As someone that's creative and whose life involves time spent in music business (whether you're a musician or working behind the scenes), there will be at least one person in your life trying to drag you across the coals for it.
There’s no way to live a meaningful life without critics, naysayers, and sometimes haters getting in the way. They’re part of the human experience. However, it’s your job to not allow them to stop you from living your life, enjoying music and thriving in your work and personal life.
If you're finding negativity is holding you back due to the actions of others, try following these tips to avoid allowing the critics in your life to influence and halt you:
- Find your purpose. If you are doing something that's very important to you, try to care far less about the criticisms of others. However, if they can easily throw you off your path and your vision, you might want to consider finding another path. Are you living your purpose? If not, determine what you want to do with your life. If it has to be a career in music, find a way (consider mentoring) that works for you.
- Understand why people are being unsupportive. The people that criticise you are often just trying to be annoying for reasons many times only known to themselves. They enjoy getting under your skin and being noticed (attention seekers). People are also hateful when you start doing well. No one likes to be left behind or face the truth of their own mediocre existence. Jealousy can become toxic extremely quickly; finding a better path is highly recommended.
- Focus on your mission. Train yourself to be more focused and determined when criticism comes your way. This way, the more the critics bark, the more you’ll accomplish. Most people are distracted by criticism, it disrupts harmony and productivity. Don’t be like most people. Discover how to remain in the “flow” for longer and remain productive. It’s time to unleash your inner productivity monster.
- Notice that critics are a small part of the population. We notice negative feedback more than we notice positive. This has been demonstrated in numerous studies. We think there are more people working against our efforts than there really are. Most people are actually indifferent to you and your life.
- Realise that you’re going to be criticised no matter what you do. Success or failure, there is someone that will tell you that you’re doing the wrong thing. Since you’re going to hear negative comments no matter what you do, do what matters the most to you and do your best to ignore the naysayers.
- Respond calmly to negativity. Avoid giving your critics the pleasure of an emotional response. Respond with kindness, and you’ll often find they soften their criticism or apologise. If you ignore them, they’ll either become angry or bored.
- Use your critics as motivation. While some people are intimidated and deflated by the haters of the world, others are able to use the negative comments as a source of motivation. Use your critics’ words as fuel for your success. If your music receives a negative review (whether it’s from press/media or public), try to look objectively at the writer’s words as there might be constructive criticism that can help improve your songs. Avoid publicly naming and shaming as this will not help you, and could potentially close doors. Decide if they have something useful to say. Some criticism can be helpful. If you receive specific criticism, consider if it might be true. Adapt your approach if necessary. If the criticism isn’t helpful, let it roll off your back and move on to positive tasks. You have more important things to do.
- Take criticism as a compliment. Most people will leave you alone if you’re struggling. You only become a significant target of negative comments if you’re doing well. If you’re taking a lot of heat, it's likely you are doing something right!
In conclusion, avoid allowing the “haters” in your life to derail your plans. Toxicity feeds toxicity just like positivity grows positivity. Live your life without the need for the approval of others.
If you’re spending your time on activities that truly matter to you, the criticism you receive will have far less impact on you. Just remember, you’re probably doing well if critics are barking in your ear.
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