The biggest waste of time is a waste of time.
I found myself saying those words out loud as I read this article by Tony Gentilcore.
Understand that while this article is going to disagree strongly with how Tony handled this situation, he is actually a friend and someone that I respect more than most in the industry.
In fact, when I was editor the fitness editor at Men’s Health magazine (before I even knew Tony), it was my goal to make him a contributor because I knew his coaching would improve the quality of the content.
He’s smart, has great advice, and can help people.
And the fact that he possesses those qualities is why his approach towards his haters failed. You see, what he wrote about served none of the attributes above.
My viewpoint is one that is probably shared by very few; but even if you don’t agree with me, you might find value in what I’m about to suggest.
The Time Value System
Your time is your most valuable asset.
What you do with your time—anywhere on the spectrum from all-nighter work sessions to complete slog moments on the couch—is priceless because you can’t make more of it, and once that time has passed you can’t get it back.
So you better be damn sure that everything you do—as much as possible—serves a purpose.
Tony’s post, while well intentioned, lacked purpose and any measurable ROI. I always want to make sure that I'm getting something out of my time.
Doesn't matter if that "something" is just decompression or going to the ends of world to do good will. You should place a value on what you'll get out of your actions.
In terms of content, you always start from the top: who is your audience?
So let's assess Tony's potential readers and why this didn't make any sense:
Was the post for other fitness professional (many of whom he mentions) that are involved in affiliate marketing?
Of course not. They know the game, understand business, and support Tony's actions. And knowing Tony, he wasn't looking for a few pats on the back.
Is it for the people who don’t even know affiliate marketing and might question Tony's agenda?
Maybe a little. But most of those people still won’t understand that approach to making money after they finish reading, nor will they really care. Not to mention, if Tony didn't bring the complaint to the attention of his entire audience, no one would have even known about it.
By writing about a bad, misguided comment, Tony created fire where there was no smoke. In the world of business that's never a good move.
Tony’s audience reads his work because he is legitimately one of the best strength coaches in the industry, and creates some awesome content that answers questions, helps people rethink faulty ideas, and leads to self improvement. (And more gainz.)
Was it for the haters that triggered such a response?
On the surface, this seems like the most obvious answer. The reality? Those haters will read that article and smile. Why? Because they won and Tony lost.
The internet is a small, curious world. One where anyone can say anything and get away with it.
Many people instigate and poke at writers simply to trigger a reaction. Their sole purpose in writing is to hurt your feelings and make you feel bad and cause you to react.
I’m not talking about open criticism or differences in opinion. I’m talking about unabashed trolling of people that hinges on uninformed opinions that lack any validity or substance.
Tony—or anyone else on the internet—has the right to sell or promote whatever they want.
And the reality is, everyone on the internet has the right to disagree with him.
This is life.
So what point is it to react to the people that disagree with your viewpoint? There is none.
Don't Argue For the Sake of Arguing
At the end of the day, if you have faith and believe in your process, then you don’t have to rationalize it or explain it to anyone.
Doing so is a waste of time.
You’re not really helping anyone or changing minds. You’re putting something out into the world to rationalize your behaviors to make yourself feel better.
And if that helps, then go for it.
But at some point the end goal of running a successful business or even just writing a blog is arriving at a place where you don't need extrinsic feedback to justify or approve your decisions.
You need to do what you do, make what you make, and not worry if the world loves or hates what you produce.
If you struggle with this, try following this simple principle: if the messages, content and products you create stays within your principles and is designed to help as many people as possible, then there's nothing to defend.
It's your job to know that if you try to please everyone you please no one. In other words, some battles just aren't worth fighting.
The most successful business people in the world don’t rationalize their decisions. They decide, act, and stand behind their actions unless they made a mistake and have to admit wrongdoing.
When that’s the situation, then taking accountability is one of the best uses of your time.
Anything else is a waste.
Those same people that trigger your reaction will be back to criticize more. And now they'll smell blood.
And all that time you spent trying to set things right? It ended up being a big waste.
Just like the opinions of the haters.