Imagine the following scenario: You’re sitting around a dinner table at a restaurant and everybody places an order for a meal:
- Person 1: Chicken and broccoli please!
- Person 2: I’ll have fish, quinoa, and a salad please.
- Person 3: I’ll take the steak, asparagus, and sweet potato please.
- Person 4: I’ll take a double cheese burger and chili cheese fries please!
For the sake of argument, let’s assume person 1, 2, and 3 are generally healthy, and person 4 is overweight. Can you see persons 1-3 saying the following:
- “Are you seriously going to eat that?”
- “Are you sure you should be eating that?”
- “You’re overweight enough, you should probably eat more like us.”
…of course not! That would be considered incredibly rude, inconsiderate, and downright mean. That person can eat however they want, right? It’s their life! Compare that to the following situation:
- Person 1: I’ll take a medium pizza with sausage and side of garlic bread.
- Person 2: I’ll have the chicken parmesan pasta and salad with extra ranch.
- Person 3: I’ll please have the lasagna, and let’s get nachos for the table.
- Person 4: I’ll take a chicken salad please, dressing on the side.
Can you see persons 1-3 saying the following to person 4?:
- “Oh come on, why eat like that?”
- “Come on, live a little! You’re too skinny already.”
- “Jeez, I feel bad for you having to eat like that.”
If you’re a health-conscious individual (or are working on becoming one), and you are still hanging around your unhealthy friends, I bet you’ve dealt with that second scenario on more than one occasion.
When people eat things that are unhealthy, everybody keeps their mouth shut…but when somebody goes in the other direction and tries to better themselves, suddenly everybody feels the need to chime in.
What are you supposed to do when you find yourself in this situation?
It’s one thing if it’s a random stranger at a party that tells you: “well, I like to enjoy my food, so I could NEVER eat like you.” But what do you do when it’s a co-worker, friend, or family member?
Today, we’re gonna learn how to deal with haters.
Be More Like Luigi
If you spend enough time on the internet, you’ve probably come across the most recent (and hilarious) internet meme: Luigi’s Death Stare from Mario Kart 8.
Here’s the lovable sidekick brother, Luigi, laying waste to the competition with this look of pure revenge on his face:
We’re talking about Luigi here!
With few exceptions, Luigi has always been the sidekick – an afterthought. Now, as the meme has taken off, Luigi has broken out of his shell (by throwing shells!) to say: “NO MORE!”
Be more like Luigi: carve out your own defiant identity. Instead of being okay with being like everybody else you’re surrounded with – most likely unhealthy folks – you decided to buck the trend, throw a few red shells, and change your life.
It’s time you also took the confidence and self-assurance that comes with this new bad-ass lifestyle.
So, step one of dealing with haters: realize that the changes and positive improvements to your life are not going to go unnoticed. Remember, we’re Rebels after all.
This can elicit a predictable response…
Haters gonna Hate
Although you’ll have your share of friends/family that cheer you on, you’ll also have plenty of people who are quick to challenge your attempts at living a healthier life.
Here’s the truth: most people don’t like change – they themselves want to change but don’t want to put forth the effort and energy to make it happen. When they see somebody else making positive changes, it can make them feel insecure about their own situation.
Rather than change themselves, they:
- Try to drag you back down to their level by telling you to cheat, “live a little.”
- Belittle your efforts with comments like “I like to enjoy myself” and “I like to have fun.”
- Explain to you why they can’t change themselves with excuses, “must be nice for you…”
These comments all serve a singular purpose – to make haters feel better about themselves.
It’s not that these people truly want to put you down or see you fail, but these remarks take way less effort (and are much less scary) than if they actually tried to change themselves.They might be afraid of trying to change their lives and failing, or maybe they have already tried and failed, and see your success as proof that they have failed themselves.
We all have these people in our lives, and it can truly be depressing – it feels like we’re a mutant; the only person in our group that wants to ‘evolve’ and thus must deal with being an outcast.
I’m reminded of two more memes that has always made me laugh. Haters gonna hate!
