We’ve all had skeptics in our lives. Whether it was a sibling, parent, classmate, coworker, boss, spouse, or a complete stranger—you’ve probably had someone say to you, “You can’t…” or “That will never work…” or “It won’t last…” or some other variation of doubt and skepticism.
Some people are crushed by these kinds of naysayers and let these words of doubt extinguish their dreams. But other people—and I’d consider myself one of these—take skepticism as a challenge, and use these words of doubt to fuel their resolve. Upon being told, “You can’t,” they press on toward their goal with a new purpose: proving the skeptics wrong.
I’ve learned that while that kind of motivation can be powerful, it can also be dangerous. If you become too focused on proving the skeptics wrong (and yourself right), you will lose sight of your original purpose and the true value of achieving your goal will be diminished.
Seth Godin recently wrote about this on his blog, saying,
“Instead of working so hard to prove the skeptics wrong, it makes a lot more sense to delight the true believers. They deserve it, after all, and they’re the ones that are going to spread the word for you.”
So while you shouldn’t give up and throw in the towel in the face of skepticism, you also shouldn’t let your focus become proving the skeptics wrong. Instead, take skepticism and negativity in stride, remind yourself of your original purpose and passion, and persevere toward your goal.
How about you, have you ever done something just to prove the skeptics wrong? Do you feel the result would have been different had your motivation been different? Share your experience in the comments below.