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"Publish, and be damned!" What the first Duke of Wellington can teach you about handling unwelcome printed comments and criticism.

Jul 25th 2010 at 1:01 PM

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant


Have you been the recipient of unwelcome or even
scurrilous printed comment and criticism? Face it. It’s a very
irritating thing. You’re human. It hurts. Visions of legal
recourse, even mafia-style revenge, dance in  your head.
You have been damaged. They’ll be hell to pay.


Before rushing ahead, pause and consider the case of
Harriet Wilson and the celebrated Duke of Wellington,
victor of Waterloo.

Harriet Wilson (1786-1845) was a Regency courtesan. She was
beautiful and knew how to use her charms to maximum advantage.
The Prince Regent (later King George IV) headed an A-list
of beguiled English gentlemen, including four future prime
ministers. The Duke of Wellington appeared prominently
on this  list.

Alas! Even the most dazzling get old… and charms which
were over powering diminish.So it happened with Harriet
Wilson. Harriet, however,  understood that "kiss and tell" had
its advantages. So, enterprising woman that she was, she
hired a ghost writer and began to spin tales of the gentlemen
she had known, such tales to be included in memoirs which
remain in print to this day.

As the chapters were finished, Harriet, ever resourceful,
sent them not just to her publisher but to the gentlemen featured therein.
Included, almost as an afterthought, was a number in pounds sterling. In
other words, Harriet’s price for NOT publishing and embarrassing
the gentleman and his (sure-to-be-shocked) family.

When the Iron Duke received his chapter and "request", he,
a man of sterner disposition than most, penned a line which
put Harriet in her place: "Publish, and be damned!" She did…
and no doubt she was!

How you should handle unwelcome comments and criticism

1) "Never complain, never explain."

The human animal is often an unthinking animal. People have
always said the unwise, made hurtful comments without proof,
thought the worst and published it. Nothing new under the sun
here. Then enter e-mail and the Internet. Now the nasty, the
haters, the merely gossipy and garrulous have the means to
run amuck.

Should you find yourself the object of hurtful comments and
criticism, on line or off, count to 10 and cool off. The worst
time to do anything is when you’re hurt and angry. Here Henry
Ford II can help with his famous comment listed above.
Edward VII’s famous lines can also sooth, lines he prominently
posted in a mistress’ boudoir: "They say. What  say they. Let
them say."

2) Have you really been damaged, or just your pride hurt?

The truth is, while people generally are quite prepared to
believe the worst about any one (Mother Theresa herself was
not immune), their interest in you and whatever they’ve read
that you’ve done is brief and generally unimportant. They have,
after all, bigger fish to fry: the details of their own enthralling
lives. Beyond this, so much negative information pours forth
daily, that even the most assiduous just plain haven’t got the
time to mull over the nastiness to which you’ve been subjected.

Thus, ask yourself: has the comment, no matter how negative,
actually damaged you, or has it just hurt your pride? Have you
been the victim of unsubstantiated comments and criticism (which
mean little or nothing), or are the allegations so stated and
presented to damage you?

On the Internet, for instance, negative comments are common
place. That’s bad. The good news, however, for those criticized
is that such comments are usually anonymous and unproven, hence

Such being the case, NO response is appropriate. Let the comment
or criticism die a natural death without increasing the number of
people knowing about it by responding with even a single word.
This is hard advice to follow since it leaves the false accuser
unscathed…. but it is nonetheless what you should do: absolutely

3) You have been materially damaged

Ok, so more than your ego has been damaged. You feel you need
to take action.

By all means schedule an appointment with your lawyer. What
he’ll want to know specifically is how you’ve been damaged, what
the dollar amount of this damage may be, and whether the
defendant has resources.

The lawyer (and be quite clear that  your lawyer is right
for the job) will be hard-headed and direct, focusing the
discussion not just on chances of winning… but the financial situation
of the attacker. Plain and simple: can he pay for the harm

The truth is, many of those posting nasty-grams online
are judgement proof. In plain language they are dirt poor
and thereby immune from action. Professional haters and
dirt dishers, they know this, and it provides one of the few sources
of happiness in their shabby lives.

If the lawyer comes to the conclusion that  you are better
off to grin and bear it, no matter how hurtful the comments,
accept this advice. It’s to your benefit.

4) Console yourself by considering the company you
now keep

EVERY great figure of history has been subject to  hurtful
comment and nasty criticism: Jesus, Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King,
Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln… they have all been
hammered by the haters, the mental defectives, the small,
the insignificant, the merely crude and vulgar. Now you are
amongst their exalted number. You are among the saints
who will go marching in!

Remember this: whatever hurtful people may say or publish about
you today, you can disprove merely by continuing to be the good
person you are. "This, too, shall  pass."  The Duke of Wellington’s
reputation, for one, was not tainted by Harriet Wilson’s attempt
to black mail… but that attempt has permanently tainted Ms.
Wilson and made it clear to all the world what kind of person
she was.

Now adhere to the old Irish saying, "Living well is the best revenge"
and enjoy yourself while your attackers writhe because you have
seen the value of ignoring them completely and enjoying yourself
instead! Viva!

About The Author

Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of
Worldprofit, Inc., where
small and home-based businesses learn how to
profit online. Attend Dr. Lant’s live webcast
TODAY and receive 50,000 free guaranteed
visitors to the website of your choice! For details
on Dr. Lant’s 18 best-selling business books,
go to


Torgrim Rusten

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