Interestingly, there’s one characteristic at the heart of success in almost any field ranging from Hip-Hop/Rap to Entrepreneurship to living a fulfilling life (according to certain philosophies). The one simple yet extremely powerful trait is “letting haters hate”. In a more serious sense, it’s all about not letting critics and outside influences control what you do and being true to yourself. Don’t get bogged down by “the norm” or people spewing criticisms of your unconventional ways (if anything that’s normally a good sign).
On the most simple level, hip hop embodies the “I’ll just do me” personality i.e. I’ll be who am regardless of what other people say. A hilarious yet relevant review of Kanye West’s Theraflu talks about how his “swag” just keeps rising like a missile, because he doesn’t let the public attacks on his personality and career stop him. Yes he does go over the top some times (sorry Tswift), but his career has been characterized by his constant pushing past the boundaries of traditional/accepted hip hop. Instead of summarizing the amazing argument as to why Kanye is one of the most influential artists of our time, you can read the reddit post here. (Tl;DR Kanye began/contributed to almost every trend in hip hop over the past 7 years). One of the biggest factors behind his success is that he was able to continue doing what he felt was right regardless of what other people said. That is why he was such a revolutionary hip hop artist.
On a basic level, a very similar idea is at the center of Sartrian Existentialism. Among the many ideas presented in Jean-Paul Sartre/Simone De Beauvoir’s writings, the most important is that we create the meaning behind our lives. They argue that there is no inherent purpose in life and that instead, we each create our own purpose. As a result, we each create our own value systems by which we evaluate our lives and actions. On a basic level, the belief is put forth that we should not let other people and societal influences determine how we value things and how we live our lives. A truly fulfilling life is one that doesn’t let “haters” tell you how to live. Similarly to the example of Kanye, it is about acting on what you believe and even in the face of criticism continuing to be true to yourself.
Lastly, there are several examples of how dismissing “haters” is the key to becoming a successful entrepreneur. I mentioned once aspect in my post, Nietzsche for Entrepreneurs. (Summary: Don’t let negativity slow you down, just roll with the punches). But, there is an even more important lesson. The people who think differently and unconventionally are the ones that truly change the world. Because Steve Jobs has become worshiped so intensely, this idea has become more popular (so I won’t spend too much time talking about it). But famous Stanford philosophy alumni Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman constantly harp on how important it is to be a contrarian if you want to be successful (for sources see either Class notes from Thiel’s startup class or Reid Hoffman’s book). One of the most important traits of a successful contrarian, is the ability to put aside people’s criticisms and judgement and continue working on whatever you feel is right. Thus, brushing of haters is key to building the confidence to remain true to your ideas and self.
It’s not that you don’t have the ability to become amazing, the problem is that from time to time we always let others discourage us from being as awesome as we can be.