How to Use Criticism to Become Vastly More Influential, Popular, and Powerful
The right (and wrong) way to respond to critics
I get lots of criticism nowadays. More than ever.
It’s mostly in the comments. Sometimes emails. A few public virtual call-outs. Nothing in person yet, but I’m sure that day will come.
Some criticisms are simply disagreements (many with great points). Of course, there are the pure trolls, who probably didn’t even the article before critiquing. Some are angry, vicious responses personally attacking me and my beliefs!
See, in my first 4 years of blogging, I had hardly any criticism. Simple explanation: my content was so bad, no one even bothered to read it!
Now, I’m averaging over 200,000+ views a month on Medium alone. Each article gets about 5–10k claps on average, sometimes as high at 50,000+ claps on a single article. That’s a lot of readers! A lot more than before, anyway.
So — what do you do when dozens, hundreds, thousands of people tell you “you and your message sucks?” What do you do when they lay out exactly how you’re making the world a worse place?
Most people succumb to the pressure. They lash out (I have), they despair (I definitely have), or stew for days (or months, if you’re like me) designing a fitting counterattack.
None of these are helpful.
Instead, here’s how I learned to use criticism to become more influential, more popular, and more powerful than ever before.
The Good, Better, and Best Response to Criticism
“We all get knocked down, how quickly we get up is what separates us.”
-Darren Hardy, NYT best-selling author
There are plenty of “good” responses to criticisms, all of which I’ve seen advised:
- Ignore them
- Calmly defend yourself
- Poke fun at them
- Counter their claim with convincing evidence
These are well and good. They’re fine. You’ll always have critics, and these are good-enough responses for most people.