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Paul Jun once teamed up with several others to kill every single person at a wedding.
It wasn’t a “real” wedding, of course–it was a ceremony that took place in the video game World of Warcraft.
Still, the spirit of the attack was pretty blood-sucking, and there was emotional fallout for weeks. The wedding guests (not to mention the bride and groom) were understandably outraged at the onslaught and wondered who could be small-minded enough to coordinate a bloodbath on a day meant to honor the union of two souls.
The fact is, online bullying can have devastating effects in real life. Rehtaeh Parsons was just 15 when she committed suicide after being sexually assaulted, then bullied about it by classmates on social media. Even in less extreme cases, what is said online does impact us offline–sometimes dramatically.
In a world where anonymous comments form a part of our daily lives (not to mention un-anonymous comments on Facebook), learning to protect ourselves and our children is a worthy pursuit.
And Jun, a self-proclaimed former hater, is the perfect guide. He says there are a few key rules when it comes to repelling that most repellent of all online personalities: the troll.
1. Never feed them. Period.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s time to really internalize it: Feeding trolls never works. As Jun says, “I have never seen a troll lay down his or her arms and say, ‘You know what, you’re right. I was so wrong.’ ”
Yes, it’s hard to not respond when antagonized. “When someone unknown comes at us, it’s part of our human nature to defend ourselves,” Jun says. “A part of us doesn’t want to stay silent, because we think silence means surrendering, and surrendering means losing.”
But when it comes to trolls, Jun says, silence is actually the opposite of surrender–it’s the only way to win:
“When I trolled other gamers with words–harsh words–many times they would ignore me…. I remember being bothered by that. ‘Why won’t they defend themselves? Entertain me!’ The ones who ignored me, and even better, put me on their ‘Ignore List’ so that they couldn’t receive my messages, were the ones who understood this principle.”
Attention is like food for trolls.
2. Do vent.
Getting attacked online affects you physiologically. This is real. So don’t just sit on anger or hurt feelings–get support if you feel attacked. Talk to a friend, get a hug, scream in your car, tell a safe person.
Then remember that that troll probably has a very sad life. We’ve all heard it, but it’s immensely satisfying to hear Jun validate it: “A troll’s behavior reflects a deep insecurity…having someone respond to their words gives life meaning, regardless of how pathetic that may sound.”
He admits, “I raided that wedding because I wanted to be noticed and talked about. Random people cursing me out through private messages or the general chatroom invigorated me. I was so bored with my real life…that I learned to find joy in harming others.”
Now imagine for a moment that meaning in your life actually came from a random person responding, “F*** you!” to a hostile comment you made in a chatroom. How much meaningful human connection is in your life if that’s what you do just to be noticed for a moment?
3. Have rules about how to deal with trolls. Follow them.
Jun calls them principles, not rules, but the idea is the same: Know what your strategy is, and follow it.
For example, if someone posts something hateful or hurtful on your Facebook wall and you’ve decided to protect that as your own space, delete it. Every time. No need to spend an hour drafting the perfect response, trying to change the person’s mind (you won’t), or proving to other followers that you can stand up to bullies.
Same thing on Instagram, Twitter, etc. There’s a “block” feature on these platforms for a reason. Deprive trolls of the ability to suck your energy by using it.
4. Remember the 30 percent rule.
According to well-known and -loved author James Altucher, “[N]o matter who you are, no matter what you do, no matter who your audience is: 30 percent will love it, 30 percent will hate it, and 30 percent won’t care. Stick with the people who love you and don’t spend a single second on the rest.”
To which Jun adds, “File those trolls under the proper 30 percent and move on.”
In other words, know that if you reach a certain level of success, you will attract haters. It comes with the territory. But you have the power to choose what to do about them.
So don’t hang out with trolls in their dark, dank caves. Keep your head in the game and your face in the light.
“So did that couple ever get married?” Jun asks. “My best guess is that they did. Meanwhile, I spent hours on a video game, tormenting strangers, ultimately getting nothing done…. At the end of it all, I did nothing but harm my mind and body.”
He may have harmed his mind and body years ago, but perhaps he has helped redeem his soul by telling us exactly how to bypass hate and stay focused on what really matters: creativity, contribution, and connection.
Everyday we are inundated with questions, new situations, issues both real and perceived and hundreds of other things. All steal your time and lessen your ability to think and behavior rationally. We certainly live in a world of chaos and the noise seems to increase by the day. If you are not careful you can find yourself spinning like a top.
What separates the great leaders from the good is that they have a way of managing the craziness. They have an ability for placing things in to context and to prioritize those things. I call it mastering controlled chaos.
