If I had the ability to pop the hood on my brain and run a few diagnostics, I’d like to know why I seem to give naysayers and trolls more credence than they are worth. Why do I understand that mentality so well? Why is it so familiar? Why do I hear that voice, and really, it’s the same voice no matter who is saying it, and have such a hard…time…refuting it?
I should clarify that voice thing. A “troll” voice is not quite the same thing as a “naysayer” voice. The troll is slow and thick with willful ignorance, and often online, and often anonymous. But I’ve met some real life trolls also. And those people confound me. I feel like they shouldn’t, but they do. Depending on the flavors of the troll, and yes, they have flavors, I’m just confounded by their propensity for trollishness. Why are they like that? How did they get that way? Why are they so intentionally harmful? I am vastly oversimplifying the troll mentality, but it all boils down to their objective to hurt people. In an impersonal way, but also sometimes, in a personal way. And that confounds me.
A “naysayer” is something different, and perhaps a bit more stealthy, and maybe more manipulative, and therefore more evil than a dumb troll. A naysayer is a fear peddler. In whatever context. There are macro naysayers: “The economy is doomed! Grab your creamed corn and head for the hills!” And there are micro naysayers, people you may know personally: “I can see what you are trying to do here, but I’m afraid your plan won’t work, and I’d hate to see you fail.” Hear the glee in that voice? Familiar to you at all? They just want what’s best for you.
A naysayer wants to get under your skin and plant the seeds of doubt. Sometimes under the guise of their great concern for you. In some ways, I can see the workings of naysayers, why they behave the way they do, what makes them tick, and that makes them easier to identify and dismiss. They couldn’t imagine taking a leap into the unknown. And if you make the leap, and you succeed, then you may shatter that fragile fortress they’ve spent their life constructing. Or your success may be an affront to their values and the choices they’ve made. They would much rather see you fail, or better yet, not try at all. It will help them sleep at night.
What’s the opposite of a naysayer? Is it a yea-sayer? I’d much rather hang out with those people. I’d much rather take a flying leap into the great unknown, in the company of foolish, misinformed, ill advised yea-sayers, than stay on the ground with the naysayers and trolls.