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The phrase “it comes with the territory” is one my dad said to me when I was a kid. I can’t remember the context in which I heard it for the first time, but I internalized it to mean that whenever you are trying to do something interesting or amazing, there will always be people who try to tear you down, lob random insults at you, or just do and say things that make no sense to you. I’ve also observed many times (and experienced) the steep curve from obscurity to hero to goat to re-emergent hero that the media loves to play out over and over again. And my day is filled with random interactions – many of them interesting and stimulating – but plenty of them hostile, negative, and troll-like.
I’ve had a weird surge of being on the receiving end of hostile stuff from random people I don’t know the past few weeks. I pondered this a little bit last night on my drive back from Boulder to Keystone after a long, wonderful conversation with an entrepreneur I haven’t talked to in a while. This morning, after trying to have a rational email conversation (again – who I didn’t know) with someone who was just incredibly hostile to me because I didn’t agree with his perspective on “the value of an idea” Amy asked “Why do you bother?” I responded “It comes with the territory.”
I’m fortunate that I get to choose who I work with and am surrounded by awesome people. I’ve also decided philosophically to try to be responsive to any entrepreneur who is looking for help or feedback. I can’t spend “30 minutes on the phone” or “have coffee” with everyone, but I can respond by email to quick specific questions or requests, and I try to respond to all of them. When things go off the rails, which they do occasionally, I’ve decided the only approach is to completely disengage.
I find the noise, anger, hostility, and misinformation spiking up again. I speculate that is has something to do with the election cycle, the general warmth outside, or some new sunspot thing. Regardless, as my dad said when I was young, “it comes with the territory.”