How to deal with the naysayers in a positive way?

by Ashvini on December 5, 2011 · 27 comments

in My Personal Thoughts

I am sure that if you are an entrepreneur or want to become one, the first thing  you hear is “Why do you…”.


Naysayers are everywhere. They brag about how something cannot be done or why a market is too difficult to crack.  The charge of naysayer brigade is often unnerving to an entrepreneur who already faces a lot challenges in his work. Even the bravest of entrepreneur will find it demotivating.

Here are a few examples of  some of the naysayers I met

How do you earn?

It cannot be done….

I know the market and its choc a bloc….

Too much competition….

You will run out of money….

Be safe and careful…

I am sure you would have met yours . How do we deal with such enormous amount of negativity that they use to pulls us down .

#1 Simplest technique: Ignore them

It is one of the really simple technique that you can apply. If you know someone who is a demotivating to you and if you can possibly switch off the connection , you should. The better you are away from the negative energy source, the better you are.

#2 Avoid discussing your business details : Need to know only

Often people want to know what you or your business is doing? They want to know everything because they want to pick holes somewhere.  In such a case apply “Need to know” principal. Decide how much you are going to tell her depending on your past experience with the person.

#3 Use diversion tactic

Everyone knows that it takes time to make a business turn profitable. People would still want to know how fast you are making money.

One way to avoid such questions is to divert the talk. If they start with “So how much you have made in last month?”,you may turn it to for e.g. “How is your family? How is your work?” . I am sure that would end the topic. If you do it often, you will probably never get questioned again.

#4 Rationalize if you believe the opinion is genuine

Not all people are naysayers. Some may ask you questions genuinely because they are interested in what you are doing . In that case, you may tell them about your business. Always add optimistic note in the end. Maybe they will be inspired too. You will definitely want to increase your tribe and reality with a dose of optimism helps.

#5 Meet and network with positive people:

You can find a few positive people everywhere. I have a friend who always appreciates whatever I am doing . It is thus useful to find such people and befriend them so that you can learn from them and stay positive.

#6 Talk about your successes however small they are:

Whenever you meet a naysayer, talk about your achievements. They may be about a new client win, or increase in blog traffic or anything else. Naysayers usually keep their opinion to themselves when they see that other side is optimistic.

#7 Try to convince naysayers that their belief is not quite right:

Once an old associate of mine tried to dissuade me to start my own work. His logic was that challenges of a business caused friction within the family. I knew he was telling about his true personal experience. But, in the end, I told him that it would not happen to me and if it does, I am prepared for it. Ultimately, he was convinced that he was  being too negative. I have not heard any negative thing from him since then.

It may be difficult though to use this tactic and it may lead to argument. So use this only when the other side has an open mind

#8 Read positive things

Entrepreneurship is challenging but its fun as well. I read books by a few famous entrepreneurs . I try to learn how they coped with the challenges  in life. I often read inspirational quotes on internet.

Also inspirational blogs by other entrepreneurs can go a long way to keep you on track. I recommend three blogs by these writers

Adrienne Smith,

Ryan Chritchett and

Sonia Winland.   You will find a lot of business wisdom in each of these blogs.

#9 Keep working

If you ever meet a naysayer when you are really having a bad time, you need to have confidence in yourself. If you stop work you are allow the circumstances to take control of you. Do not give up and keep working.

#10 Respect your work and believe in it

Your work , however large or small, earning or not earning is your own work, your pride.

Richard Branson started with selling magazines in college, Bill Gates started in a Garage, Linus Torvalds wrote Linux from his home. They started small and made it big. They believed in themselves and their vision.

How do you deal with naysayers? Is there anything I missed? Please share your experiences with me .

About The Author

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Sonia December 13, 2011 at 8:32 am

Naysayers are the worst people to be around when you’re trying to achieve success. The moment you tell them something exciting they are the first to be “debbie-downer” and tell you why you shouldn’t do it. I think some people want to be happy for you, but the moment someone is doing something great for them self, here come the miserable people.

Sharing your dreams and hopes with people that don’t believe in you or your dreams is a waste of time and I would make it a point to keep information to a minimum.


Ashvini Kumar Saxena December 14, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Hey Sonia,

I learned a new word “Debbie Downer” :). I think we all had our shares of them :). I also try to avoid people who don’t have much positive things to say :). Thanks for your comment once again


Radu December 12, 2011 at 8:10 am

Besides showing them the positive aspects of your product i don’t know what you can do more.


Daria Steigman December 12, 2011 at 12:59 am

Hi Ashvini,

I’d add #11: divest of people who don’t wish you well. When I started my business, I had a couple of “friends” who both didn’t understand what running a business entails and were very jealous (maybe thinking I was sitting around all day eating bonbons?). I dropped them. If people don’t wish you well then they’re wishing you ill. Far better to do #5 (hang with positive people) instead.


