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Get Comfortable Being Hated

Dr Marcus Bright Headshot 213591 637e62cb81db6

I recently went on a cruise to some destinations in the Caribbean and as is customary I entered my credit card information for additional expenses that may be incurred on the voyage. There were packages on the cruise that I knowingly purchased and anticipated being charged for. Halfway through the cruise, I glanced at the “account” section of the cruise line’s app and noticed that there was an amount that I wasn’t expecting that was being charged every day that was called “onboard gratuities”.

I’m all for tipping but thought that this particular cost was already included. I didn’t read the fine print but when I agreed to go on the cruise, I also authorized and accepted these “onboard gratuities”. Dr. Marcus BrightDr. Marcus Bright

When I thought about this scenario, I saw it as an analogy of the kind of additional costs of various kinds that people will incur on the journey to the destination of their goals. One of the major “onboard gratuities” for that people throughout history who have accomplished great things and made a significant social impact is hatred. 

You are going to receive criticism and hate. You will have haters. If you want to be great, prepare to be hated. There are people who may be cheering for you to fail because they feel like if you fail then that will make them feel better about their life. 

The abolitionist writer and speaker Frederick Douglass lived under the constant threat of assassination by white supremacists and attacks from fellow abolitionists that were based in merit, jealousy, hatred, or some combination of them all. The same was true for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, and others. They were all able to operate at an extremely high level in an environment of intense hatred. 

The greatest sports teams are also among the most hated teams. In football, if you’re worried getting hit, you’re going to drop the ball. You’re going to get hit regardless so you might as well score. When you get in the end zone after scoring the touchdown, it won’t matter who hit you, who tried to tackle you, or who tried to bring you down.

I’m not saying to be completely oblivious to haters and their moves against you, but we must be sure to not put more focus on the tackler than the touchdown. We can’t put more focus on the obstacle then we do the objective. It is one thing to be aware of something; it is another thing to focus on it. You can’t afford to give your focus to your haters because where your focus goes, your energy flows. Your potential and your purpose are bigger than any hate that may come against you. 

The lesson for students, faculty, staff, and anyone else who aspires to achieve greatness in their chosen pursuit or mission is that you will not be great if you can’t handle hate. Get comfortable being hated because haters and hate are “onboard gratuities” that we accept and authorize when we board the ship to the destination of greatness.


Dr. Marcus Bright is a scholar and social impact facilitator.

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