“There is only one way to avoid criticism in life: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”


Ever since I started vlogging regularly about a month ago, I haven’t gotten much public criticism. I’ve gotten a few “thumbs down” ratings on my videos, but not much more than that.

This lack-of-haters has concerned me. Throughout my life, every time I’ve made myself vulnerable, stood by an opinion, or put myself out there for anyone to see, I get a healthy dose of angry comments from people who disagree with me. Of course most responses are usually positive, but there’s always a handful of negative people who speak up. I’ve come to view the presence of haters in my life as an indication that I’m moving in the right direction. Any time you move forward, you will necessarily run into negativity trying to pull you back.

Why am I not getting any haters? Am I not being controversial enough? Are people just not watching my stuff? What am I doing wrong?

It’s not that I want people to hate me. In fact, I hate that people hate me. It’s incredibly uncomfortable and prods my sense of self-confidence. But it’s a necessary part of life that can be used to propel you forward OR to hold you back, depending on how you react.

Haters don’t just come in the form of thumbs down ratings on YouTube. They don’t just appear as angry Facebook comments. They aren’t just on the internet. Every hater is a real life person, and the more you create, try, test, do, and interact, the higher your chance of running into haters becomes. You might turn your own friends or customers into haters. You might turn a mentor into a hater. A potential customer might end up hating on you after you make the wrong move.

That’s exactly what happened to me today. A potential customer of mine told me I had a terrible attitude and that I have a lot to learn about business.

Well… at least I’m no longer worried about not having haters. Congrats, Simon.

That’s what the honest voice in my head told me after I read the message. I felt personally attacked. It gave me the same feeling I get when somebody calls me an idiot on Facebook or YouTube.

He doesn’t know me!” I pleaded internally.

I know I have a great attitude, but this person is right about one thing. I have a lot to learn about business. I won’t dive into the details of this particular interaction, but of course in hindsight I could have avoided this. I’m testing out new business models and trying all sorts of things as I figure out what the hell I’m doing. I try new ideas and many of them don’t work out because I’m at the very beginning of carving my piece in the business world. If there aren’t mistakes and bumps along the way, then I’m not learning and improving as I go. Some potential customers will inevitably be the second-hand victims of my business decisions that end up not working out the way I had hoped.

But that won’t stop me from moving forward.

In an effort to squeeze value out of what seems like pure negativity, I decided to learn as much as I can from this experience and put it behind me.

This experience has taught me two things.

First, I need to be more clear about the services I’m providing. Going into a customer interaction without a crystal clear understanding of how I can help them is a great way to waste everyone’s time and set yourself up to be put down. I had to learn this at some point and now I know how I will improve for next time.

Second, I want to surround myself with people who view mistakes in the same way I do: positive progress. I will never push somebody down, even if they deserve it. Every mistake carries an immediate opportunity for growth. I will only push people to use their mistakes to become better. I refuse to work with people who use these opportunities to push people down instead of building them up.

Keep making mistakes and keep getting haters. It’s good for you.


P.S. Writing this post made me feel so much better about this experience. If people are hating on you, channel that negative energy to create something positive, whether it’s a video, blog post, podcast, a painting, or anything else.