1 Million People Hate You

How the internet and statistics taught me self-confidence, to step out of my comfort zone, and to not be afraid of rejection.

“Happy yellow smile in the crowd of sad” — found on motaen.com

There was a time were I was so scared of rejection I wouldn’t even try. I was simply terrified about hearing no from another person.

My fear of rejection would extend to facing interviews, dating girls, or publishing content online. Any situation where others would judge me was scary. I would take rejection personally, resulting in demotivation and anger.

I was successful in many areas of life. Yet still, my fear of people not being liked would prevent me to be my best. My self-confidence depended on others.

Many people have the same problem I had. What can we do?

Fortunately, I found a solution. Getting rid of this issue has allowed me, amongst other things, to start my own business — teaching me to better cope with social pressure. Perhaps my experience will be useful to you too.

My life changed when I realised one fact: 1 million people hate me, I just haven’t met them all yet. How is this possible? The answer is in the internet.

Where does all the hate come from?

Over 3 Billion people around the world use the internet as of today. The internet is an ecosystem as diverse as the world itself. People from all age groups, political inclinations, lifestyles, etc, are all mixed together.

Every time you publish content in the internet, such as an article, pictures, or a video, you can face two problems:

  • Nobody likes it, engagement is low (feels like you are being rejected).

The ideal result when publishing in the internet would be that everyone liked you. Likewise, the most desired outcome when being judged by others in real life would be to always be liked. But is this result even possible?

The truth is that, because of the large diversity and the sheer number of people in the world and in the internet, it is impossible to be someone that everyone will like. This is because the reasons why a certain group likes you can be the same reasons why another group dislikes you.

For instance, if you practice a religion some atheists will hate you; but if you are an atheist some religious people will not like you. Those two groups are mutually exclusive, you cannot be liked by everyone simultaneously. When you belong to any group, you can be disliked by people that you haven’t even met. This is because those people may judge your group as a whole.

Hate can be really unfair and unreasonable. Even if you do nothing and stay always out of trouble, some people can hate you simply for who you are:

  • Certain groups discriminate people of different nationalities.

No matter who you are, it’s likely at least 1 million of people in the internet and in the world hate you (you just haven’t met them yet). Is it bad? Hardly, 1 million is merely 0.03% of the total number of users in the internet.

The mistake I was making in life is that I wanted absolutely everyone to like me. I was putting all my energy in an impossible task. Realising that 1,000,000 people could hate me, made me see life through a different lense.

Not wasting time in trying to please everyone allows you to focus your energy better. I would like to illustrate the change in perspective with 3 simple life lessons. Who knows? Perhaps you can relate to them.

The trick of life is that you don’t need everyone to like you. You just need a few important relationships.

The angry german kid — one of the first videos to go viral in youtube years ago. It features a boy shouting at his computer and breaking his keyboard in furious anger for no reason. You may want to avoid standing on his way.

1. Embrace disagreement and rejection

You should accept that 1 million people hate you, you just haven’t met them yet. Implicit in this statement is that there is an easy way to avoid facing rejection and opposition. This is to never step out of your comfort zone.

If you never want to have any trouble in life, then never step out of your comfort zone. Bear in mind though you will also forfeit multiple opportunities for joy.

I call this concept the toxic incentive of the comfort zone.

It is very easy to avoid scary people. Are you afraid of being rejected in a date? Fine, just don’t date anyone and nobody will ever reject you. If you never go out to the world to explore you will be safe for today. However, you will pay the price of not achieving your goals. It’s your choice.

Fear is the enemy, not other people. Don’t blame others for your choices.

There are millions of people out there that like you and your products. You just haven’t met them yet. You need to step out of the comfort zone and triumph over scary people to meet those who appreciate you.

The more exposure you get, and the more you step out of the comfort zone, the more chances of success you will have. This means that a greater number of people will dislike you too. It’s simple statistics. The more famous Justin Bieber becomes, the more lovers and haters he gets. No fame means no haters, but no lovers either. You can not be liked by everyone.

