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In life, and business, we will all face our critics.  Whether you finally got your post baby bod, 10 years after giving birth, and posted a bikini photo that your sister-in-law publicly slammed on Instagram or you decided to finally start a business and your so-called bff is now your mff – missing friend forever.  It is often said that the more we put ourselves out there, the more criticism we face and frankly, if we are not getting criticized then we are playing way too small.

I once heard about the law of 25 percent.  Essentially…

  • 25% of people will not like us no matter what we do for them.
  • 25% of people do not like us but could end up liking us.
  • 25% of people like us but it is based on conditions and they could end up not liking us.
  • 25% of people like us no matter what.

The question I have for you is this – which 25% are you focused on?  If you are focused on the people who do not appreciate you no matter what you do for them then you are only setting yourself up to feel bitter, resentful, and angry.  If you are overly focused on trying to please people who are fickle, and could end up liking you, then you are missing out on the 50% that are likely to buy from you and support you.

What do you do then, when people in the 50% who are not your fans, criticize?

Human nature is to want to fight back – to write the email slamming their character, to reply to their post on your social media wall, to take out a full-page ad in the newspaper letting the world know what a fake they are, and tell everyone what a derelict this person truly is.


How we respond to criticism directly illustrates our character more so than it diminishes the person we want to get back at.

Furthermore, when we stew, ruminate, gossip, denounce, and get angry, we waste time.  Time, my friends is the one universal commodity we all share.  Wasting time costs us our health, our finances, and our relationships.  Letting critics get the best of us is a colossal waste of our time.

When faced with criticism, I suggest asking yourself the following five questions:

1.Will this still matter in 5 years? Take a moment to think about the person, who you don’t even know, who has a Phantom of The Opera Mask as their profile photo and wrote something nasty in the comments of a post you wrote announcing your new business venture.  When you are massively successful five years from now will anyone care about The Phantom?  NO!  Neither should you.

2. Do you truly want a relationship with this person? Sometimes, we let people earn the right to an opinion who we wouldn’t choose to have in our lives whatsoever.  If a person is critical and judgmental, do you want to have them in your life?  Do you want to have them in your business?  If you wouldn’t want this person in your life then why give their criticism any thought whatsoever?

Conversely, if you do want this person in your life, figure out how you can truly hear what they are saying?  Perhaps there is merit to their opinion and their delivery is not the greatest.  We are all human after all.

3. Can you surrender your EGO? The late Wayne Dyer used to say that EGO stood for Edging God Out.  When someone is being critical, our defense usually means playing offense.  Could you let it go?  Could you stand in grace?  Could you choose to operate with love and compassion understanding that anyone who is hurtful is often hurting somewhere in their own lives?

4. What is the ideal outcome? If this person is in the 25% of people who will never like you anyway then what is the ideal outcome?  Often this means no contact.  Delete or block them on social media.  If they are aggressive, or abusive, let them know that you are giving them a warning to stop or you will get your attorney involved.  It is one thing to criticize, it is another to slander.

If the ideal outcome is amicable, then consider getting a mediator or going to a neutral spot to have a heart-to-heart.  If you do not really know this person but would like to show the world that you are not a pushover, then the ideal outcome is going to be to stand up for yourself knowing that not everyone is going to support you but being fine with it anyway.

 5.What can you learn? Every conflict is an opportunity for growth.  If someone is criticizing you, ask yourself if their opinion has any merit.  If it does, then perhaps it is time to take a good look in the mirror and consider how you might want to show up differently to avoid another similar form of criticism.  For example, if you are constantly late, and someone calls you out on it, instead of going on the defensive, ask yourself if there is validity and what you can do to improve.  Not all criticism is justified however some of it is.


[img_text_aside style=”1″ image=”×255.jpg” image_alignment=”right” headline=”About%20Susan%20Sly” alignment=”center”]Susan Sly is a best-selling author, speaker, and badass!  Susan specializes in teaching entrepreneurs how to be more productive so they can lead a ridiculously fulfilling life. She is the mother of five and resides in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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Susan Sly

Author Susan Sly

Susan Sly is considered a thought leader in AI, award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, best-selling author, and tech investor. Susan has been featured on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime, ABC Family, and quoted in Forbes Online, Marketwatch, Yahoo Finance, and more. She is the mother of four and has been working in human potential for over two decades.

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