Remember learning about the atom in grade school science? I do. Even though I never did a thing with it, the model of the atom made a big impression on me.
I found it weird. In the middle, you had protons (which are positive) and neutrons (which are neutral). Then circling WAY outside of that were these tiny electrons (which are negative). First, I found the naming convention really weird, but I got over that. What made me intensely curious was why protons and electrons didn’t seem to be mirror images of one another. Protons are much bigger, stationary, and hang out in the center with neutrons. Electrons were tiny, fast, and circled way outside. Neutrons were just… there.
Okay, this isn’t going to be a post about actual atoms because, to be frank, the above paragraph represents more or less my sum total of knowledge on the subject. But that model IS a great analogy for a good method for living your life, and I love analogies.
You see, when we “put ourselves out there,” and talk about our interests or our skills or our passions, we come up against this wall of fear that says that for every person we find who agrees with us, for each kindred spirit who will support and encourage us, there will be ten times as many “haters” who will detract and admonish. We’re searching for a few positive “protons,” but we fear we’ll find many negative “electrons.”
But that’s not what happens! In reality, there are mostly two kinds of people you encounter – people who support you and think you’re awesome, and people who are indifferent and don’t care either way. That second group, the neutral “neutrons” won’t get in your way, won’t stop you, won’t interact with you at all. They cost you nothing in your journey, even if you gain nothing from interacting with them.
(This is a sales lesson, too – you might only win 3 deals out of a hundred pitches, but the other 97 didn’t cost you anything but time. They don’t detract from your success, they just didn’t add to it. They were neutral, not negative.)
The negative “electrons” – the haters – are waaaaaaaaaaaaaay over there. Far away, in a distant orbit. Repulsed by your positivity and the positivity of those you seek to engage with. No one wants to hang out with them. And you’ll rarely have to deal with them at all.
(In fact, if I really want to stretch the analogy, I think we’re not even sure where they are? I like that, even if I got the science muddled.)
The point is, you have nothing to fear. Everyone will either support you or ignore you. Haters are rare, far, and safely ignored. Be positive!