Forget ‘em…do your thing!

We have a lot of codes, rules, and culture stories at Awesome Inc. We have the public favorite, rule #4: “always do something awesome over something not awesome”. We have our soundtrack that includes the song, the other song, the thing and number 3. We have some secret hand shakes and some silly dances.Another one of our core values at Awesome Inc is “Forget ‘em…do your thing” (rule #2, credit Luke Murray, 2009). No matter what your mission, there are going to be people that agree with you and there are going to be people that disagree with you. Your critics get even louder as you become more influential.

It is so tempting to try to respond to all of these people that take a position against your initiative. Honestly, it makes you feel better in the short run to defend yourself to your critics. It’s nice to blow off some steam and try to convince everyone why your position is right in hopes to win over your naysayers.

But to be blunt, it’s pointless. Most of the time you aren’t going to win anyone over and every second you spent defending yourself should have been spent pursuing your mission. It is simply a distraction that you have to disregard. As long as you’re secure with your principles, and believe whole heartedly in your mission, there is no reason to be distracted from either of them. Focus on “your thing” and ignore your critics.

This doesn’t mean don’t listen to your customers or the people around you. This doesn’t mean don’t accept feedback or advice. This doesn’t mean you’re always right and everyone else is wrong. It means don’t listen to your doubters, believe in yourself and trust that game recognize game.

I recently read an article about Bill Gates teaming up with Warren Buffet to raise $600 Billion for charity (yes, that is a six with eleven zeros). They are calling the initiative Great Givers. Their plan idea, ask the 400 wealthiest people in the country to pledge 50% of their wealth to philanthropy. Warren Buffet is leading the way by donating 99% of his wealth.

After reading the article I parsed through the comments section. To my surprise, a significant portion of the comments were negative and bashing of Gates and Buffet. I found quotes saying “They’re just doing this for their egos” or “after doing their part to destroy the U.S. economy, they now get to make it right by giving the money they obtained by destroying other peoples lives away” or “This is feel good altruism and more harmful than helpful.” I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I wanted to personally defend them from all their critics. And then I realized, “wow…think about the amount of time that Gates and Buffet could spend responding to their critics. They could literally spend every waking moment of every single day defending themselves. Thankfully, they don’t care what their doubters think and instead spend all that time doing their thing”. Which currently appears to be changing the world through the Great Givers initiative.

My conclusions, Bill Gates has a lot of critics, a lot of haters, and a lot of people that disagree with what he is doing. But he has one ally who happens to be the richest man in the world. Game recognize game. He is also in the process of acquiring more allies that will really make a difference. He is confident and secure enough in his initiative that he ignores his critics.

The lesson: you’re always going to have people that disagree with you and doubt your ideas, your abilities, and even your motives…Forget ’em – do your thing!