Negative Feedback, Speaking Your Mind

You are always going to get negative feedback. As you get more and more positive feedback, you get more and more negative feedback.

For example: this month I reduced my freelance photography rate from $50 per event to $20 per hour, with a minimum of $20 plus a $10 travel fee. Editing and a CD are free, but I provide no prints. I’ve done almost no freelance photography and I don’t even care about it, but I offer it because people ask about it all the time. The people who say I’m too expensive are actually MORE vocal now. Out of the ten who have asked this month, two have said I charge way too much. I have good equipment, 5 years experience, and a gallery of portraits, so I’m charging very little, but some people still complain. If I charged $5 there would be people saying “it will only take a few minutes!” There will ALWAYS be negative feedback.

Sometimes negative feedback is valid. More often negative feedback is bogus and positive feedback is legitimate. If you are evil this will be flipped: positive feedback (“good job gassing those Jews!”) is bogus and negative feedback (“murderer!”) is legitimate. You should ignore bogus feedback and cut off the source. In your email inbox, bogus feedback makes you want to click “Delete.” Constructive criticism makes you want to click “Archive” because everyone ignores constructive criticism. Accurate negative feedback makes you want to click “Archive” quickly because you are uneasy. If you keep mulling over a comment, it has truth.

A couple years ago I believed you should always speak your mind. Now I know you have to be cautious if you want to be part of normal institutions, i.e. public school, the university, or a bureaucratic place of employment.

For example: here are my observations about the word “nigger”:

* For a long time it was used derisively against blacks and mulattos. Even President Harding was called a nigger.

* Now it is often used by blacks when talking to their black buddies in “the ‘hood.”

* Black rappers say nigger in their song lyrics all the time and their CDs are sold at Wal-Mart.

* If a white man calls a black man a nigger, there are now Draconian penalties—a tenured professor could be fired.

* Calling a white man a honkey, a cracker, or white trash is not very bad.

* If a black man calls anyone a nigger there will likely be no penalty.

* This is racist. Two wrongs never make a right—you cannot mitigate historical oppression by flipping it. When the oppressed become the oppressors they are still unjustified.

* “Nigger” should be universally offensive, but when a white man is called a nigger he brushes it off.

* Professors are afraid of their white students saying the word, even when discussing historical racism. Instead we have to say “the N-word.”

These can be objectively proven. Therefore, they are not beliefs. They are observations. However I would not dare make these statements at my job or school because there could be painful sanctions, even in history class! Most professors would not find them offensive, but white professors would strike me down, lest they themselves be labeled “racist.” It’s a sad system.

I love this website because I can say whatever I want. I own the domain name, I own the DNS name servers, and I control the server and software. I’m renting the server, but my web host has a traditional policy of non-interference. When you post on someone else’s site or you speak on someone else’s property, you are subject to their rules. You can be moderated. I am accountable only to the U.S. government, my local government, and defamation lawsuits, so I don’t have to watch what I say.

Granted, my main source of income is Google AdSense and they could cut me off, but there are always other income streams. I have a lot of freedom.

If you can’t speak your mind at your job, your school, or your social clubs, you can always opt out. Quit, leave, find your own space. How much personal autonomy are you willing to sacrifice? We all must sacrifice some amount of freedom for convenience or safety. For example, if you enjoy eating or injecting cocaine, you have no legal options in the United States. Your two legitimate options are: a.) don’t use cocaine, b.) move to Colombia and grow some Coca leaves. Moving to Colombia is very inconvenient, so most people choose option a.

Speaking your mind always has a price. Ask yourself: is this price worthwhile? Are you willing to pay it? You might get fired. Can you pay your mortgage? There are many reasons to speak your mind, but there are also many reasons to NOT speak your mind. There are shades of gray. Weigh your options. The decision is yours alone.

8 thoughts on “Negative Feedback, Speaking Your Mind

  1. Good day! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find
    a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one?

    Thanks a lot!

  2. Personal development seems hard to me but now I started reading different books and materials like CD, DVD and its being easy for me. Thanks for your helpful post which will help me in future.

    • You’re welcome. It’s all in how you apply it… you can easily end up worse off from reading all this stuff. Be careful and stay true to yourself.

  3. Hi,

    Here’s just a thought:
    Most Negative feedback comes from people who don’t think about or realize the pain and hardwork that goes into making/selling a product. As Charles mentioned above, they are basically tuned to comment on things they come across :confused:

    Anyways, thanks for sharing :smile:


    • Some people are very afraid of any criticism. I’ve never been one of them, but I see that their fear often comes from their parents or a singular incident, and it limits their creative output greatly.

      You have to face your fears. Then they will become smaller.

  4. Hi Richard,

    Negative feedback can be poison.

    I got one negative feedback from an ebook I was selling (refund request, which I honored naturally). But I went further than that. I started questioning whether or not that ebook was worth selling, and ultimately stopped selling it.

    A month later, I got an email from another customer that noticed I stopped selling it. He was asking me why, and went on and on about how he loved it.

    There will always be negative feedback, because some people are just intrinsically negative. Learn to tune it out and stand up for yourself. If you think what you are saying / writing / selling is worth it, be prepared for those that will try to convince you that it isn’t. Remember why you think it is and stick by it.

    Always keep in mind that people prefer to write about their dislikes than their likes. It may seem that the negative feedback represents what people think, when in fact it usually doesn’t. The positive people are more prone to silence.

    Have a great day!

    • I think this happens on a lot. Many good items have only negative reviews… because the people who had no problems don’t say anything!

      I’m sure your ebook was good and I hope you’ve stuck with it. Everything can be improved… but don’t let perfection stop you from publishing anything.

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