A wise friend recently told me: If a bully pokes you with a stick, don’t jump. Among other goals, a bully wants to control you. A bully wants some kind of reaction; why provide it? Talk to your spouse, your friends, your mom or dad. Take a moment for self-pity, even—but just a moment. And then, remember who you are. Remember what defines you—and it is surely not your bully. If outside help can be of assistance in shutting down the problem, go for it. But you? You stay focused on your game. Amidst the rhetorical bullets firing: Head down, shoulders back, forge forward.
In my business, everyone is a critic. You cannot succeed if you are not willing to accept that not everyone will like you. (If everyone does, you’re probably pretty boring.) Keeping an occasional eye on what the critics say is important—assuming by “critics,” we mean smart people one respects, as opposed to those with an agenda or a proven track record of unfairness. But wallowing in the kind of negativity we find online these days can be damaging to the soul. It’s bus exhaust. Why inhale?
The more you let negative people get in your head, the more they succeed in cowing you. Better to take all of the energy devoted to your naysayers and channel it into yourself—insist that you do better, choose better, be better. Stay humble enough to accept that, sometimes, critics offer something from which you can learn, self-aware enough to know that you will make mistakes. But be centered enough to realize the best way to thrive is to step over your fear.
Many critics are motivated by envy (a destructive force). Many want nothing more than to steal your mojo. Instead of letting them, root for happiness in your detractors’ lives, and insist on it in your own. And for those doing the envying, remember what my buddy Dr. Phil says: The only difference between you and someone you envy is you settled for less. My own life motto is: Settle for more.
Megyn Kelly is the anchor of FOX News Channel’s The Kelly File on weekdays, 9 p.m. She will be co-anchoring the network’s New Hampshire Primary coverage at 8 p.m. Tuesday.