Ashvini Kumar Saxena December 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Hi Daria,
I am really surprised that a lot of people think that we are really eating “bonbons” . We are really not sitting idle and working a lot to make whatever we believe in successful. It takes time and results are often not visible for months/years. People make wrong assumptions based on that. I think it is either their ignorance and sometimes a little jealousy too. Thank you for adding your tip to the list of tips :)


Daria Steigman December 13, 2011 at 1:20 am

I think it is partly a factor of working outside the confines of a traditional office–particularly before teleworking became a little more acceptable (at least in some places). So people saw me running errands at 10 a.m. during the workday or taking off an occasional afternoon to go see a movie with my mom, and they just assumed it’s all I did (and didn’t see the weekend hours, the early mornings at the computer, or all the other “benefits” of working hard but setting your own schedule).

But you’re right, it’s often ignorance when it comes to people who don’t know you and jealousy when the attitude’s coming from people who should know better.


Ashvini Kumar Saxena December 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Agreed 100% , Daria :)


Aswani December 10, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Hi Ashvini, sorry for being so late here. I actually had missed reading this post. Anyways, I have read it now. Honestly, Naysayers suck. No one like them and you begin to hate them more if you know them well as a friend. Most of us have experienced the same and it looks as if it is natural to find people with such attitude. But again, a contradictory fact here is that we also behave in the same manner at times. I don’t know about you but I was filled with the same attitude just 2 years back. I was a Naysayer to myself. I had set goals for myself but again I was quite skeptical to move ahead as I realized it being impossible and hopeless finally. This is not the same case now. Time is a great teacher. Things are going as expected but still a lot to be done.

Now, it is also very common with me to meet the so called Naysayers. I have met a lot of them in my professional life. Initially, it was highly stressful to deal with such people and often led to arguments and conflicts. But again later, I realized it is better to keep silent and move on rather than wasting time and energy over such people. I have learnt to deal with this Crab Mentality and it is really helping me out. But again, I would like to say here that I am not against anyone or others thought, ideas, suggestions etc…I am open to everything. But please come up with the right intention, right attitude, right mentality…I am there for you forever. I am not expecting you to follow my footsteps but I am not a fool either. Being a team person, you meet people with all kinds of attitude and these attitude eventually has to be transformed into something productive and profiting in the long run. It is not an easy job to do and certainly requires something exceptional out of you to initiate a positive change amongst your Naysayers.


Ashvini Kumar Saxena December 12, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Hey Aswani ,

The more we discuss about this topic, the more the idea gets developed.
You have raised the point of crab mentality. Yes that is the most important characteristic of the naysayer and when I said naysayer I meant them only.
There is a fine line between giving occasional sound negative criticism and continuous uninterrupted negative criticism. I think there are plenty of reasons for it( which I will discuss soon).
The problem is that in really stressful times, it may lead to more negativity which is bad for business.
You have done an excellent analysis of the concept and I feel that you have also learned how to criticize people for their steps while also helping them out in the process. At least I know this personally :) Thank you for your comment once again :)


Adam Paudyal December 8, 2011 at 1:43 am

Ash! Wow what a conversation going on in here. I like it (O:

I come across naysayers on a daily basis Ash. There is always going to be that one person or a group of people that are going to be naysayers, no matter what we do.

In my opinion #10, #6 and #1 are simple but the most effective tips. Naysayers do provide negative energy but it is us who have to believe what we believe in and convert that negative to positive energy.

Ash, I love to keep connecting with some of them naysayers because they continue to fuel me to move towards a positive direction. Just like the saying goes…keep your friends close and your enemies closer (O: You know what I mean.

Talk soon my friend!


ScannerMan December 8, 2011 at 2:36 am

Well spoken (I mean written).


Ashvini Kumar Saxena December 8, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Thank you Adam,
I am glad that you liked them. I often employ a few of these strategies to keep myself away from being demotivated. I believe every negative thing said should empower us more and it does to you. :)


ScannerMan December 7, 2011 at 9:17 pm

This link was followed from Endeavor-Online.

I disagree with some of the points made here. Here is why:

#1 Simplest technique: Ignore them—–Cultural anthropologists and sociologists have found that ignoring a person is very insulting and may result in very very negative responses, some of which may even be violent.

#2 Avoid discussing your business details : Need to know only—–No need to run if your platform is strong. If what you have has merit then you can walk away telling them you don’t want to discuss anything or that you don’t have time. Stand up!