And if haters are gonna hate, slaters are gonna slate:
What’s the point of these two ridiculous phrases?
To remind us that some people are just unhappy, and they will hate on success and change for others. That if you’re getting “hated on,” it’s often because you’re doing something right.
I have to constantly remind myself of a phrase I learned from Seth Godin:
You will be judged, or you will be ignored.
If you are afraid of people judging you for trying to change your life or becoming healthy, your other option is to be ignored – to become one of the masses, that amorphous blob that is neither awesome nor exciting…but hey, it’s safe!
How to deal with haters
Just because haters are inevitable doesn’t mean we’re powerless.
You are GOING to be judged for being different – for changing. So, I present to you the five-step plan for dealing with detractors:
1) Understand that judgement is inevitable. We all get judged every minute of every day, no matter what we do (or don’t). I’ve officially adopted the stance that if I’m going to get judged for something, “eating healthy and choosing to exercise” is a pretty damn good thing! This required a mental shift to realize this was almost like a “badge of honor,” for being the “weird one.”
As Steve Jobs once said, here’s to the crazy ones:
2) Consider the source. Constructive criticism can be an important part of growth and change, but it’s also very important to consider your sources. If you are getting criticized for your new lifestyle by somebody who is out of shape, unhappy, overweight, and generally miserable, it’s probably not worth your time and effort to worry about it!
I often just smile and nod (while being proud on the inside), or make a simple, “haha I know, I’m weird right?” I certainly got some weird looks I got this year on The Rock Boat when I’d leave every day to go do my PLP challenge – it was worth the effort.
3) Get them on board. We have friends and family that probably want to change too, and don’t realize the damage their comments/remarks are doing to your efforts. Explain to them that you’re trying to change and you want their support and help.
Tell them you’re trying to win a contest at work, or that you have a personal challenge that you’re trying to complete, and that you want to see if you can actually follow through with it.
These well-meaning detractors can become your biggest supporters if you ask for their help – everybody wants to feel like they’re making a difference, right? And who knows, you might inspire them with your actions.
4) Consider how you spend your most valuable asset: time. As they say, you are the average of the five people you associate most with. If you are spending your time with negative nancies and haters who are not taking steps to better their lives, it probably feels like you are running through quicksand. Instead of surrounding yourself with people that are dragging you down, why not surround yourself with people that elevate and pull you up?
Choose your group wisely! It’s tough to change friends, and it’s even tougher to admit when a friendship has run its course…but it can be an important part of growth, too. We have a finite amount of time on this planet, and you have 100% control of how that time gets spent. Surround yourself with people that want you to be better.
5) Understand that you’re not alone. My favorite emails are the ones that say something like “When I found Nerd Fitness, I felt like I found my new home.” More often than not, Nerd Fitness Rebels are the one ‘mutant’ amongst their friends – they want to share their stories of success about deadlifts and weight lost, but their friends only care about death matches and dungeon raids. They stumble across Nerd Fitness, and like the mutants in X-men, they realize they are NOT alone. That’s the Nerd Fitness Rebellion (heck, like X-men, we have our own Academy!)
You can still have unhealthy friends and family members – just make sure you are ALSO spending time with people who are healthier and stronger than you too (even if it’s just on our message boards). We all need that reminder that it’s okay to get excited about squats, vegetables, AND Skyrim 🙂
How do you deal with haters?
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Gandhi
I realize Gandhi’s struggles were far different than just trying to live healthier, but I think it’s an applicable quote to what us rebels are going through when we try to change our lives.
I want to hear from you, and hear how you’ve dealt with haters on your journey.
We have a few hundred thousands Rebels that want to know your story, as they’re probably struggling with the same people and the same obstacles.
How have you dealt with haters in your life?
And if you are struggling with haters now, how can we help you navigate the situation properly?
Remember, be more like Luigi, and work on your death stare.
The future is bright!
PS – I’m currently in Portland OR for the World Domination Summit! I know there are a lot of other rebels in attendance, so if you see me this weekend please come say hey!