The problem with being a naysayer

The problem is that even when you’re right, it’s coming from the person who always dissents, so people will listen to you less.

It’s that you’re usually advocating holding off, holding back, or not starting.

It’s that, in fact, things usually are not right in the first place, but they get right once they’re in motion, not when they’re stuck on the drawing board.

But the worst part is that it keeps you safe.  You don’t experience the fear of maybe failing.  You don’t discover that things that are less planned, less orchestrated, less thought through sometimes work spectacularly.  You don’t learn when it’s time to say “hold on” and when it’s time to go.  Both have their moments.

(And of course no one thinks of themselves as being a naysayer, they’re just offering constructive criticism…)

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2 Responses to The problem with being a naysayer

  1. Abraham Simons says:

    Hi Sasha,
    Thanks for writing this article. It reminds me of many instances in my life where naysayers have either managed to delay or altogether dump, beautiful initiatives. Later I found the easiest way to get things done. I started avoiding them where ever I could. If it was my colleague I would share the Idea with my Boss, it was my direct report I would hand over the task to another person and if it was my Boss, I would try my best to put my word across my super-boss during a monthly meet.

    You rightly said ” (And of course no one thinks of themselves as being a naysayer, they’re just offering constructive criticism…)”
    While some would say ” I am just trying to be devils advocate”

    Handling naysayers on a personal front is a much difficult task, since one really cannot avoid them and its a lesser problem as long as they don’t influence the professional life. I found the best way to handle them is to safeguard your motives and don’t share it till the last moment. Another way is to get a couple of Aye-sayers who could influence a Naysayer’s decision.

    Quote by John Eliot:
    “History shows us that the people who end up changing the world – the great political, social, scientific, technological, artistic, even sports revolutionaries – are always nuts, until they are right, and then they are geniuses.”

  2. Jaky Astik says:

    There is a very thin line between showing off negative attitude and being a critic. It’s the job of society, in general, to understand and put such influences off the shore.

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