Throw Negative Nancy On The Fire


On your journey to financial independence, someone is inevitably going to find out you’re not exactly doing things “the normal way”.  Maybe your friends and family find out.  Or, perhaps a neighbor or co-worker.  Heck, maybe you even start a blog where you tell the world your whole financial story…

Without fail, somebody somewhere is going to throw some shade your way.  Shade — meaning negativity, criticism, or hatred.

A Negative Nancy or Negative Ned can really ruin a person’s day.  Yes, the world can be a really negative place.  People criticize others all the time.  They throw hate at anything different.  In fact, on the internet cutting someone down is almost considered a sport.

When that same criticism comes from friends and family it can create tension, strain relationships, or even lead to serious emotional pain.  Yes, the road to financial independence isn’t without it’s aches and pains.  There’s bound to be some emotional pain along the way…

 

Just Deal With It?

In the past I’ve written about how having a thick skin is an important skill in early retirement.  As I mentioned in the post, “mastering your stories” can really help control the amount of negative feedback you receive… but it doesn’t eliminate it entirely.

Especially if you do anything online where people have some degree of anonymity.  They can say terrible things with impunity.

In the past, I merely said “learn to deal with it”.  But that answer never really sat all that well with me.  Why?

I was never very good at letting that negativity bounce-off me.  Not entirely at least.  Some of it still got through and sunk its teeth in.  Sometimes I’d get to feeling a little blue.

It was on one of those “blue days” in early 2018 when I had an idea.

You see, every weekday I walk my son to school and then go for my regular morning walk.  (I do some of my best thinking when I’m walking.)

It was on one of those walks that I happened to be thinking about how Financially Independent people are really good at being opportunistic.  We seize opportunities that are incredibly advantageous to us, even if they take a little work to realize.

Opportunism is one of the key advantages that makes Financially Independent people so different.  We turn lemons into lemonade.  We turn trash into treasure, and seize opportunities that others typically ignore — such as using frugality to build a financial snowball even faster.

Then, the thought hit me — All the negative comments and hatred is really just another form of trash.  Why can’t I turn THAT trash into treasure, like I do almost everything else?

Just like that, a powerful switch flipped in my head and I realized — I most certainly CAN turn negativity into something positive I can use!

At the very least, hate is fuel!

 

The Hate Dumpster Fire

As an opportunist, I’ve learned a few tricks over the years to dealing with trash.  Inevitably when picking-up free stuff like furniture, some of it is never going to turn out as expected.  That free furniture on Craigslist will turn-out to be too broken or worn-out to really be useful to you.

In other words, you picked up someone’s trash that you thought was going to be a treasure… and it really was just trash.

But even trash can be useful if you’re an opportunist willing to put a little work into it — Worn out wood furniture can be chopped up and burned in a fireplace.  Metal pieces, such as steel, iron and aluminum can be recycled for cash at your local metal yard.

Heat and a little extra money sure beat throwing one-more-thing into the landfill!

dumpster fire
As any good hobo knows, even trash can be fuel for a fire.

This is what I learned to do with negativity —  I learned to take all that hate (aka trash) and turn it into fuel for my Financial Independence dumpster fire.

Let the flames burn bright my negative friends… because the hate is keeping me warm!

 

Shit Into Sunshine

Inevitably, you’re probably wondering how this negative-hate to positive-energy conversion process works.  Well, like any good opportunist, it’s how you process the negativity that matters.

Basically — Any negativity received is simply an acknowledgement that you’re simply doing something different than normal.  In other words, they’re saying “You’re different and I don’t agree with that”.

So what?!?  Being different is actually a good thing!  Take it to the extreme.  Go full-on weirdo and embrace it, like I did.  It’s those differences that allowed me to reach financial independence at such an early age.

To achieve different outcomes in life, we have to make different choices!

