During my SXSW Badgeless Adventure, one of my best decisions of the weekend was attending Get Ready to Live 2 (#GR2L2), an event unaffiliated with SXSW that offered me more food for thought than any of the parties or meetups I attended. I had a superb SXSW Sunday: I enjoyed meeting Holly Hoffman and Michelle Tripp, hanging out with Tiffany Monhollon and Elysa Rice, eating nutella crepes with Melanie Seibert, and chatting work and life with a lot of fantastic folks from #u30pro. And #GR2L2 is what kicked it all off for me.

At #GR2L2, I had the pleasure of listening to thought leaders like Amber Naslund, Scott Stratten, Jason Falls and Chris Brogan. The individual presentations were short and sweet, but packed with powerful insights. Now that I’ve had a few weeks to mull them over, I want to dig deeper into some of the ideas that grabbed me.

Scott Stratten told us at #GR2L2 that we need to protect both our time and our emotional currency from the haters—the people who drain us empty, stress us out, and who ultimately don’t matter. Why waste your emotional capital on people who make you miserable? Save that up for your family, friends and people you respect. Haters to the left.

Haters aren’t only external, however, and the coffers of our emotional capital can be just as easily run dry by our inner haters. The nagging voice that says you’re not good enough. The ugly part of you that thrives on gossip. The internal complainer. The piece of you that sees only problems, never solutions. The naysayer. The Resistance.

The inner haters tell you to spend your time and emotional currency grumbling about the status quo, but not changing it. They tell you to use your precious emotional resources tearing others down to make yourself feel better, instead of building others up to make everyone truly better. They tell you shouldn’t bother trying to take on new challenges that will help you grow, because the easy, lazy route is good enough. They tell you that your sarcastic, bad attitude is funny and honest, not annoying, emotionally taxing, or depressing.

The inner haters are exhausting, they’re eating up your emotional capital, and they’re keeping you from doing good work. Even worse, when you indulge your inner haters, that attitude can spread to the people around you. The people you care about, who you should be investing your emotional currency in instead.

It’s time to push the inner haters to the left.

This is not just a matter of “the power of positive thinking”—blanket positivity can be just as irritating as constant negativity, and “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” is still a terrible rule to live by. It doesn’t mean that you should stop offering constructive criticism. Truth is always important, even if it’s a hard truth. Sometimes problems need to be talked about. Sometimes you have to call your baby ugly. But you don’t have to give in to the haters.

Here’s how I’m going to better protect my emotional capital from the inner haters.

Instead of only complaining about problems, I’ll invent and implement solutions. Even if a solution is something small, and seemingly insignificant, it’s better than nothing. It makes a difference, which is more than simply complaining will do. And enough little solutions can add up to make a big difference.

Instead of talking about and dwelling on annoying people, I’ll use that energy to reinforce, compliment and help those who matter. Like Scott Stratten says, the haters and morons aren’t worth spending time on. They aren’t worth gossiping about, either. Why give them ANY thought? There are plenty of other people who have wonderful talents and ideas to be shared and developed. Let’s talk about that, instead.

Instead of saying, That could never be me, I’ll say, I can do that. And then do it, whatever it is. The inner haters feed on your doubts, fears and insecurities. They say you aren’t smart enough, good enough, organized enough, dedicated enough, knowledgeable enough. They say that the only way you can feel like you’re worthy is by giving your emotional capital over to them and over to these vices.

Well, screw that. Inner haters to the left. I am good enough, smart enough, dedicated enough. I can do it, and I will.

And so are you, and so can you.

What are you doing to protect your emotional currency from the haters, both inner and outer?


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