Forget The Critics, Find Your Fans

Critics are everywhere. They can be harsh, they can complain about your work, they can put you off, and it can be disheartening.

The actor who may receive a bad review may think that they are not cut out for acting. They feel crushed by the words of some stranger who sat in the audience and critiqued their every move. But there is a difference between the two people. The person up on stage is the one actually doing the work, whereas the other is doing the easy job of sitting and hiding in an audience, picking holes in someone else’s work.

People love to criticise others. Sometimes people can criticise for all the wrong reasons: out of spite, out of jealousy, or misunderstanding.

When you are trying to produce something: trying to write, paint, or build a business, then critics are everywhere and they can easily throw you off course. We should ignore the critics and instead just focus on our fans.

Ignore The Critics

Ignore the critics who complain about how you could have done better, or where you fell short. The person actually doing the task is the one who deserves the credit, because they tried time and time again. They fell short but they tried again with great enthusiasm.

They know that they are doing something worthy, and at least they are trying, rather than sitting there on the sidelines doing nothing.

If they try and they fail, well at lest they know that they have been brave. Even if they fail, they are better than those shy people who never tried. They are better than those people who were too scared to try something themselves.

Ignore those who criticise you and have never been in your shoes, or who have never tried to attempt what you are doing. Ignore the football fan who has never played a competitive game in his life, or the art critic who has never painted anything.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Find Your Fans

If someone doesn’t like what you are producing, that’s fine, as Seth Godin says: ‘it’s not for them’.

  • If someone doesn’t like your writing, that’s fine – they’re not the intended reader.
  • If someone doesn’t like your acting, that’s fine – they’re not the intended audience.
  • If someone doesn’t like what you are selling, that’s fine – they’re not the intended customer.

Keep on doing what you are doing and just find the right audience, find your fans. If you find a group of people who like what you are doing and you enjoy providing them value, then focus on those fans and serve their needs as best as possible.

Some Critics Just Can’t Be Won Over

Whatever it is you are creating may be adored by some and hated by others. Ignore the haters and instead focus on those who love your work.

Some people love heavy metal music, some people hate it. If you’re in a heavy metal band, do you think it’s better to focus on those who love your music, with your screaming lyrics and heavy guitar riffs? Or should you focus on the critics who hate your music?

It might be that the critic hates your music because they in fact love jazz, and no matter how much you listen to their criticism you’ll never be able to make heavy metal music that pleases them. So ignore them. You’ll get better by focussing on what your fans think.

Commit Yourself to Your Craft

Do not waste your time thinking about your critics. Commit yourself to what you are doing, commit yourself to your craft.

Ignore those who try to criticise you and only bring you down. Instead focus on those who actually like what you are producing – your fans.

You will always have critics and you’ll get better results by focussing on your fans.

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