So really, anytime those Negative Nancy’s tell you that you’re going to die a penniless deprived hobo, they’re actually saying, “Goddam, I see how different your choices are in life compared to mine!  You’re definitely going to get a different outcome in life!  You’re doing different right!”

burn the poop
The process is actually pretty simple…

Like I’ve said in the past, nobody can predict the future.  A Negative Ned that throws a nasty comment my way has zero ability to predict the outcome of my life choices.  His prognostication really doesn’t matter.  It’s nonsense.  He doesn’t know anything, he’s just spewing shit.  This is just his (or her) acknowledgement that I’m on the right track to achieving a different life.  That’s what matters the most.

All that “acknowledgment”, is really just a positive thing.

Oh, and don’t forget — Anytime someone says something positive, it’s nice to say “Thank you” in return.  Turn that shit into sunshine, and then blow a little sunshine back at ’em.

It feels really incredible to turn the negativity around and give back sunshine in return!  Kill ’em with kindness, as the old saying goes!

 

Real World Examples

This post wouldn’t be any fun if I didn’t include some examples on how to so this!  So, here’s some good examples (based on some super-awesome reader comments I’ve received over the years):

Negative Nancy: “You’re stupid Mr. Tako.  Your investing strategy sucks, and you’re going to die a poor penniless hobo!”

Me:  “Thanks for reading the post on my investing strategy Nancy!  The fact you commented means I must be on the right track!  It’s going to be really fun to find out if you’re right!  Keep on reading my blog to watch it happen!”

Negative Ned:  “You are depriving yourself and your family with pointless frugality.  I really feel sorry for your kids.  What a shame there are terrible people like you in the world.”

Me:  “Wow, super-awesome comment Ned!  Great acknowledgement of the differences between us!  We don’t feel deprived at all!  In fact, we’re super happy because of our choices.  Frugality is not deprivation.  Thanks for reminding me! 🙂  If I ever need a little pick-me-up, I’m going to come back and re-read your comment in the future!”

Terrible Ted: “You are a worthless bum that refuses to work.  Meanwhile your wife supports the family you loser!”

Me:  “Oh, you picked-up on the fact our family is different!  Thank you.  Yes, we don’t look “normal” from the outside.  Our cash flow primarily comes from dividends these days, which means we get to do what makes us happy! 🙂  In my case, that doesn’t include a traditional job.  In Mrs. Tako’s case, she gets to work at a job she loves!  We both get to engage in the productive pursuits we love AND earn a little cash!  It’s pretty fantastic.”

Bitchy Beth:  “I find your lifestyle depressing.  If I had to cook every night, I would absolutely be hating life.  Eating at nice restaurants all the time makes me happy.  I really pity your family and its deprived life.”

Me:  “Thanks for pointing this out Beth!  On the contrary, we’re actually really happy we don’t waste money at restaurants!  My cooking skills have vastly improved since I started cooking at home regularly too!  I’m a badass in the kitchen, and Mrs. Tako loves it.  That makes me pretty darn happy! 🙂  Besides the incredible savings and better food, there’s no driving to a restaurant (better for the environment), no wasting time waiting for a table, and I get the food cooked *exactly* to my specifications.  There’s so many incredible advantages I actually dislike eating at restaurants now!”

And so on…

I’m sure you get the idea — Turn that negative shittiness into sunshine my friends! 🙂  Shit into sunshine!

 

Conclusion

It used to be that a bunch of negativity both online and from friends or family would eventually get me down.  People love to criticise.

We all tend to build-up personal walls too, but those walls are FAR from impenetrable fortresses.  It can get to us.  Negativity can wear down even the strongest walls.  Sometimes it got to me.

For many people, that negativity can push them back to conforming.  Conforming to “normal” behavior.  Like going to work 9 to 5, driving the “right” kind of car, owning the “right” kind of home, or engaging in the “right” kind of behavior.

Not me.  I love being a weirdo.  For god’s sake, my online persona is an octopus.  Full-on weirdo is my happy place. 🙂

Now, I simply throw the extra negativity on my hate dumpster fire when someone throws shade my way.  I turn that negativity into fuel for my personal fire.  Or FIRE (the acronym).  Whichever.

It’s an incredible opportunity to build-up positivity and optimism about your personal path through life.  People are noticing how different you are!   Use that to build yourself up! Use it to feed your passion for a different life and reaching that eventual different outcome!  You can do it!

