Something’s been bothering me for the past few months and today I finally put my finger on it.
It bothers me how much people like to criticize other people.
“People suck,” you’re thinking to yourself “so what’s your point?”
Ok, so it’s not just that people like to criticize other people, it’s that they like to criticize other people when they have relative anonymity, and when they haven’t achieved much themselves.
Yep, I’m gonna get flamed for this one.
Many of us have this tendency. You probably watched your dad criticize a coach’s decision when watching the game on TV, and he was loud and vocal about it. As if the decision couldn’t possibly make sense to anyone. That it was a crime against humanity and everyone knew it.
The internet brings this out more than any other medium I’ve seen; at no point in history have so many Monday morning quarterbacks been able to get together and toss insults at anyone who’s doing anything original, creative, or unique.
Like when people railed on Seth Godin for launching Squidoo.
Or hammered on Tim Ferriss about the 4-Hour Workweek.
Or talk smack semi-anonymously about Gary Vaynerchuk. Or Joel Spolsky.
There’s a need in some people to criticize the efforts of others. But you know what I’ve noticed? The more you put yourself out there, the more you realize how hard it is to do so, and the less you have this tendency.
I can’t remember the last time I saw someone like Seth, Gary or Tim rag on someone else.
Sure, they might disagree with someone’s approach (Ferriss likes to work short weeks, Gary V. likes to work long weeks), but they talk about it like adults and ultimately agree to disagree. They don’t disparage one another or one anothers’ belief. They simply acknowledge that another intelligent person could think differently and still be considered intelligent.
I think the difference is that once you’re putting yourself out there you realize that doing anything worthwhile is really hard…so you cut people some slack.
Because making decisions in the public eye, publishing passionate content that’s part of you, trying risky things, starting a company, writing a blog that people read, starting a podcast, and doing something that other people notice…is so terrifying I dedicated an entire post to it last week.
I’m not sure what the take away is. Maybe that it’s easy to criticize from the stands.
It’s easy to poke holes in someone’s argument on a forum with 100 readers where all you give is your first name and last initial.
That it’s easy to pick apart someone’s startup idea, their app, their new song, or their blog when you’ve never had the guts to do any of those things yourself.
What’s hard…is doing something.