#3 Use diversion tactic—–If you don’t have the time or will to discuss anything, just say that. Diversion is running scared. If you have strong ideas and content, presented well, you will have nothing to divert, nothing to run from naysayers about. You can just tell them the truth if you don’t WANT to talk about it.

#4 Rationalize if you believe the opinion is genuine—–Know by research and experience that what you are doing and saying are on target. That takes work. Opinions are worthless if not backed by empirical data and/or experience. Some experience is questionable. You don’t have to rationalize anything if you have your data in order. You don’t need opinion if you have fact.

#5 Meet and network with positive people:—–Solid

#6 Talk about your successes however small they are:…..Naysayers usually keep their opinion to themselves when they see that other side is optimistic.—–Usually but not always. Many naysayers have some very valid and useful points and are eager to share them.

#7 Try to convince naysayers that their belief is not quite right:—–What if their belief is right? Just because they are naysayers does not mean they do not have valid points.

#8 Read positive things—–Do this but read useful things. Positive reading can be useful but useful reading is positive.

#9 Keep working—–Solid

#10 Respect your work and believe in it—–Solid

“Bill Gates started in a Garage,”
Wasn’t it the Steves, Jobs and Wozniac, who actually started in a garage!?

How do you deal with naysayers? Is there anything I missed? Please share your experiences with me . —–You asked for it. :) :D.


Ashvini Kumar Saxena December 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Hey Scanner man,

Thanks for your comment. I know that you have been commenting at Adam’s blog from some time. I really appreciate your commenting on my blog. It is a place where we are discussing things and you are welcome to mention yours. Infact that you have taken so much time to analyze each of them is truly remarkable.
I am sure that I have had my share of naysayers. I agree with you that they might have a valid point but there are people who are constant naysayers and they have most of the time sapped my energy. I try to really determine whether a person is a “permanent” naysayer or just a well wishers. Well wishers are welcome while “nay sayers” are not that much. So I try to use these techniques. A few work a few don’t. I would not have to use them if they were not in a negative frame of mind most of the time.
Now that hopefully, I clear things up by saying who “naysayers’ are, I also see that you have really not mentioned , how do you deal with them if you ever meet them. May I know your thoughts on that?
Also Steve Jobs started in Garage so did founders of HP. It was just an example.
Again, really thankful for your opinions. Yes I asked for that :)


ScannerMan December 8, 2011 at 12:02 am

I do as I say here. I try never to just ignore anyone or just walk off and insult them even if they insult me. I will tell them if I have time or will to talk to them or not about any particular subject honestly. If they cant or won’t handle that then I do have to walk off.
When some who appears to be a naysayer does engage then I try and use reason while respecting their opinions. Many times they will have very strong points or would not approach you at all otherwise due their own insecurities. When you’ve done your homework all a naysayer can do is cook or get out of the kitchen.
Naysayers are that because they look for the negative, the bad, the misses and mistakes in your content. I need that.
Ashvini, thrive on being able and willing to stand up, not let it sap your energy. it doesn’t hurt to be onry sometimes. Never let some else’s insecurities affect you negatively. They can make you stronger but not weaker. When the going gets thick, dig in, use a little pranayama and come up tall.
That’s why I was critical about ignoring any possible helpful information, whether it’s naysaying or serious help.
Another is about treating people like you would like to be treated. How would you feel if you were saying something to someone and they just walked away?
I’m not just a naysayer. I laud your good points as well. I am a pessimist which is not quite the same as a naysayer. I’m not constantly one way or another but always some of both. I have optimistic phases also. I try and think positive and/or make lemonade out of the lemons I get.
“It’s the dash for the cash.”


Ashvini Kumar Saxena December 8, 2011 at 12:29 am

Hey Scanner man,

May be I was not very clear about ignoring people. Its not like that they come to you with a suggestion and you walk away. I never meant that. It really means to ignore what they say and not let it affect you.
There are two kinds of criticism that exist, positive and negative. Positive criticism is often with right intent, like a Guru to a student or like from a well wisher. Negative criticism comes as a sort of dumping the emotional baggage and its a reality. It really does not affect me because I follow a few rules that I mentioned above( not in the way of insulting). I am open to positive criticism and I deal with it right but probably will not worry much about negative criticism :)..
I think we are now clear about not insulting but really saving and protecting ourselves from energy sapping people. Being pessimistic is fine and acceptable. Being optimistic for a few times is also fine . I am sure now I am able to give you an idea of naysayer. If not, we can agree to disagree about the idea that there are people whom we need to tackle differently, not insultingly but differently.
Thanks once again for commenting :)


ScannerMan December 8, 2011 at 1:10 am

Thank you for allowing me this privilege. This has been enjoyable here. How about you?

