So, the year was 2011. I had just given a speech at Marie Forleo‘s live event. And everyone seemingly loved it.
(She even got me to moonwalk on stage…)
This was one of my first speaking engagements about business and entrepreneurship. And I was a little stressed out about it.
Social Triggers was new. I had just began making a name for myself, and I was sharing the stage with people who were remarkable – like Ramit Sethi.
And there I was. The new kid. I gave my speech, and, as I walked off stage, a friend said, “MAN! You killed it!”
I thought about it for a second.
“I did okay, but there’s a lot I could have done better.”
And I fired off some of the things I thought I could have done better.
He fired back, “Why are you so hard on yourself? Everyone loved it! Just enjoy the moment!”
But here’s the deal…
When you start doing something new, everyone around you will give you the positive support they think you need…
To feel good about yourself.
But what if you take it to heart? What if you take the compliments and decided “I’m already good enough” and stop working towards getting better?
I know it sounds crazy, but this happens. A lot. People acquire SOME skill, get SOME praise, and all of a sudden… they think they know what the heck they are doing.
And this is why I believe compliments ruin people.
Compliments make people believe they are “good enough,” and people may lose the desire to get better.
The worst part?
As my friend Ryan Holiday wrote in Ego Is The Enemy, “We tend to be on guard against negativity, against the people who are discouraging us from pursuing our callings or doubting the visions we have for ourselves. This is certainly an obstacle to beware of, though dealing with it is rather simple. What we cultivate less is how to protect ourselves against the validation and gratification that will quickly come our way if we show promise. What we don’t protect ourselves against are people and things that make us feel good – or rather, too good.”
You see, we all know to guard ourselves from real negativity and criticism. But few people know to watch out for positivity and the detrimental effect it can have on our desire to get better.
And that’s why I prefer criticism over compliments.
What are your thoughts?