Do You Know How To Deal With People Who Mock And Ridicule You?

FACT: The Entrepreneur Is Without “Honour” Among Those Who “Know” Him

One of the greatest realities you may have to face(there are exceptions, as is the case with everything in life), when you formally announce to the world that you have become an entrepreneur, is that you do NOT know many people you think you know, as well as you think you do.

Godfrey Heron([]) in his Entrepreneur’s Survival Checklist described this shocking experience quite accurately when he wrote that people you love – friends, relatives, your spouse – will openly doubt you and sometimes even “predict” your failure.

In their eyes, you are just the same person they have always known and grown up with. People close to us seem to find it easier to think of us in terms of our past failures and weakest moments – the growing up years, and all the mistakes we made while trying to discover ourselves. They often miss the tremendous changes that have taken place inside us following from those experiences, especially AFTER we left home and explored the outside world on our own.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” — George Bernard Shaw

My personal experiences confirm this. People who know you always think if they cannot see in you the potential for success in what you say you want to do, then it has to mean you cannot possibly succeed in it. And they can be quite insistent in tying to make you realise this “fact” of theirs.

In the process of trying to get you to be “reasonable” and see the folly in trying to pursue what they consider the “impossible” goal you have set for yourself, some will resort to tactless attempts at humour, and in some cases, ridicule your ideas and efforts outright – especially when you begin to record failures(temporary defeats). Heron however assures that this does not mean they do not love you – it’s something that just happens. Again, I agree.

Regardless of whether or not they love you however, I am of the firm opionion(based on personal experiences and extensive reading) that the truth is that their actions do not produce positive benefits of love. Napoleon Hill wrote about the psychologically destructive effect this kind of behaviour has on the person on whom it is inflicted, concluding that it often results in many men and women giving up on themselves and subsequently going through life with serious inferiority complexes.

There Will Be Exceptions!

As is always the case in life, there will be exceptions to the general situation I have described above. You may be lucky to have been born into a family of entrepreneurs, who have developed a culture of passing down entrepreneurial know-how from generation to generation. In that case, starting out in business, may not sound/look, to them, as “crazy” as wanting to take up employment in a corporate organisation for instance. In fact, NOT doing so probably would!

1. Learn To Quickly Identify And Deal With Two Common Groups :

But back to the situation under consideration in this article, in which people who know you mock and ridicule you for daring to take action to see your plans through. These people will often appear in different “groups”, and it would help if you learn to quickly determine who belongs where, so as to be able to decide HOW to handle him/her.

A. Those who do it to your face. Some people like they were born cynical. They always know what can go wrong or will not work. As soon as they learn you want to do something new, they immediately come after you. People like this never feel happy until they have confronted you – gleefully – with their list of “Why it won’t work” ideas. But at least they confront you, and let you know what they think and where they stand. You are able to quickly develop ways and means of avoiding them, so they do not wear you down with negativity.

To paraphrase Cynthia Kersey (from her book “UNSTOPPABLE 45 Powerful Stories Of Perseverance and Triumph from People Just Like You” ), allowing negative thoughts into your mind, will produce the same effect on your dreams as injecting poison to your bloodstream would have on you. That’s why I like this group better than the next group I wish to describe.

Note: People in the above group may not always stop at talking. Sometimes, from observing your rate of progress,(especially when they think you might just prove them wrong, making them lose face in front of those they tried to impress by punching holes in your ideas), they could employ direct attacks on your person/projects to stop you from succeeding. It has happened before, and you would be wise to take necessary precautions – such as giving out as little information as possible about what you’re doing until absolutely necessary.(Funny that I should be the one giving this kind of advice, since I tend not to apply it myself, and have suffered nee

B. Those who do it behind your back. Some people live lives of envy and deception. And so they never tell you what they think of you/your ideas to your face. They would rather tell others. When talking to you(and those they think favour you) they speak from both sides of the mouth. When they are with you, they are all sympathetic to your cause and courteous to a fault. They make a habit of calling you ever so often to ask how you’re getting on, and you find yourself telling your spouse and others how wonderful they are.

On occasion they would even contribute materially to your cause(e.g. by helping to raising capital etc). In this latter scenario, the saying “Not everyone that puts dirt on your head is your enemy, and not everyone that helps you remove dirt from your head is your friend” should be kept in mind. People being described here would do this, to gain your trust, and get closer to you. While with others, they play safe by sitting “quietly” on the fence where it concerns you, in a way they hope you will not notice. They stay close to you so just in case you succeed they can claim to have been part of it.

But they ALWAYS leave themselves enough room to wash their hands off you, if – as most others expect – you end up falling flat on your face. Either way, they never have your interest at heart, and are often in it for what they can get out of their relationship with you to make themselves look good in front of others.

Then one day you accidentally over hear them leading a series of hilarious jokes in which you are the main “object of ridicule”. That’s when you realise that all the time they spend with you is aimed at learning what your latest failures are, so they can return to tell others what they learnt using the privileged access they have to you. And it would hurt so much(I’ve been there before!). You owe yourself a duty to quickly discern these kind of people and avoid them.

