I’ve found a powerful and time-saving technique for responding to long-winded critiques and challenges from others.
Give a short answer.
Not because a short answer is better, but because there’s no need for a long answer. A lengthy, elegant, point-by-point essay can be interesting, but it’s just more of the same because you’re engaging the criticism. That’s boring and expected. You give me any argument, and I can come up with a logical, point-by-point answer why it’s wrong. But when you fail to attempt this at all, you cut like a knife through your opponent’s inquiries. Basically, you’re saying, “your points are so pointless, they’re not even worth talking about.” There’s no need to say it so bluntly, because it’s just plain negative. A short, positive, deflective response is much better, because it has all the positive aspects of a negative response, but none of the ill will. It saves the time and energy of everyone.
This isn’t something you should do all the time. You will get great feedback and ideas occasionally, which you should not dismiss. Most often, these come not from your friends or family, but from people you don’t know. This is because strangers have a fresh, entirely unbiased interpretation of you. Unfortunately, 90% of all the criticism you receive isn’t worth a cent. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the people who say “your photography doesn’t make me think” or “anyone can do what you do, it’s all Photoshop.” I’ve gotten those comments before, and I’ve try to give an in-depth and convincing counter-argument, when really, I should be saying “Dude, you just don’t get it. I’m not making art for you.”
I’ve shared The Cancer Myth with people, and they’ve told me how I shouldn’t be pretending medical knowledge, nor supporting “treatment” that has not been double-blind tested / backed by the government / approved by Oprah. They’ll say stuff like “There’s no evidence to back it up. If what you say is true, then surely more people would know about it.” These people are rocks. You can’t talk to them. I’ve tried. I’ve written more about cancer in Conquering Big Problems, and I’m writing more about it here, but it doesn’t matter if I show a rock all this and a million case studies and a million eyewitness testimonials. It’s still a rock I’m talking to, and there can be no progress. [For my uninformed readers: cancer is a vitamin deficiency, the prevention and cure for which is vitamin B17, found in the seeds of apricots, apples, and other fruits, which you should start eating today. Apricot seeds have a hard shell. Use a nutcracker to get to the seed.]
Strangers, family, and friends alike are your brothers, because everyone is a part of the interconnected whole. But that doesn’t mean you should waste time talking to rocks when you could be connecting to people. Time is precious. There are 6.5 billion people in this world, and if you speak English, you can influence 1.5 billion of them. That’s a lot of people, and you can never live to help all of them. It’s a sin to waste your time on people who are rocks because they refuse to consider change.
Rocks are all around us. Don’t worry; if you’ve been open-minded to read this far, you are not a rock. A true rock would’ve left long ago. Rocks are not impermeable, but it takes tons of effort to overcome rockiness. It’s like painting a house with a toothbrush. You can’t make someone turn from a rock into a person. He has to do it himself, or consciously decide at the influence of others. Persistent pestering just makes a rock harden. Don’t dedicate your life to a rock; pick up and move on to the non-rocks in this world.
I meant to make this a short article, but it’s become decidedly un-short. When you have an open stage like a blog, you should go all out by covering a subject in more depth than anyone else dares to. You’re not just influencing one person. Through the magic of the Internets, you can be influencing tens of thousands of people everyday with just a few, permanent hours of writing. Plus, you easily be compensated for your contribution through advertising and affiliate commissions. It’s the business model of a newspaper, without the staggering printing bill.
The next time a rock attacks you, let it be like a knife through water. What you say doesn’t matter, because you’re talking to a rock. Say “Yeah, you’re right.” Not even a rock can argue with that.