“The Heckler” by Seth Godin

I’ve enjoyed Seth Godin’s blog and books for years now. I had a chance to meet him in Los Angeles, and I gave him a copy of Not Like Me and made sure he knew the introduction included a section on the BWG (bald white guy). I’ve wondered if Seth is bald for the same reason Professor Xavier went bald – the power of his telekinetic brain. I know that isn’t the reason I went bald. For me, it was too much testosterone. 🙂

Enjoy a recent post by Seth called: “The Heckler”

“How dare you.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Is this the best you can do?


I’ve written about the quieting the lizard brain and my friend Steve talks about the voice of the resistance.

It occurs to me, though, that most of us have to hassle with the heckler.

The heckler keeps a running critique going, amplifying its tone and anger as it goes on endlessly about all the things we shouldn’t do, all the things we’re not doing enough, and most of all, at our lack of entitlement to do much of anything new or important.

The heckler cannot be eliminated. It’s been around since the beginning of our species, and we’re hard wired to have it.

What can be done, though, is alter how the rest of the brain reacts or responds to the heckling.

If you engage with the heckler, if you qualify yourself, justify yourself or worst of all, rationalize yourself, the heckler will pounce, turning a small wedge into a giant hole. Like a standup comedian, it’s almost impossible to outwit or shut down a dedicated heckler.

But there is a strategy that works. Acknowledge and move on.

When the heckler announces that you’re incompetent, unqualified or hardly ready to step forward, think, “oh.” And then proceed.

You give it no purchase. No opportunity to escalate. Each jibe is met with ‘noted.’

Over time, the heckler gets quieter, because it just isn’t worth the effort.”

How do you handle the heckler in your organization? Are there other ways to respond to the heckler?

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