The more people know you, the more potential for many to be unhappy. That’s just statistics.

Embracing the fact that not everyone will like me and that it is OK enabled me to be more confident when facing the world. The strategy to follow to find those important people is simple then, you just need to try many times, meet many people, be rejected and fail repeatedly, until you find the one perfect partner, the one perfect job, the one perfect audience. This leads me to the next point.

This is my version of the classic comfort zone diagram. I added a barrier of fear, rejection, and failure separating us from reaching the place where the magic happens. It may be scary, but it is worth it to get there and smiling :)

2. Don’t try to change people for approval

Another mistake I was making in my life was trying to change people so that they like me.

I would publish an article on the internet, get many positive comments and a very angry one. I would focus on fighting this one furious person for approval, resulting in frustration. It would be better to direct my efforts towards finding more of the people that found my article useful.

The golden rule of the internet is: don’t feed the troll. Same applies to life.

Look at the comfort zone diagram above. Stepping out of the comfort zone requires you to embrace rejection, this is a brave move. However, you also need to let go of the tendency of trying to change people if you want to get to the place where the magic happens. If you don’t, you’ll be trapped forever in between, fighting everyone trying to make them like you.

The most important person you should not try to change so that others like you is yourself. You are great as you are! Of course, change yourself if it is for the better, e.g. improving your fitness or diet. But never change simply to gain acceptance of others — it won’t bring you happiness. Being accepted by group A excludes you from group B.

Finally, accept that some people are always angry, you can not make them like you in a consistent way. Focusing your efforts in changing them won’t work, and is arguably inappropriate unless they have asked you for help.

Embracing that 1 million people hate you and avoiding the tendency to try to fight this immutable fact will allow you to implement the next step.

Some people are always angry. Spending your energy trying to make angry people like you is costly.

3. Focus on what is important and move on

It doesn’t matter if you are rejected in 100 dates if after that, you find the perfect match. Same applies to finding the perfect job or audience for your art. The game consists in finding those people that are perfect for you, and they are out there looking for you too. You won’t find each other if you are busy fighting those who disagree with you. So focus on what is important.

When publishing content, try to find the right audience. Experiment, fail, learn from the experience and move on. Aim to reach a larger amount of people that love what you do next time. Stopping to combat the haters will just slow you down. Move on.

When you face a job interview, or when you meet someone new in a date, accept that it is possible you are not meant for each other. We are all so different, statistics are against you. Just think of all the people that you know and how most of them would be inadequate partners or coworkers. If the match is not good for both, then move on. Fighting just causes pain.

Try to find the perfect match, not to transform what you have in front of you into perfection. Everyone will be happier this way.

Don’t commit prematurely because of fear. Moving on and rolling the dice again means new chances of finding what you are looking for. Settling on the first offer you get can result on years of frustration and regret. Some people marry at age 18 and regret it for a lifetime. Some students jump to the first professional offer they get and spend years hating their job.

Trial and error is required to find what you want in life. Mistakes will be made, rejection and failure will occur. Don’t focus your energy in negativity, aim for happiness and to fulfil your dreams.

If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will.

Never surrender, 1 million people hate you, but many more love you. Your task is to find them. Focus all your energy on this task!

Angry birds is one of the most popular apps in history. Their creators had to try and fail 51 times for 6 years until they managed to make the product that catapulted them to success. Never surrender, you may be one try away from your goal.

Being rejected many times is often a required step to achieve our goals. We shouldn’t let fear of what others may think prevent our success. Realising that it is impossible to make everyone in the world like me, has helped me get rid of this pressure and focus on what matters most.

Don’t focus on trying to make everyone like you, it’s impossible. Step out of your comfort zone, that’s where the best candy is. Derive your confidence from yourself, not from others.

If you enjoyed reading I would really appreciate it if you recommend ❤ and share this story. You can also follow me on Medium at Diego Oliveira Sánchez to read more stories. Finally, you can check NutriAdmin out if you want to see the project I’m currently working on.

If you want to read more of my work I recommend this story:

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