Hear the naysayers

In life hacking blogs I often read that you should avoid negative people. Lately I read such a recommendation again at Life Optimizer. The last paragraph states:

15. Get rid of naysayers

While gathering around enthusiastic friends can energize you, gathering around naysayers will do the opposite: they will take away whatever positive energy you have. So avoid them at all costs. Of course, sometimes you need to reach out to them, but be sure that you energize them and not they take away your energy. You should always be open to constructive criticism, but avoid people who just make you down without giving constructive feedbacks.

I say: Hear what the naysayers have to tell. Let them draw the worst case scenarios for you. There are three reasons for them to be negative:
  • They locate problems and pitfalls - they see difficulties achieving the particular goal.
  • They fear the results - they worry about the changes that your actions may bring.
  • They want to achieve the goal themselves - and they want to make you down because they want to get to the goals earlier.
You can benefit in all three cases:
  • You can rate the probability of problems at the particular locations and do something to avoid the problems.
  • The naysayers are most probable not alone with their fears - you can do something to make them feel more secure. This will attract even more people to your solutions.
  • Envious people are a sign that you are aiming for valuable goals - working on them seems to be worth it also for others.
Sure, stubborn pessimism can be exaggerated and there is a time when you should prefer the presence of more positive people. But you are not sessile - you can move on.

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