2. What You Can Do To Deal With People Who Mock/Ridicule You

You may find one or more of the following ideas useful dealing effectively with those who mock and ridicule you, without your having to break anyone’s bones :-).

A. Have a “Guiding Philosophy” to help you stay focussed on your goals, and also nurture your self-belief. Read my article titled “Practical Guiding Philosophies For Entrepreneurial Success” for a detailed discussion on this subject.

B. Stay FAR Away From Them: Burt Dubin challenges each person pursuing a valued goal to demand nothing less than “integrity” from everyone s/he associates with. Not to do so, he explained, would be a recipe for failure. His advice for dealing with those who fall short? Simply do away with such persons. Break the relationship. Cut off the links. Stay away subsequently – for the sake of your dreams.

Here’s a true story to illustrate. In a separate article titled “Why You May Want To Rejoice When Others Mock You!“, I narrated the true story of Robert Goddard, the scientist who pioneered research into rocket science, leading to the launch of the space age. In it I described how Goddard, as a result of repeated mockery and ridicule of his published theories about how rockets could be built to fly into space, chose (with the backing of a financier) to continue his work in a more private location, away from the prying eyes of nosy locals, colleagues, and most especially – journalists.

Goddard went on to record significant breathroughs, that proved his theories were correct. Decades later, he would get credit for his work(though posthumously), in addition to an “editorial apology” rendered by a major newspaper that had rubbished his ideas nearly five decades earlier!

John Johnson, the founder of Ebony Magazine reportedly fired any employee who said his goals could not be achieved. Bill Payne(in preparing for the Los Angeles Olympics) deliberately avoided contact with anyone who questioned the feasibility of projects he initiated. Most of the authors of the books from which these insights were gained, agree that associating with (or remaining accessible to) negative people can result in the slow but certain death of your dream.

C. Have Dignity In Your Difficulty/Adversity: Never let the difficulties or hardship you encounter defeat you psychologically. To ensure you achieve success, it is imperative that you hold on to your self-belief. No one is ever defeated until s/he has accepted defeat as a reality. This means even when a person has failed so many times, till s/he can no longer keep count, it would not be enough to make him/her feel like quitting.

Evidence of your self-belief would be your ability to hold your chin up, and walk with a straight back even when you have to meet/face those you know look down on you because of your current circumstances. Most people who allow their fears to keep them from venturing beyond their comfort zones to chase their dreams, will draw attention to your “suffering”(and conveniently overlook smaller successes you have already recorded) in a bid to justify themselves. Their resort to mockery and ridicule, can lead to the person on the receiving end of it developing an inferiority complex. You must NEVER let that happen to you!

Show that you have dignity in your adversity by speaking assertively/with confidence to ANYONE you meet, even when they laugh in your face – ESPECIALLY when they laugh in your face!! James Cook assured that a good sign that you are on the right track will often be when your ideas are doubted or scorned by those you share them with. You are unlikely to find people who think the way you do in the majority – at least not until you have proved yourself right.

D. Fight Back IF Necessary: In certain instances, some of these people will launch direct attacks on your person – particularly if they feel your rate of progress suggests you could succeed, and possibly make them lose face before those they have told you cannot succeed. For instance, they could deliberately begin to spread falsehood about you to others.

In my experience however, this would be a sign that you ARE doing well – hence their desperation to stop you. If that was not the case, if they were so sure that you were wrong, why would they bother to commit their effort and time to stopping you at this stage? If/when this does happen to you, weigh the options carefully, and if necessary do NOT hesitate to fight back – intelligently. An example of how you can fight back, may be to deliberately publicise their actions in a way that will make others criticise them openly(they seldom like that, and will often scurry into hiding and become silent!). Do a little creative thinking here, including exploring ways to inject what I like to call “wicked humour” 🙂 into your plan implementation. Some good ideas will come to you.

“Man who says it cannot be done, should not get in the way of man who wants to do it” – Chinese Proverb

E. Never Do Anything You Would Be Scared For Others To Discover. Use this self-check rule to decide. If you know what you are about to do is something you would be ashamed to tell ANYONE else about, then DO NOT do it. This is quite simple, yet we human beings can struggle with it sometimes. Maybe it’s because, as they say, “Stolen Water tastes sweeter”. That’s why people get caught in fraudulent deals or immoral acts(e.g. extra marital affairs) even though all their lives they’ve been told doing these things would be bad, and have seen/heard how many others destroyed themselves by failing to heed the many warnings!

Once you have a secret(s), your life changes forever. You will always worry about how to keep others from learning about it(them). Then one person does, and begins using it against you, and it can often get worse with time. A person who wants to ridicule you would gleefully reveal as many bad things s/he knows about you to others. What’s worse, you are unlikely to be able to really put up any decent resistance or defence. People who believe in you would be devastated. Those who consider you a role model would lose hope.

Please, do not have any dark secrets(or skeletons in your cupboards) – else you WILL become ripe for even more relentless attacks from people who want to mock and ridicule you. Then most of what is offered in this article will be completely useless to you.

