Monday, October 28, 2013

Never Let the Critics Stop You From Shining

The default tendency for most people is to not intentionally disturb other people, to go with the flow instead of making waves--but this kind of safe approach is rejected by dynamic individuals who have big thoughts and dreams that cannot be contained or stifled. In The Plus Side of Pissing People Off, Tim Ferriss declares that nothing great can be accomplished without upsetting somebody:

Doing anything remotely interesting will bring criticism. Attempting to do anything large-scale and interesting will bring armies of detractors and saboteurs. This is fine--if you are willing to take the heat.

There are good reasons to be willing, even eager.

Colin Powell makes the case: pissing people off is both inevitable and necessary. This doesn’t mean that the goal is pissing people off. Pissing people off doesn’t mean you’re doing the right things, but doing the right things will almost inevitably piss people off.

Understand the difference.  As Mr. Powell has put it, "Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off."

Mr. Spock expressed a similar sentiment in the classic Star Trek episode "The Enemy Within," noting that when a transporter malfunction split Captain James Kirk into a "good" version and a "bad" version it became clear that the "bad" version--the version that did not care what other people think--is an essential aspect of what made Kirk so decisive and effective: "And what is it that makes one man an exceptional leader? We see here indications that it's his negative side which makes him strong, that his evil side, if you will, properly controlled and disciplined, is vital to his strength."

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