T. Harv Eker writes that middle-class or poor people look at the rich and say, “They’re so lucky,” or “those rich jerks.” Eker believes if you think negatively about rich people that you will never be rich, because, “How can you become something that you hate?”
This concept applies wherever we compare our results to others — wealth, writing, promotions at work, fitness, etc.
I haven’t heard of this concept, don’t-diss-the-successful, much in the writing industry. But it’s essential.
Like many mistakes, it’s easier to notice when other people do it. Recently I read a statement saying senior marathoners were “just lucky” and had won the “genetic lottery.” I responded:
We must be careful not to assume others are “just lucky” at every age. Doing so makes us think that the only way to accomplish such feats is if we are lucky. As a result, we give up our power of self-determination.Scoffing at what others have tells our subconscious that others may make snarky remarks if we accomplish something extraordinary. Those thoughts keep us in the average range because we don’t want to be the target of such negative judgments.
I was feeling proud of my advanced thinking.
HA! Pride Goeth Before a Fall
Then I realized every time I see an article about how to write one post each day or in one 30-minute sitting, I think, “they probably just churn out junk” or “they probably have nothing better to do in their day.” Wow, the snarky-comment detector is going off, right?
I decided to try and make a conscious effort to think, “Faster writing is good. It allows you to do more things.” “There is no relationship between the speed of writing and its quality. Some people write wonderful articles quickly.”
And on the day I made this shift, I finished writing an article faster than I expected. Interesting.
But I Keep Making the Same Mistake
A few days later, I read a how-to article by a woman who had been writing on Medium for less than 6 months and was earning $300+ a month. I looked at her profile and recent articles to see the topics she was writing about. Her most recent article was about a horrific crime, someone killing their sibling. Another was about a transgender experience.
“Oh sure,” I thought. “Those topics are getting clicked on and read about. I could earn $300 if I wrote about that stuff.”
Uh-oh. I did it again. I was writing off this woman’s success as being attributed to something that I viewed negatively. My snarky-comment detector was blaring.
I paused and considered. Maybe this woman worked very hard. Maybe there was more to her success than just a juicy topic. Or, perhaps I should be paying more attention to what people want to read about. There might be a lesson in her success that I could incorporate in what I do without violating my moral principles.
But I’ll only really explore her success if I stop scoffing. So once again, I’m swearing off snarky comments. I invite you to do the same but warn you it’s easier said than done!
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Why I Need to Stop Thinking Snarky Thoughts About Other Writers And You Should Too was originally published in The Writing Cooperative on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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