This is an incredible tool that I think many people on the road to financial independence could definitely benefit from.  At the very least this post will probably generate plenty of “acknowledgement about of how different I am”.  And I look forward to it.

Bring it on!  My fire needs more fuel.

 

[Image Credit:  Flickr1Flickr2]

50 thoughts on “Throw Negative Nancy On The Fire

  • January 16, 2019 at 4:37 AM
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    If you try something different, someone will always comment on it. Whether it’s to support their own decisions in life or for some other reason, it’s part of the process. Sometimes it’s genuine and asks you important questions you should have the answers to (and sharpens your thinking), but when it’s not it’s key to develop a thick skin. Haters gonna hate.

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    • January 16, 2019 at 9:02 PM
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      Indeed Jim! Thanks for the insightful comment! 🙂

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 4:51 AM
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    Great post, Mr Tako. We’re encouraged to follow our dreams, but not all dreams are created equal. Sometimes living the life we want to live means making choices that go against the expectations of our families, communities, or cultures—and facing stigma, isolation, and uncertainty as a result.

    I have directed and guided my own life – we are a similar age – and I can honestly say I have no regrets.
    Wear that Tako as a badge of honour!

    I wish I could cook Japanese food as authentically as you, which I am sure is hard to find in your local area unless you are prepared to pay big $$. I lived in Japan for quite a while and all I have to show for it, in culinary terms, is Takoyaki as my signature Japanese dish 😉

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    • January 16, 2019 at 9:06 PM
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      Thanks Chris! I don’t know how “authentic” our Japanese food is (being outside of Japan), but you’re right that the good restaurants want big $$$.

      The cheaper places are just bad! It’s easier (and better) to cook at home these days. 😉

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 5:10 AM
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    The poop + fire graphic… Best. Graphic. Ever.

    I think part of the reason so many internet folks throw hate is their interpreting your lifestyle or example as an attack on their own. So they feel the need to defend.

    Plus it’s just the internet and anything goes. There’s lots of poop out there

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    • January 16, 2019 at 9:07 PM
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      😀 Thanks Dave! I aim to please!

      Definitely lots of poop out there.

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 5:25 AM
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    I agree that once you get acclimated to cooking well, it’s difficult to eat at restaurants, at times it makes me depressed, “I make this dish soooooo better, why am I throwing money away for an inferior eating experience”. Plus, the smiles and nods of approval when you cook for others is pretty great too and you’ve got that locked up. Thanks for sharing.

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    • January 16, 2019 at 9:09 PM
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      Thanks Dan! I have that exact same feeling of disappointment whenever we eat-out. “I could make this better…”

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 5:57 AM
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    Shit into sunshine. Mr. Tako, that comment made my morning! 🙂

    Thank you for this post. In all honesty, it has been hard to constantly feel so weird since we moved into our fancy pants neighborhood. But that just means we’re on the right track! So I’m going to take a page from your book and thank my neighbors or nod and smile if I get any weird looks because our yard isn’t perfect or whatnot! 🙂

    Reply
    • January 16, 2019 at 9:12 PM
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      Yep, weird looks are just another way of a neighbor saying “I don’t know you yet”.

      Nothing a smile and a little chit-chat can’t cure! 🙂

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 6:42 AM
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    I envy Mrs. Tako! Someone who loves her children as much as she does is home to care for them when the daycare is closed, when they are sick, when she works late…all those scenarios that working parents dread. Add dinner on the table and a healthy portfolio-she’s got it made!

    Reply
    • January 16, 2019 at 9:19 PM
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      Yep, I’ve definitely got her back. I can’t imagine how single parents manage it. Sick days, parent teacher conferences, school calendars that don’t match work calendars, business travel, and so on… the list of reasons why a parent needs a backup is huge!

      Thanks for reading E. Jackson! 🙂

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 6:54 AM
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    I like your positive approach, because sometimes it’s just impossible not to react to negative comments (online or in real life)!

