Dear Naysayers, Thank You!

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I was posed an interesting question as part of a larger group today about veiled criticism, naysayers, and creating change.  In summary, the question was about the danger of people who can derail progress and positive change through veiled criticism and intentions.

The more I thought about it, the greater appreciation I have for the Naysayers.  Those people who have an initial reaction of “No Way!” While that might seem counterintuitive to developing positive change and progress, I believe it is a crucial part of the process.

Those who hide their disagreement, that mask their true misgivings in a situation do all of us a disservice.  Those that openly disagree, that criticize, or are overtly contrary by contrast, have a way of bringing out the best in our ideas if we so choose. By repeatedly saying no, they force us to refine our idea and continue to revisit, revise, and renew our plans for positive change.

It is these people that many might think of as “difficult” or “problem causing” that force us to become better.  As they continue to say “no”, we have several choices.  First we could ignore their “no” and move forward, but then what have learned about our plan?  We could engage in their dissent but take it personally, or worse, allow their contrarian attitude to dissolve our positive energy and ideas.  Neither of those are acceptable either.  The only positive way forward is to engage in the dissent and use those arguments to build a better, more powerful positive change.  This is ultimately the most successful way to move forward.

But, what about the hidden threats, the people who say nothing to the contrary but also neglect action for positive change?

They are much more difficult, and dangerous for making positive changes in many ways.  They contribute nothing to the conversation that would lead to growth.  They also do nothing to better the situation by their actions, often times undermining the changes.

So in the end, I thank the naysayers, the dissenters, the “difficult ones” for being exactly that.  It may seem more frustrating at first, but no matter what their motive, you can use their contradiction to the benefit of everyone around you.

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