How to Use Other People’s Doubts to Fuel Your Own Success

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There’s a reason rap and hip-hop artists like to say that haters are motivators. Though negativity can be difficult to endure, there are ways to turn those bad vibes around and melt them down into pure progress.

My brother Adam and I have had our fair share of shade throwers over the years. In the beginning, there were people who didn’t believe two kids could start and run a successful business. As time went on and we proved our abilities, the criticism changed to doubts that we could be successful in industries we hadn’t ventured into before, or that kids weren’t going to be interested in the kid’s book about entrepreneurship that my brother and I wrote. If we had listened to the haters, we wouldn’t have found the success we have or done half the things we’ve done in our lives.

Here’s how we pushed past the doubters to create our own success.

Related: <![CDATA[]]>11 Habits of Truly Happy People 

Grow a thick skin.

Though unwelcome, the criticism and negativity you receive from cynics will allow you to grow a thick skin over time. This softens the blow from future discouragement, which means you’ll begin to let that negativity roll right off your back. You may even reach a point where you don’t notice it at all! You’ll continue to work toward your goals and transform into a happier person while the naysayers sit and complain.

Set a positive example.

Sometimes, the naysayers’ reasoning focuses on the circumstances, not you. They might say it’s nearly impossible to succeed in a certain industry or that entrepreneurship is too risky compared to keeping your day job. This is particularly true for women and minorities, who face unique obstacles in starting businesses.

And to a point, the naysayers are right — some professions are trickier than others, and they’re trickier for some than others. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. By succeeding despite their estimated odds, you’ll teach cynics a valuable lesson in perseverance and skill-building. You might even become their new role model!

Related: <![CDATA[]]>5 Habits of the Wealthy That Helped Them Get Rich

Re-focus your time and energy on positive people.

Perhaps the naysayers are a blessing in disguise; they help you realize who belongs in your circles and who does not. When you’re faced with negativity, you’ll discover who your true supporters are and spend more time with them while cutting the cynics out of your life. The encouragement you receive from your inner circles will help remind you of why you started when times get tough.

Related: Habits of the World’s Wealthiest People (Infographic)

Prove them wrong.

Let’s be honest — sometimes you just have to succeed out of spite. (If you need a little inspiration, Dav Pilkey, author of the Captain Underpants series, began writing his books in the second grade; his teacher ripped them up and told him he couldn’t continue to spend his life writing stories. Now, his series has over 80 million copies worldwide and has been turned into an animated movie.)

The feeling of accomplishing something someone said you couldn’t do is simply too good to pass up. If for no other reason, push yourself to succeed so you can prove the naysayers wrong.

Cynics are a part of every entrepreneur’s journey, and it’s not a matter of when you’ll face them, but when. Rather than letting them get to you, use them to fast-track your success. 


Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made E…

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