Haters

The good news of haters

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Has someone “accused” you of being a dreamer or an idealist? Do “haters” ever scoff at your optimism or sense of possibility, your intention to change society? Are you ever accused of being “unrealistic” or “naive”?

If so, congratulations! You are officially not a cynic – possibly the least helpful and most annoying type of person in existence.

And better still, you seem to be doing a great job of getting your message across and disrupting the status quo.

As a dreamer, a lot of people along the way are going to call you out. They’re going to say that you are wasting your energy. They’re going to say that you should just accept that things are never going to change. They might even call you stupid and dangerous, because you dare to see possibility where they only see despair.

If you’re getting these messages, GOOD. That means you’re on the right track. As a change agent, part of the territory is that people will call you out. Many won’t share your optimism and will despise you for it. Many won’t share your values and your vision for the future. They’ll hate you ever more. GOOD.

The truth is, if you’re a change agent and you’re not getting these messages, you’re either not being bold enough or you’re not loud enough.

People hurling shit at you is a sign that you’ve destabilized them. Your message is creating ripples and has gotten a reaction out of someone. If you’re getting a response, you’re on the right track. Good or bad, it doesn’t matter. If you’re getting a reaction, your message is having a resonance. That is what you want.

In fact, when a bunch of people are willing to take time out of their day to hurl shit at you, then you really know you are doing a good job. You’ve done such a good job of challenging the status quo that those who are protecting it feel the need to put up defenses. The more, the better.

The challenge is: Can you receive their comments and let them pass right by you? Can you not engage with them?

If so, then you’ve made sure they don’t destabilize you. If you don’t get hooked by their negative messages, then you don’t give power to them.

You keep the power for yourself.

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Peter Schulte

Peter Schulte is the founder and editor of Kindling. Peter is also Senior Digital Engagement Associate for the Pacific Institute and the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate, connecting businesses to sustainable water practices. Peter holds a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies and a B.A. in Comparative Literature from University of California, Berkeley, and an M.B.A. in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University. He lives in Bellingham, WA, USA with his wife, son, and cat.

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