticism that Helen received, it pushes buttons that are so old we don’t even know they exist anymore.

And to put it in more modern terms.  It just isn’t nice, is it?  People want to be liked.  You want to be liked, don’t you?  There’s nothing wrong with that.

Except that there is – when it leads to certain behaviours.


What’s Wrong With Wanting to Be Liked?

Gang-related crime often happens because people feel they ‘have to’, or they want to because it is the norm in the group.  They can’t risk being excluded for thinking or behaving differently.

In terms of business, this thinking can be critical – in that, it can put your business and your brand on life support or worse.

You see, if you want to be successful, you HAVE to put yourself out there.  You have to speak in public – whether that is 1-2-1 with a client, or on a Facebook Live, in a group zoom call or in a real-world event (when we get back to that!).

And you HAVE to be memorable.  You have to be authentic, and you have to be different.  Because you ARE different.  You are unique.  As is everyone else on the planet.  And it is your very difference, that will draw people to you.  The people who need to hear your message will hear it and love you for it.

The opposite side of that though, is that some people WON’T like it, won’t agree with it and unfortunately, like all good Keyboard Warriors, will relish the chance to protect their own insecurities and inadequacies by, as it is commonly known, “having a go”.

Those people would almost never have the courage or the rudeness (whichever way you see it) to stand in front of you and say those things, and certainly not say them without any filters of human decency.

They just wouldn’t do it.  In the same way as you might swear at someone under your breath who cuts you up in your car, if someone in a corridor ‘cut you up’ by stepping out of a doorway without looking or, god forbid, stepped on your foot or banged into you – you would NOT start shouting and swearing at them, would you? (If the answer to that is yes, I can suggest some good anger management techniques! 🤣).  In fact, in true British style, YOU would probably apologise to THEM!

So here is what I want to you know and remember.

  1. If you are getting haters on your videos, social media posts or blogs – you are doing something right. You are being authentic. What you say matters, and will resonate with those people who are supposed to hear it.
  2. The other peoples’ opinions are none of your business. If you have a hater – THEY have issues. That is not YOUR concern.  Reply if you must, keeping it professional and trying to help of course.  Because you don’t know what has happened in their lives to make them behave that way.  But it is still none of your business.

Now, I know it is easy to say that and it is only human to be hurt by intentionally hurtful comments.  But please try not to be.  Listen to the many many people who love what you do, not the occasional sad person (and I mean that genuinely) who has nothing better to do than to try and make themselves feel a bit better about themselves by scoring points off you.

As a friend of mine says – you can’t argue with a drunk, a child or an idiot.  So, don’t try.  Just congratulate yourself.  You are doing something right!  Keep going!


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