Monday, June 4, 2018

I Read the Comments

On rare occasions, after something I’ve done gets noticed and some media outlet posts a bit of video or an article about me or my projects, I get a chance to see someone else’s take on what I’m doing with all of my time.  Then, even though I know I shouldn’t and it’ll almost always sour my mood, I do the one thing I never should.

I read the comments.


Usually, they’re pretty positive.  But then, almost always, there’s the trolls.  The smug web-dwellers that seem consumed with a need to talk about how pointless my endeavors are, how frivolous or meaningless my latest achievement is, or just make blatant assumptions about who I am or what my motives are, then proceed to talk down to me from there.  I'll never fully understand what drives people to think their time is well-spent by shoveling crap on top of someone else’s efforts, but it always manages to get under my skin just a little.

Today a friend of mine pointed out that those folks who usually have the harshest critique about something others create tend to have done the least with their own lives.  He tells me that the hot air spewing from the nobodies who claim they're certain they could have or would have done better is hardly my concern. 

On an intellectual level I know that their vitriol is a manifestation of their own festering doubts and insecurities.  A malignant side-effect of what they haven't done with their own time.  A re-branding of their concern that they're utterly wasting their short lives.  They go about their mundane day to day doing nothing challenging, bringing nothing of any particular interest to the rest of the world. They live in fear that the shaky timbers of their fragile ego might any second be beaten down by the roaring waves of reality.  Their only hope; to discourage the doers to the point of inaction so that mediocrity becomes just the way of things rather than their own personal failure.

I welcome criticism.  It’s always valuable to have an objective viewpoint that can point out the details that I may have overlooked or a distant third-party who is unhindered by the limited view from my particular trench and can offer the occasional insight that must come from outside.  This is the kind of feedback that drives us to learn and improve, and in so doing thrive.

But these are not critics.  These people are faceless shadows in the night calling you into a dark alley. Their words, occasionally even disguised as wisdom, are traps.  They are every bit as lost as any one of us.  But unlike those of us who create, who dare to fail, they’re too cowardly to try.  Too afraid to admit their potential for fallibility.

These comments are the death-thumps of sad little pigeons slamming into life’s windows.  Pitiful, ignorable noises of hapless creatures flailing and failing to understand a limited attempt to show them something.  

If you’ve ever found yourself feeling down after getting unnecessarily negative feedback, just remember they're most likely just upset that you’ve reminded them just how little they do.  How little they are.  How ridiculous they look.

If you’re about to post a nasty comment to make yourself feel better about what you’re not doing, realize that the only difference between a dream and a goal is a solid plan and the only difference between a goal and an achievement is solid effort...

...and the only thing holding you back is you.

9 comments:

  1. As with everything else on this blog, well spoken and well articulated!

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  2. Ok, first of all, F those people. Everything you said about them is true and the only way to shut them up is to keep going with your own ideas. I love the internet because I get to visit wonderful sites like your own where people are doing amazing things everyday. But I hope that this faceless, cowardly trolling goes away someday. Those people would never have the balls to say anything to your face and couldn't take an open examination of their own pitiful lives. Never doubt that your work is inspirational to those of us who follow your site and for your own sanity, please don't read the comments sections.

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  3. A book I read to my kids at least once a week is called Have you filled a bucket today? By Carol McCloud. In it, it speaks to how everyone has a bucket. To fill your bucket, you have to fill other people's buckets. People try to fill theirs by dipping into other people's buckets, but they don't realize that they dip into their own bucket at the same time. I see these people as trying to make themselves feel better by putting others down. Ultimately, they only make their own existence miserable.

    Keep on making. Spread joy in the world through what you do best: making cool stuff and sharing your passion, and quirky humor, with the world.

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  4. I would have said it better :D

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  5. Rock on sir. Keep being you, we appreciate your many adventures.

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  6. As I started reading this, my reaction was pretty similar to your friend's comments. These people very likely do no more than sit in front of the computer or television stuffing their faces in their spare time. Anyone who has spent the time, effort, and money creating understands and supports others who create. Anyone who creates yet still trolls others who creates is the most insecure of the insecure. Even if something is not to my taste, I still can acknowledge the work that went into it and appreciate that.

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  7. Clearly I don't check your blog as often as I should because I only just found this wonderfully articulated piece of art. Great work.

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