You decided to grab the bull by the horns and try something new something unique something significant that not just anyone can do.
It’s hard enough to motivate yourself to take the leap and put yourself out there for the world to see. And then just when you’re feeling the momentum swing in your favor.
Some energy vampire comes along and whacks you over the head with a big, ugly dose of negativity. It creates doubt, crushes your spirit, and extinguishes your burning desire to fight the good fight.
Deep down you know that you shouldn’t listen. But all the doubt that you bravely shook off when you started down your path comes creeping back into your head.
It’s a horrible feeling and it can take the wind out of your sails quickly.
Energy vampire, by the way, is a term used to describe a person whose presence or actions leave you feeling wiped out, depressed, or generally negative.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could let the words and negative energy of these enthusiasm-suckers roll off your back?
Well, you can! But first, you need to understand what you’re dealing with.
You Canít Tell The Energy Vampires Without A Program
There are many types of energy vampires out there who are more than willing to drain your enthusiasm. Here are just a few:
The Blame Old Story
Have you ever known someone who constantly makes bad decisions, and yet spends all their time talking about how someone or something else is keeping them down? All they talk about is how the boss, their spouse, the government, or the world is to blame for everything bad that’s ever happened to them.
And to make matters worse, they’re more than happy to tell you about how you canít succeed because someone is waiting just around the corner to screw you over, too.
A Side of Entitlement
These types feel like a break that never comes is somehow owed to them and they love to point out how ‘lucky’ you got whenever something good happens to you. To them success is something that should be gift-wrapped and delivered to their door and not fought for.
Wash, Rinse, Defeat
These people believe that there’s nothing new under the sun and so no matter what you do, no good can come from it. They feel like everything is going to turn out badly no matter what so why even try?
Unlike the rest of these energy vampires, most destructive guardians mean well and are actually trying to help. Granted, they do the opposite of help but they don’t see it that way. This person could be a friend, a spouse, or a parent who is trying to protect you from the big bad world by conditioning you to failure.
That way, when you ‘inevitably’ do fail, it won’t hurt you so much. They might tell you that you’re not qualified for a competitive field, or that you’re setting yourself up for heartache by trying something. The advice comes from a place of love but it’s as destructive as any other kind of negativity.
Under The Bridge
The online world has its own version of energy vampires called trolls. These people are so named because they lurk in the dark, often anonymously, and periodically jump out of the shadows to attack others who have the pluck and grit to speak up and share their thoughts.
They’re insulting, mean-spirited, and like the story book trolls, often have trouble putting a sentence together. Incidentally, they’re the easiest to ignore because they lack even a shred of credibility.
We’ve established that the bad-vibe carrying energy vampires are out there. But what can you do to not let them bring you down?
A couple of things, actually.
Two Positive Perspectives
1: It’s Not About You
Recognize that whatever these people have going on in their lives it’s not about you. It may sound like it is but it isn’t. Negative people are usually under temporary stress, or they’re projecting their own life’s disappointments onto you, or they’re just unhappy people to begin with.
Just understanding that fact is empowering if you think about that. If you understand that the negativity of others is rooted in sadness, it’s easier to not get worked up or angry over their behavior.
2: Turn A Deaf Ear and A Blind Eye
As difficult as it is, try ignoring the negativity. Remember that outstanding people achieve amazing things because they undertake challenges that most people don’t dare attempt. That takes confidence, fortitude, and strength. It’s uncommon. So of course it looks odd to other people. Those who can’t comprehend your vision can therefore become negative ñ or unwittingly tell you that your plan won’t work. Your task is to banish their negative thoughts and continue on your path.
The Honor Roll of Negativity Banishers
Many famous and successful people throughout history have had to endure negativity from others. Although they’re all different people from different walks of life and even from different eras and these winners all have one thing in common: They persisted in the face of external negativity.
Charles Darwin’s own father was disappointed in him and thought he was lazy.
Harrison Ford was told that he was ‘never going to make it in this business’ by the Vice President of Columbia Pictures.
When Winston Churchill was young, his father told him that he was unfit for a career in politics because he performed so poorly in school.
One of the most prolific composers in American history, Leonard Bernstein, was repeatedly encouraged by his father to give up music and do something ‘worthwhile’ for a living.
Barbra Streisand’s mother told her that her voice wasn’t good enough to sing and that she wasn’t attractive enough to make it as an actress.
As a young man, Conrad Hilton (of Hilton Hotel fame) heard his father tell his mother that Conrad would probably never amount to anything significant.
George Washington’s mother downplayed his accomplishments even after he became a general and then President of the United States. She went as far as to stay home for both of his presidential inaugurations because she thought it was his duty to take care of her.
Thomas Edison was once told by a teacher that he was too stupid to learn anything.
The Beatles were told by a record company that they didn’t like their sound.
Years ago, comedian Rodney Dangerfield informed†Eddie Murphy that unless he changed (cleaned up) his act, he would never make it as a comedian.
Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for lacking imagination and having no original ideas.
The Wisdom of The Media
Be just as discriminating about what popular media opinions you take to heart. Conventional wisdom isn’t always well, wise. Consider the following press clipping:
“The world is too big for us. Too much is going on. Too many crimes. Too much violence and excitement. Try as you will, you get behind in the race in spite of yourself. It’s a constant strain to keep pace — and still, you lose ground. Science empties its discoveries on you so fast that you stagger beneath them in hopeless bewilderment. The political world now changes so rapidly you’re out of breath trying to keep pace with who’s in and who’s out. Everything is high pressure. Human nature can’t endure much more!
Does that sound like something you might hear on the news right now? I mean, given current events, you can see how a journalist might write that in this day and age, right?
That was reportedly published in the Atlantic Journal in June of 1833.
Be careful what you let into your head!
Confidence and Positivity Comes From Within
There are those who will intentionally try to destroy your confidence. There are also those who will accidentally undermine your efforts in the process of trying to help or protect you.
Even experts can be wrong and so take their criticism with a grain of salt, too. Re-read the list of successful people above. Many of those people were told point-blank by experts that they couldn’t make it and yet they did.
Your confidence and certainty has to come from inside you. Forge ahead. Do your best. Fight on despite your critics. And if after doing that you still fall short of your goals ñ be proud that you stuck with your plan long after most people would have thrown in the towel. That in itself is a unique accomplishment!
Your turn. Share your experiences with energy vampires or persisting in the face of negativity in the comments.
Gary Korisko (@RebootAuthentic) writes about authenticity and the human side of business on his blog Reboot Authentic. Download his FREE eBook, How To Alienate All The Right People ñ a real-world guide to breaking away from the herd and doing something special.