Take a moment and think how you react to new developments? How would you grade yourself? Do you stop to place the issue in context or over or under react? Do you prioritize or allow the latest emerging issue to steal your focus?
Make sure moving forward that you pause, study the situation presented and only after thoughtful consideration move forward. Seek input. Remember that you don’t need to have all the answers. Always try to place things in perspective and don’t over or under react.
All these things will help you in your efforts to attain controlled chaos in your life.
At times we are so invested in our beliefs that when we hear a rumor or get an unconfirmed report that matches our thinking we want to take the new intelligence as fact. In these moments we must fight that urge and question our confirmation bias. Always get the facts. Challenge the source and make sure you remain open minded.
The times when I have miscalculated the error could easily have been avoided if I had not wanted the story to be true and therefore I allowed the story to be true.
No matter where you are in your career questioning your confirmation bias is paramount. My thought of the Week is practice this skill in your daily life.
- Original posting on LinkedIn
Thought of the Week – If you’re not getting better you are getting worse
Business is fierce and rapidly changing. It is not enough to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your previous work or even maintain your current pace or capabilities. You and your team must evolve and grow. While harsh it is absolutely reality that if you are not getting better you are getting worse.
You must strive daily to improve and be in constant pursuit of positive growth. This focus will separate you from the pack in the end. Improving does not happen naturally however. It must be worked for. It must be planned and never left for chance.
Develop an improvement plan and review for progress at least bi-weekly. Dream big and big things will happen if you commit and follow through. So, follow through you must. Think. Execute. Adapt. Then Repeat. Get specific and go win!
*Originally published on LinkedIn
Thought of the Week- Be Proud of Your Scars
At times it feels like everyone wants perfection and that any deviation is unacceptable and classified almost a mortal sin. This drive for getting everything right also makes you prone to not taking chances, to minimizing risk or showing any kind of vulnerability. This safe play thinking ultimately leads to underperformance.
My advice is to not seek perfection but continuous improvement. Push yourself and your organization to improve. Take chances. Celebrate rather than fear your mistakes. Relish your scars of trying that you receive along the way. Each scar makes you better, stronger and more likely to win in the future. Go push and make some scars.
*Originally published on LinkedIn
One of my biggest disappointments is that I have not celebrated where I was throughout my life’s journey.
From a very early age I was obsessed with running my own business. This was a long time before I even knew what a CEO was. Others loved music and clubbing. I loved learning about business.
I wanted to run companies. To be the best. From my teen years onwards I was in pursuit of this singular goal. Awards, promotions and accolades meant very little to me. A wanted the ultimate prize or nothing.
I was driven everyday and a lot of the pleasure was lost in this desire. If I was giving an inspiring manager advice it would be to celebrate “your” moments. Yes, set goals but not at the exclusion of enjoying life along the way. The most important thing is that you embrace wholeheartedly where you are in the moment and make the most of that time. The future will arrive soon enough. I must have heard this phase a thousand times and looking back it is so true ” do not forget to stop and smell the roses”.
As we go through life we all experience many ups and downs. The trick is to keep things in perspective and to maintain an even keel in both the good and the bad times. One success does not make you and one failure does not break you.
Just pause for a moment and look back at your highs and lows. If you are like me, then oftentimes we recall the bad things first. And especially the people we perceive to have done us wrong.
My thought for this week is that we make peace with these people who have done us perceived or real harm. Carrying anger and hatred towards others is unhealthy. Worse still is that we have moved on and most likely will never meet these people again. Why allow them to continue to have an impact on us? Don’t allow them to eat away at your soul. Instead, do something you never thought possible; forgive them. It does not mean you will forget what they have done but turn that experience in to a positive learning. You will be stronger and better for it.
Take this week and make peace with those who have hurt you and move on. This is not an easy move, it has taken me over three years but as I put this in to practice I feel a sense of internal peace and freedom from anger. I hope you will as well.
Leadership is all about figuring out and delivering on the art of the possible. True leadership is about getting positive things done and mobilizing those around you to achieve impactful outcomes. Part of the the art of the possible is to have conviction to your beliefs so you can with confidence to know what to say no to, to pivot from or to kill entirely if the benefits do not justify the investment in both capital and talent.
Leadership is about being bold. For sure having courage, surrounding yourself with great talent and then in my humble opinion getting out of the way to let this talent get things done once the strategy is set. Another critical component is to be able to shake off failures and realize that a setback does not define you but actually enhances you.
Moving forward make sure that you have done your homework. That you understand the market and armed with this knowledge that you can help shape where it is going. With these insights you can hire, train the team in confidence and deliver on the art of the possible.