You need your critics

Now, I get that entrepreneurs need industrial size levels of enthusiasm. This enthusiasm is a bit like scuba gear. It’s vital to your life when exploring the vast depths of industry, but it looks really stupid when you try handing out business cards while wearing it.

I can’t condemn being sure about what you are doing with your business. It’s a necessary mental blindness. Nobody’s going to try anything new if it always has to be researched, footnoted, and packing a sizable bibliography. “Done” is the only adjective that matters in business.

In order get things done, some people have to learn to externalize. They grew up doing everything right, getting all the grades and the academic awards. When something goes wrong, they internalize. They automatically blame themselves and start down a shame spiral until they can’t do anything at all. Sometimes you have to tell yourself that it’s not your fault to get going again.

I do however, take issue with externalizing absolutely everything. If you believe that you can achieve success by deleting negative comments on your blog, unfriending people who questioned your brilliance, or pointing out a a disparaging tweet and direct messaging your followers to “handle it”, you might be in for a rude awakening when you finally ship your product.

All your assumptions would go untested. You surround yourself with people who are more interested in pleasing you than making sure your product does well. If you fail, all the advice you’ll get is, “those people are stupid, you’re fiercely awesome, honey!”. Reassuring, but it is in no way constructive criticism.

This is why you need your critics. They are people who tell you your dreams are impossible. They disagree with your philosophy, and they don’t think you are brilliant. But you know what? They cared enough to make a statement about what you are doing. They are the evidence that your work at least has the potential to matter. Listen to them. They might have a few good ideas. If not, even better! They can motivate you to prove them wrong. Criticism is part of all success. Make it work for you.