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Out of Our Minds
Thursday, April 21, 2005 4:25 PM
No No Nanette
Kevin Salwen on Passionate Work

Sometimes, it's the people you know who are the least helpful. Let me explain.

Like everyone who is working on something about which they truly feel passionate, I find myself less and less tolerant of the naysayer and the skeptic. I'm working a gazillion hours, I'm thinking about it even more. I'm waking up in the middle of the night with thoughts coursing through me.

But I come out of the journalism world, in which (bet you didn't know this!) skepticism runs supreme. And what I've realized is that sometimes I can't use it. Don't get me wrong, of course: I'm do NOT need happy talk and I absolutely think constructive criticism is critical to coming up with the right product or service. You don't like how Worthwhile looks or our marketing pitch, bring it on.

I'm talking more about the pure-bred skeptic -- the 'prove it, then I'll know it's right' kind of person. I don't need those people in my life right now -- the looks, the pregnant pauses, the 'well, when you're ready to come back to the corporate world' type phrases. So, I've purged many of them, at least for the time being. Is this unreasonable?


Leanne - 4/25/2005 2:37:51 PM
Charles Stanley said it best - 'Relationships are for a reason, a season or a lifetime.'

I don't feel guilty anymore. Instead, I can admit that some relationships are designed to be temporal. It allows me more time and energy to develop new friendships and invest in the long-term relationships I truly value.

Theresa - 4/25/2005 12:19:35 PM
I find that wet-blanket types have the complete opposite of their intended effect on me. Their limited vision only serves to rev my engine. Tell me I can't do something...watch out!
martin - 4/25/2005 8:55:18 AM
No, you are not being unreasonable. I however have used those people as feed-stock for my own determination. I actually need people to tell me what I'm doing is wrong-headed or destined to fail. I realize that this may not be the healthiest way of thinking, but I use the negative criticism to drive my beliefs and actions.

I also recommend taking on the mantel of superiority when dealing with these people. Scoff at them and question their parentage. Practice signing knowingly and gently shake your head while uttering the phrase, 'It's a shame when cousins marry.'
Jory Des Jardins - 4/22/2005 11:32:43 AM
Here here! I seem to have a sensitivity to these people now, much like I have one to people with the flu, sitting next to me on the plane. I brace myself and bolster my immune system.
Jory Des Jardins - 4/22/2005 11:23:12 AM
Here here! I seem to have a sensitivity to these people now, much like I have one to people with the flu, sitting next to me on the plane. I brace myself and bolster my immune system.
Jenny - 4/22/2005 9:22:47 AM
I suppose it depends on what is really motivating the naysayer in the first place. Does the naysayer poke holes because he's jealous ('why should he get to do what he wants while I have to slug away in the salt mines...') or is the naysayer poking holes so he can either help you find solutions or put the bug in your ear to find solutions on your own?

If it's the former, I wholeheartedly agree that you should eliminate these people from your sphere. All they'll do is suck your energy and then gloat when you fail. If it's the latter, then you would do well to listen to what they have to say. Being passionate about something is all well and good -- you need it to sustain you through the grueling work of making a dream reality. But that work will come to naught if your passion prevents you from seeing the things that could derail your progress and making course corrections to suit.

No one who's enthusiastic about something likes being around someone who only sees what's wrong with it. But sometimes the naysayer is the only one who can stress-test that dream idea and help you make sure it can survive and flourish for as long as possible.
Anne Stanton - 4/22/2005 7:34:48 AM
I mix and mingle and work with a number of CPAs and often they are 'problem seekers'. I totally agree with you that sometimes the attitude gets in the way.
Nancy D. Solomon - 4/22/2005 12:18:42 AM
I've found that, quite often, the most skeptical people in my life are also the most frightened. They are living their lives 'from the outside in instead of from the inside out.' When I'm told, 'Are you sure you want to do this?', 'What's your real plan?', 'What will you do if you don't succeed?', what these people are really saying is: 'I'm scared to death to live my passion, to be on purpose and to follow my gut. I'm not at all sure I can trust myself and my abilities. If you, Nancy, disregard 'the norm' and follow your rightful path, and if you're successful, then I will no longer have any excuses for not getting what I want too. So... please don't do this crazy thing so I won't have to either!' :) My response: Thank you for sharing!
Steve Pavlina - 4/21/2005 6:24:14 PM
Skeptics need to be fired from our lives whenever we embark on some grand new vision. It's OK though -- they expect it. :)

But when your ship comes back into port for maintenance, skeptics are great at swabbing the decks. Skeptics aren't much good to listen to, but they make great cleaners because they always know where to find dirt.
Karen - 4/21/2005 5:07:08 PM
You caught my interest on the first sentence. I thought, 'yeah, the people I thought would be behind me on something that I'm passionate about aren't, while strangers are helping me out'. Then I went onto read the rest of your post. I didn't quite make sense to me. Either you're having a really bad day and need to vent or I need more details :-)

No, it's not unreasonable to distance yourself from your so-called skeptic friends for a while. True friends will come back to you, anyways.


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