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Turning Hatred Into Self-Improvement

Note: This is our second post in our series inspired by The Commitment Engine. You can read the first post here.

John Jantsch tells a very interesting story early on in The Commitment Engine. He was at a dinner with some other people on the social media speaking circuit, and his fellow diners were bashing another speaker who wasn’t there. They were claiming that this speaker must fake everything he says because he never has actually done the kind of work that he talks about. These people asked John to weigh in and his response was that everyone probably fakes it to some extent, in one way or another. What he really was thinking, according to his book, is that probably these people were bashing this other person because his success made them feel insecure. Why was he having such good luck? Why was he more popular than they were?

Jantsch suggests that often, when we react negatively to another company, another person, or another situation, what we really are doing is protecting our own sensitivities about ourselves. These people who were bashing another speaker were perhaps really expressing their own lack of confidence in their speaking abilities. If an author lashes out against another author, it may be because there is a fear the other author is better. If your company finds it tempting to lash out against your competitors in an ad or online, it is possible that what you are really doing is betraying a lack of confidence in your own product or service.

Let’s face it, if we’re sure that we’re better, we don’t really take note of anything or anyone else, right?

Jantsch suggests that when you have that twinge that makes you want to react negatively to someone or something, what you really should do is stop yourself and ask, “What insecurity am I experiencing here, and how can I fix it?” ย This can work on a personal level as well as on a corporate level.

Let’s say that your company manufacturers capital equipment. Your strongest competitor manufactures something very similar, and there is always a lot of mumbling within your corporate walls about how high-tech their product is or low they have priced it in comparison with yours. If you hear a lot of this kind of negativity in ย your company, see if you can follow John Jantsch’s advice and turn that string of complaints into something positive. If your employees really feel like your competitor’s product looks cleaner or more “modern” than yours, is that something your product development team can work on? If pricing is an issue that you have to deal with, is there a way to alter how your machines are manufactured so that you can be more competitive on price? Alternatively, you might discover through these conversations that everyone is actually pretty proud of your products and that they were just spewing negativity. That’s good to know, too.

On a personal level, you can approach vitriol as it evolves in the same way. Do you find that you’re always complaining about a co-worker, a peer, or a friend, even? Try to take a step away from the negativity. What do you really not like about them? Is it possible that what you feel is not really hatred or loathing but really a sense of jealousy? If so, what are you jealous of? Are you feeling insecure about that particular facet of your life? How can you fix it?

As communication becomes easier and easier with social media and mobile technology, negativity against others becomes easier and easier to spread. It’s extremely easy to complain, especially online when no one is there to stop you with a warning look. Try to analyze your behavior and determine what drives you to a negative place. You may find that this exercise could, as Jantsch suggests, actually lead to discovering things about yourself or your company that you could work to improve. A negative could become a major positive. What could be better than that?

Image Credit:ย http://www.flickr.com/photos/fstorr/5474406739/ via Creative Commons

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10 comments on “Turning Hatred Into Self-Improvement

  1. Another great highlight Marjorie – it’s funny how many people have picked up on that story. I think we’ve all found ourselves there at some point and in some environments people live there.

  2. I believe you have a point….to a point. Just the fact that the “target” was not present is so common among the human species ha ha. However I do believe there is a problem in that many on the “social media circuit” are fakers and fauxperts. The problem is they are spilling advice that is harmful to the entire space. That being said, John is correct, we are all guilty of a little faking here and there.
    Me personally, I find keeping my blinders on and worrying about what “I” want to accomplish usually leads me to seeing my unhealthy competitors in my rear view mirror.
    Nice post Marjorie

    • You raise a good point. Often people do fake it in one way or another. In fact, you run into the saying “Fake it till you make it” all the time in the online world, which I always found kind of disturbing, to be honest. Maybe this will give people pause before saying *that* and that would be a great victory! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I hear what Gerry is saying about social media. But it happens in other industries, too. Some people (and companies) have the character to set their sights higher and leapfrog the competition in quality or performance or innovation or value. Others just bitch, moan and gossip. Guess which kind of company people want to work for — even if it means the wages are lower?

    • Exacccccctly. Which is why I don’t understand the attitude many have in the online world. “Well, I’m just going to be me and if you don’t like it you’re not worth the salt on my table.” That’s fine if you’re a rockstar. Not so good if you’re in business ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Hence the proliferation of reality TV. Someone else looking bad makes me look good.

    Jealousy is very unbecoming.

  5. This post was awesome. I’ve always felt the same way about people who go negative. I never bash writers (except Hemingway, who is dreadful). There is an old saying, “Thieves think that everyone steals”

    When I hear a political junkie yelling “Lies, Nazi, ect”, I just assume the person is a combination of stupid, dishonest, the product of parents who didn’t love them, sort of pathetic, and unlikely to be able to do rudimentary math.

    I guess I’m just too old, or bored, to do all the negative hate thing…well except for E.H…I mean really, who did he sleep with to get published and then praised. Have you read “A Farewell To Arms”? My god, just horrible, and the ending was a heaping pile of ‘meh’…I digress.

    Okay, maybe I have a little hate in me. I think I’ll go write a 1000 words on why Earnest H. should have been a used car salesman and how the human race would have been better off…then I’ll feel better.

    • Haha ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel the same way about Ernest Hemmingway. I’ve never really understood the big deal. I like some of his short stories somewhat – I get the deep meaning whatnot, but really…it’s an attraction I do. not. get.

      I guess we can be haters together, Brian ๐Ÿ™‚

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