    However, seeing things from the outside, the best behaviour still seems to just ignore – as difficult as it may be. After all, what trolls want is for people to respond to their negativity, and you gain very little from a discussion with them. So why bother? Instead, it looks like the perfect use case for that “move comment to trash” option that comes with wordpress 🙂

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    • January 16, 2019 at 9:21 PM
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      A lot of times I do just hit the ‘delete’ button. But I also think it’s good mental exercise for me to practice positivity in the face of criticism. I think it makes me stronger.

      The power of positivity is a very powerful thing indeed! 😀

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 7:33 AM
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    Myopic: – lacking imagination, foresight, or intellectual insight.

    I think that is one of the primary reasons why people leave negative comments.
    They can’t fathom somebody doing things differently than themselves.

    Reply
    • January 16, 2019 at 9:25 PM
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      Totally agree Jimmy! There’s a certain subset of people like that. Then there’s others that just enjoy hurting other people. Those folks are scary.

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 8:33 AM
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    I now have 2 new favorite phrases: “Financial Independence dumpster fire” and “Shit Into Sunshine.” Weirdos unite! I love the examples of how to throw sunshine back at haters. I’m still waiting for them to emerge online and in my real life…no luck yet…Maybe they look at my purple hair and facial piercings and think I wouldn’t care (pretty accurate). No idea! But when they come I will be ready! Thanks so much for the laughs as well 🙂 .

    Reply
    • January 16, 2019 at 9:29 PM
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      I can’t imagine why a few face piercings and purple would keep the haters away, but if it works for you keep doing it!

      I’d estimate about 1 in 10 comments on this blog falls into the dumpster fire category. Just to give you an idea.

      Thanks for reading APL!

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 8:37 AM
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    Negative people drive me absolutely nuts. My parents are actually like that – I get nervous about being around them too often that it might rub off on me!

    When everyone’s heading in one direction, it’s probably smarter to head in the other. Keep up the good work, Mr. Tako!

    — Jim

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    • January 16, 2019 at 9:33 PM
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      Totally agree Jim! Going against the grain is a really big deal.! Different choices mean different outcomes!

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 9:00 AM
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    i find your articles to be helpful in a different way. and this is why i keep coming back to your blog. i try to ignore the haters as much as i can. but that can be hard.
    yesterday i was standing in line at super market, a white guy physically pushed me back and said his friend was standing before me while mumbling “damn jap”. i felt tempted to grab his hand and broke that arm with jujitsu. fortunately i felt it was better i left that checkout counter and moved to a different one. i am not japanese by the way and world war II ended 70 years ago.
    ignoring the hater is hard but often it’s the best way to deal with hate in my experience.
    thanks for today article, another very helpful article from mr. tako.

    Reply
    • January 16, 2019 at 9:43 PM
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      Oh man, I’m sorry to hear that rubin. Those guys sound like real a-holes. I think you did the right thing by leaving that checkout counter.

      As much as we like to believe ignorance can be cured, sometimes it’s a terminal illness.

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 9:19 AM
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    Right on Mr. Tako. One thing to look at is if you are triggered by a negative comment. In my formative years, the dumb blonde jokes were very hard on a developing young lady, who was bright and in time got two masters degrees……….at some level I did not feel good enough and the mean words hurt. I think as we develop self esteem and a strong resolve about our choices for ourselves and our families, things roll off easier. Also, my little girl thinks her mom is the bomb, and who am I to disagree : )

    Reply
    • January 16, 2019 at 9:48 PM
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      Thanks Tigermom! 🙂 I’ve definitely gotten a tougher as I’ve aged. I no longer care about what most people think, but it wasn’t always that way.

      When I was growing up, the criticism cut pretty deep. Thankfully those days are long past.

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 10:32 AM
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    Sorry to hear you are going through negative shit. Something about the last several months has been incredibly difficult for so many people I’ve known. Hang in there my friend, the tide will turn.

    I feel your pain that leaks through the gaps of an otherwise optimistic post. I’ve had a shit show of a year myself but sometimes a Phoenix rises out of the ashes (sometimes not but that’s another story).

    -Mike

    Reply
    • January 16, 2019 at 9:51 PM
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      Oh, things are much better now Mike. I’d say that most commenters are actually really nice people. It’s that 1 in 5o who’s a real jerk. Sometimes I just delete the comments, but I still read each and every one.