“You will need to stand on an unshakeable pedestal of integrity to achieve authentic, lasting success in any area of endeavour” – Tayo K. Solagbade

3. Mockery, Ridicule And Rejection Sometimes Have Their Benefits – But…

I have read a number of accounts about the lives of some successful people who overcame great adversity and rejection to become successful in their chosen ventures. In a number of these cases, the persons concerned mentioned that the constant rejection, and mockery by others propelled them to work harder so as to prove wrong those who made fun of them. There is the story of an individual whose success came out of a drive to remove the stigma of having had acne as a kid.

One could argue that without the mockery and ridicule from onlookers, friends, relatives and associates, the entrepreneur may not have been driven hard enough to achieve his/her eventual success. Maybe this could have been true for some entrepreneurs, but overwhelming research evidence has shown very clearly that for the majority of human beings, the exact opposite will yield even better results.

An elaborate study of the literary accomplishment of some alumni of the University of Wisconsin, twenty years after they they had graduated provides proof that the assertion made in the above paragraph is true. Read Ted Engstrom’s account – in Chapter Twelve of Zig Ziglar’s book “Over The Top” – of the true story about two student groups who named themselves “Wranglers” and Stranglers” respectively.

Briefly, both were groups of young literary talents who regularly met to read/critique each other’s work. The Wranglers – were all women, and the Stranglers, men. But that was where the similarity ended.

The Wranglers reviewed and gave feedback/criticism to each other using positive, encouraging and gentle language (attributes of emotionally intelligent people) for every member alike. In contrast, meetings between the Stranglers were characterised by harsh criticisms, literarily tearing each other’s work apart, and giving little or no encouragement for those who failed to meet the exacting standards set.

Twenty years later, the study showed a distinct trend. None of the Stranglers had recorded ANY noteworthy literary achievement, while the Wranglers had more than five accomplished writers in their ranks – some had even won national recognition – like Majorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of “The Yearling”.

The morale of the above is that, to help each other achieve our full potentials, the BEST way is to work in an atmosphere of positive cooperation and NOT negative competition. We need to build one other up in ways that will help individuals overcome their inadequacies and consolidate their strengths. Beating each other down, and creating feelings of self-doubt and fear does more damage than good. In competitive sports, we all know that many times the losing individual, if s/he continues hearing cheers of encouragement from the fans in the stands, could draw inspiration from THAT to turn the tables on the opponents even when the latter appears to have victory within his/her grasp.

Lastly, in the regard, I say this. You can kill a fly with a hammer – or use a swatter. The same result would be achieved, but the damage from using the swatter(if any!) would be much, much less. In essence I am saying that NO matter how much good these practices have done in terms of “motivating” some people to succeed in the past, so as to “spite” those who made fun of them, I believe mockery and ridicule are bad for the mind! In pursuing your coveted goal, learn to quickly identify those who love to mock and ridicule others, and STAY away from them. To do otherwise could mean the certain death of your dreams.

4. A Few Words Of Advice For Those Who Mock/Ridicule Others

Anyone reading this article can easily identify areas where s/he may have been guilty of the habits described. I will offer this piece of advice to you. If you want to help any member of your family – or a friend – get ahead in life in any chosen endeavour, start TODAY to see their good sides, and help them overcome, or better manage their not-so-good sides.

When you tell your brother (after he tells you his dream) that he’s too short to play in the school’s senior team, you are not doing anything that helps him. But when you challenge him to believe that he can do it, and go out of your way to help him achieve it, then you will ultimately help him develop a stronger spirit that could cause him to achieve just that or more.

We need to strive always to exert positive influences on others. We must stop putting others down. We must avoid laughing at others when they tell us what they hope to achieve. For any person to consciously decide to set a challenging goal or target in life for him/herself is indeed noble. So many others go through life without any goals at all, and live lives of “total anonymity”.

We need to learn to keep our skepticism/criticism in check around people who have differing ideas of their purpose in life from us. Not every child/person will be as strongly driven as others who have succeeded in the past. That does not mean that the “ideas” s/he has will not be as good or even better than any this world has so far seen. Too many ideas have been killed before the “owner” had a chance to even explore them further, just because one narrow minded and tactless “realist know-it-all” chose to ‘”advise” the person. We need to create a more suitable environment for entrepreneurial abilities and creativity to flourish in our societies.

5. Know This: Mockery and ridicule CANNOT stop an idea that will work!

“A global, twenty-four hour news network will never work.” – Network executives response to Ted Turner’s plans for CNN

The above quote provides a perfect ending for this article. Network executives, who would have been regarded as “experts” with the necessary professional competence, to accurately assess the potential benefits of Ted Turners’ ideas failed to see any future for it. But Turner(thankfully) did, and today virtually everyone who watches TV knows CNN is a World Leader in news coverage.

If those “expert network executives” could have been THAT badly wrong, does it not follow that what PEOPLE say need not bother or deter you – EVEN IF they mock and ridicule your idea? The answer is obvious.

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