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Are Your Critics Just Habitual Haters?

A recent study concluded what you might have already guessed: some people are just plain negative.
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A side effect of the free flow of original ideas and content on the Internet is the torrent of criticism and backlash that comes in response. 

The two will always go hand in hand. Why? Recent research suggests it's partly because some people are naturally inclined to criticize just about every new idea they come across--especially when they have no external knowledge about the topic at hand.

In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers noticed a trend in what they called participants' "dispositional attitude."

According to a recent post on 99U, the study's authors asked participants a number of questions about various topics from health care to architecture. Then they noted whether a set of responses were negative or positive. 

In order to rule out the possibility that some participants might have just been in a bad mood that day, participants were asked to come back at a later date to answer another series of questions. 

After comparing the nature of both sets of responses for each participant, researchers found that those who tended to be highly critical during the first round of questions were also highly critical during the second round. 

It's likely that you could use some of your own experiences to reach the same exact conclusion. But this study serves as a reminder that if you decide to put something you've created out into the world, somebody somewhere is going to hate it. 

Criticism can throw any entrepreneur for a loop, so it's important to develop a strategy to deal with it. Ford CEO Alan Mulally's advice? Just let it go. 

"A bad attitude simply erases everyone else's memory of the incredible progress achieved," he told Inc. columnist Mark Thompson.

Of course, there are different types of criticism, and the constructive kind shouldn't be ignored. But the next time your latest creation receives some less than favorable attention, consider whether it comes from someone with a certain "dispositional attitude."

Last updated: Jun 10, 2014

LAURA MONTINI | Staff Writer

Laura Montini is a reporter at Inc. She previously covered health care technology for Health 2.0 News and has served as an associate editor at The Health Care Blog. She lives in San Francisco.




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