      Here’s to better luck in 2019!

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 10:34 AM
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    I see this all the time. People (consciously or subconsciously) will often want to “bring you down” to their level. They do it in all sorts of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. It goes back to the saying that you become like the five people you spend the most time with. I truly believe that and it’s good advice to pay attention to the people in your world, understanding that some of them are not going to “level up” at the same pace you are.

    Reply
    • January 16, 2019 at 9:52 PM
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      Oh, so true Jon! Ignorance isn’t always a curable disease. 😉

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 12:30 PM
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    Hmmm… someone would prefer eating at restaurants all the time? I am genuinely curious: is it even possible to eat at restaurants for 20 years and not die early? Don’t get me wrong, I do love restaurant food very much and I visit them occasionally, but even though their food tastes really great to me, for me it’s an equivalent of eating massive amounts of cake every day (which I love too, but I don’t do it for obvious reasons).

    Reply
    • January 16, 2019 at 9:54 PM
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      Great question Michael… I have no idea! Restaurant food is pretty rich, but I still know plenty of people that eat most of their meals out. Our neighbor is one of them. He’s roughly my age.

      I’ll let you know if he keels over and dies! 😉

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 1:08 PM
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    Mr. Tako you are doing a fantastic job and I enjoy reading all of it. Keep up the great work. Your recipes are wonderful.

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    • January 16, 2019 at 9:55 PM
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      Oh, thanks Linda! It’s great to hear positive stuff from you! 🙂

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 2:24 PM
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    I’ve always tried to lean into criticism and honestly ask myself if what they are saying isn’t at least in some small way accurate? If I can embrace what they say and still whole heartedly feel like I’m not doing it wrong then great. But often, even if they are not trying to do me a favor, they actually do me a favor by exposing some inconsistency in my life that I just did not see. I have found that just because they have bad motives like jealousy or guilt it doesn’t mean they are wrong, or at least totallly wrong. Especially if I hear the same thing more than once from different sources about me. Anyway, that was a very thought provoking post, my wife and I love to cook together and in fact it is very hard for a restaurant to impress me now!

    Reply
    • January 16, 2019 at 9:59 PM
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      Great analysis Stevearch! Sometimes I think you’re right. There can be a harsh truth in certain negativity comments. But a lot of times the comments are just out there and completely off base. Those are the worst kind of haters, but at least it’s easy to defend against them.

      Reply
      • January 17, 2019 at 5:59 AM
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        That’s very true, I’ve generally been able to spot those people because when they are motivated by hate or jealousy it generally shows through. I’ve been a runner for a long time and run in a group. Years back there was one guy in the group that was always unhappy and sarcastic. We had a billionaire and several other multimillionaires in the group back then and this guy always sniped at those who were wealthy and there was never even a shred of truth in his comments. We felt sorry for him but it got very tiresome everytime he tried to attack them for being successful. He eventually quit the group. I still feel sorry for him. He has a great wife and wonderful kids but he sees life as less than and is so jealous of anyone who is happy.

        Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 3:53 PM
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    I sometimes get “your parents must be rich”, which I understand because I own property in an expensive city along with rental property in this same expensive city. Doesn’t bother me much, because it is somewhat natural to think that now that property prices have increased so much and I did have a strong middle class upbringing.

    With $3M, I can’t imagine you need to be too frugal even in an expensive city. I guess it is all relative in regards to people’s opinions.

    Reply
    • January 16, 2019 at 10:04 PM
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      Yeah, I guess it’s all relative. I easily spend more than most FI bloggers, but I can guarantee you that it’s not because I’m a spendy-pants. I try a lot harder than most at controlling expenses.

      If there was a frugal olympics, I’d definitely be a contender for a medal. 😉

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 7:04 PM
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    I absolutely love this post Mr Tako!

    I actually have a post of mine scheduled I think in 3 wks that I hope you drop by and read because I address some of the hate I have recently received.

    I do need to develop some thick skin because being online puts you front and center with the masses and there will always be a few that Voice their displeasure.