ScannerMan December 8, 2011 at 1:49 am

Man, I see Adam every day or so. I live on Endeavor-Online and have become quite the nuisance. My motivation for always talking to younger people about going and doing and not letting much get in the way, is from my having the luck and savvy to have gone and done mine. I’m still going and doing and am planning yet another large adventure in life.
You will see many times on his blog where lemonade is mentioned. We take the lemons in life and add sugar and water. Life is full of lemons like when naysayers are allowed to affect one’s well being negatively. I learned to take that energy, chew it up, and use it positively. No use wasting energy.

Max M December 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

I would rather ignore such people at all as if you are positive about your business and workhard why should you listen to such people who always envy you desire and wish.


ScannerMan December 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Because they also may have valid and useful points. Because they are naysayers does not mean their critiques and criticisms are not valid. They are where you can get the best critique. Your friends won’t tell yo what is wrong and/or won’t see problems or faults because they are biased toward you, not objective.


Ashvini Kumar Saxena December 7, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Hey Scanner man,

I would really prefer a friend who tells me right from wrong but there are people who are consistently negative. The post is about them :). Valid criticism is always encouraged


Chrysta Bairre December 6, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I really enjoyed this article, Ashvini! You’ve made a lot of really great points, and many of these tools I already use to deal with naysayers in my life.

One tool I find particularly useful is to avoid disucssing details with people that don’t really need to know. While I appreciate people’s interest and curiousity, it is not necessary to share every detail simply because someone asks. I can assess the situation and determine how much information to share.

I have also found it effective to respond to unsolicited feeback with the simple reply, “you may be right.” The truth is, many times that individual may be right, after all, just as I may also be right! Sometimes acknowledging someone else’s experience or opinion is enough, and they will stop trying to convince me otherwise if I acknowledge their opinion and leave it at that!

I absolutely agree with surrounding yourself with positive people and positive support & inspiration! One of the best gifts of blogging are the amazing relationships I’ve developed with positive, passionate and purposeful people. The interaction with people like you encourage my energy and enthusiasm on difficult days, and inspire me on great days! I’m very thankful to know positive and progressive people like you!

Have a grateful day!



Ashvini Kumar Saxena December 7, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Hi Chrysta,
Thank you for your comment.
I have had my share of naysayers both from outside and inside the family. It sometimes get difficult to deal with people who cannot understand the voice of reason and who are bent on providing opinion even if I don’t want it.
I think, I apply most of the suggestions that I have put here and been fairly successful too in getting negative people out of my life.
I am also very pleased when I read the articles on blogosphere about inspiration and having a belief in ourselves. They inspire me and I feel rejuvenated.
I am also very grateful to have a friend like you who think a lot like me and think right as well. :)
I appreciate your visit and kind words :)


Adrienne December 6, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Ah Ashvini, great post! Thank you for including my blog in your list of positive ones to read. I really appreciate that.

The one thing I have learned since starting my online journey is that I seem to attract more of the positive minded people into my life. Oh sure, when I’m speaking to prospects about my business I’ll get the usual objections but I shrug them off. I don’t let them get to me because if they are coming up with ridiculous objections then they are just telling me they aren’t someone I want to work with. Their attitudes are already so negative and it’s not my job to change them.

By visiting other blogs and staying not only inspired but meeting some awesome people along the way, you can’t help but stay in a more positive mindset. These people are just so very helpful and I’m giving you a big shout out here my friend. You came to my rescue when I needed you and I can never thank you enough. I know I’m sounding like a broken record but it’s true.

If you really want something in life, go for it. Don’t let any of those negative remarks hold you back. Just associate with more positive minded people and you will watch your life change and evolve a lot quicker. There isn’t room for all that junk around us anymore.

Thanks for sharing this Ashvini. Really enjoyed this post this morning. Another great way to start my day!

Hope you have a great one as well.



Ashvini Kumar Saxena December 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Hey Adrienne,
There is no doubt that you are indeed a great source of inspiration for me. You work hard, share things with people and make the world a better place. I don’t think many people would understand your method of working. I do not fault them because they may not ever think life positively.
I had no doubt that your inspiration stories have moved a lot of people to take action. A mention on my blog is a very small token of saying “thanks”.
But there are times , when I wish people close to me understand that life is not only about getting everything. It is about enjoying whatever we got and feel happy. That is what every saint, every religion, every leader talks about.
I am planning to increase my association with positive people for sure :). Thanks for all the inspiration and kind words.


Ashvini Kumar Saxena December 8, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Oh yes, I loved hearing about your experience and hope to see you again :)


Ashvini Kumar Saxena December 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Poor Adam , LOL but I see he is a brave man :). (Joking) I fully appreciate your comments. I loved the discussion as well. Hope to see you again soon :)


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