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The Hustler’s Playbook: Ignore the Critics

Hustlers inevitably draw attention to themselves. Because they work hard, make waves, and make things happen, people take notice. Some small portion of those who take notice will be critical of the hustler (not only will the number of critics be small, their stature is equally small).

The critic attacks the hustler. They attack her work as being inferior to others and inferior to their own work (many critics will mistakenly believe they are the hustler’s peer, even though they criticize instead of hustling). They attack the fact that she makes waves, that she doesn’t know her place. They attack her because she is producing results. And her results are the real source of their criticism; they criticize because they are jealous.

The critic wants the attention that the hustler commands. When they can’t get the attention themselves, the critic tries desperately hard to bring down the hustler. When the attacks on her work and the attention she is getting don’t work, the critics attack the hustler personally. They attack her intelligence, her appearance, her motives, anything to bring her down to their level. When the attacks get personal, you know for certain the critic is beaten.

None of this matters to the hustler. The hustler doesn’t care what the critic believes about her or her work. The critic’s attacks don’t interest the hustler because she isn’t doing what she does for the critics. The critics aren’t her audience. The hustler is hustling for herself, for the people counting on her, and for the people who find value in what she does. So she ignores the critics, and she continues her hustle.

There isn’t a professional movie critic with an academy award for directing or acting. Their isn’t a music critic with a shelf full of Grammys for having written, produced, or performed music that changed the world. Their isn’t a literary critic with a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize in literature. Those awards belong to the hustlers, to the people who have put themselves out there, who have bravely opened themselves up to the criticism.

If you are going to hustle, create, and make a difference, you are going to draw the slings and arrows of the critic. The critic isn’t your audience, and trying to please the critics is a fool’s errand. Ignore the critics, and let the trolls be damned.


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