    You have engineered a great system to turn it around on them. I bet they are infuriated when they read your replies. Lol. Kill them with kindness works

    Reply
    • January 16, 2019 at 10:06 PM
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      Thanks Xrayvsn! This post was a lot of fun to write. I’ll definitely check out your post in a couple of weeks!

      Reply
  • January 16, 2019 at 8:31 PM
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    Hello Mr Tako,
    Long time reader, first time commenter. It is very sad that emotionally maladjusted people feel the need to attack you and your lifestyle choices, unprovoked. I for one have always felt a deep resonance with and respect for your philosophies as I read through your blog (from the beginning to now) and find it inspiring and touching how you are both deeply devoted to your wife and children and to your own values and pursuit of a sustainable and satisfying way of life. Maybe it helps that we have similar roots, but to me it’s readily apparent that your ways and methods come from a place of strength, love, optimism, and discipline that those commenters seem to lack. As they say, haters gonna hate; please just continue doing you and telling us about it. 😉
    Ganbatte!

    PS my sister is also a fan of your blog

    Reply
    • January 16, 2019 at 10:07 PM
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      Thanks Yoshi! Not everybody gets it, and apparently they feel the need to lash out and criticize.

      Oh well, I’ll keep-on keeping on! 🙂

      Reply
  • January 17, 2019 at 10:32 AM
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    Mr.Tako! Keep doing what you’re doing. You have to remember that you are doing what you love. What you love doing will not be what other people love doing.

    As for the dumpster fire, I definitely do get your metaphor. I have the same thought process and I let the haters fuel my motivation. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am at. I want to even go further.

    Reply
  • January 18, 2019 at 2:49 PM
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    Great post Mr Tako. I enjoy your blog because you have such original thoughts. Some people just don’t get it, but those that get it really appreciate it. Best wishes and keep turning that doodoo into sunshine.

    Reply
  • January 21, 2019 at 8:29 AM
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    We don’t have to have everyone agree with us. A person who’s opinion I value always tells me to stop evangelising about frugality. Many people never want to ‘deprive’ themselves and our different way of living is an affront to their chosen way of living. It is exactly the same as being vegan or vegetarian in front of a meat eater. They feel the need to question or criticise your choices as a way of defending their own position. Your difference represents a challenge to their view of the world and themselves. Ironically it is these foot soldiers of consumption that fuel our stock portfolios. Much as we FIRE believers think frugality is good for the environment and the world’s future, if everybody stopped consuming we would see an economic recession much like the Great Depression. Fear of the future increased saving and slashed spending resulting in decreased consumption, leading to job losses, fear of the future and decreased spending on and on until the government started spending up large in the mid 1930s. If we want our dividends to keep flowing, someone needs to buy the goods and services our companies produce. So let these spending soldiers live their lives the way they want. Of course we may not need so many of them but if we look at Japan a highly conservative risk averse society with a shrinking population they have had a stagnant economy for decades. I wonder whether Japanese investors can make dividend income from Japanese stocks. I am genuinely interested as lots of countries face the same demographic cliff which has affected Japan.

    Reply
    • May 2, 2019 at 12:19 PM
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      “Much as we FIRE believers think frugality is good for the environment and the world’s future, if everybody stopped consuming we would see an economic recession much like the Great Depression.”

      It is true that if people stopped spending completely the economy would be in trouble. But I think if people stopped spending on things that didn’t matter so much (excessive consumption), the dollars and time that went into producing the excess would be redirected into more important things, things that were actually in line with basic, positive values. We’d probably have more and better science, better education, better books, simpler lives, and more beautiful spaces.

      Reply
  • January 22, 2019 at 4:34 PM
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    “Turn that negative shittiness into sunshine my friends!”

    Love it! The most successful people I know are the ones who can turn negatives into positives. Way to go, Mr. Tako!

    Reply
  • January 27, 2019 at 7:39 AM
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    Oh My – love, love, love the pictorial equation! I have written about Debbie Downer and Ned the Nosy Neighbor and not getting sucked into their negativity. We think alike!

    Reply

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