I've written before about the greatest compliment anyone can pay an entrepreneur. But what about the biggest insults that people are likely to throw your way (usually because they just don't get it)?
As a successful entrepreneur or someone who is likely to become one, you're taking the road less traveled. It's probably understandable that some people who don't have the courage or opportunity to do so, might wind up a little jealous. So when less successful try to insult you, they're just as lucky to wind up indicting themselves.
Here are 10 ways people try to put down entrepreneurs--insults that are truly compliments, if you see the world differently and understand how innovation and progress really works.
1. "You're just lucky."
Most people who say this are looking for excuses why they're not successful, but you are. They can't explain it, or they're not willing to admit it, so they figure that it must simply be the luck of the draw. Does good fortune have something to do with success? Sure, but not in the way non-entrepreneurs think. Truly entrepreneurial people make their own luck.
2. "You're crazy."
Crazy, huh? Like the Founding Fathers were crazy to stand up to the most powerful nation on earth at the time, or crazy like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg were crazy to drop out of the most elite college in America, or crazy like some guy was to start taking photographs of random people around New York City? Maybe the truly crazy among us are the ones who aren't brave enough to bet on themselves.
3. "You're unreasonable."
George Bernard Shaw put it best: "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
4. "You're so impatient."
Entrepreneurship isn't like other ways of living. Sure, patience can be a virtue, but impatience can as well. It's the impatient among us who push for progress and change, and who insist that the world can--and should be--a better place.
5. "You're not a threat."
Really? Then why are they even mentioning you? There's probably no better indication that somebody is worried about how your success might affect theirs than if they're taking the time to try to convince you otherwise.
6. "You're wrong."
Nobody likes being told that they're wrong, but this probably means you've made a decision--maybe even a hard one. Entrepreneurship is a game of uncertainties, and nobody achieves success without being decisive.
7. "I'm leaving you to start my own business."
Granted this could create an immediate problem in your venture if the person who says it is important to your success, but overall it's a high compliment. Great leaders don't make great followers. They make more great leaders.
8. "I disagree with you."
What's scarier than when nobody agrees with you? Finding out that everybody does. That's when the best entrepreneurs start to wonder what they're missing, and why they're suddenly running with the lemmings. Sure, you can make a lot of money and have success by following trends, and there's a lot to be said for that course. But, it doesn't mean you're a true entrepreneur.
9. "I don't like you."
Fair enough. Great leaders aren't always out to be liked, although they do probably want to be respected. The hard truth is that while you want to treat people with care and decency, you'll never convince everyone to like you. And if you care too much about that, you probably won't wind up being successful.
10. "I don't understand how you could have accomplished this."
This is the passive-aggressive comment to end all passive-aggressive comments. It demonstrates that the person saying it likely will never be successful in their own right. So look at it in the true light--that your success is so great that some people just can't figure it out. Sometimes there's no better advantage than being underestimated.