Naysayers are low-achievers who love the comfort of their status quo. Some have been burnt in their ambitions and therefore hold a traumatic view of all new attempts. Another category of naysayers are high-achievers who begrudge you your success, either out of envy, or out of pure prankster mentality.
The unifying trait in all naysayers is this: whenever you talk about doing something, the naysayers will discourage you. They will point out various reasons for why it can’t be done, and sometimes offer no reasons and simply say it can’t be done. When they don’t say anything, they smile sardonically, or offer you a sarcastic “humph”.
The naysayers are especially harmful when they appear to be an authority of some kind: a friend of mine tried to make his Chinese girlfriend happy by saying something in Chinese to her. This friend had spent a few weeks in China and had considerable difficulty pronouncing. But the girl was in a foul mood for some reason and curtly admonished him: “You will never learn to speak proper Chinese!” (Not all Chinese girls are like her.) Since she was a perceived authority on Chinese language, my naive friend got discouraged and avoided learning Chinese for several years before it dawned on him that the girl was wrong.
Naysayers can also be identified when they display traits that are not directly affecting you. For instance, individuals who are always worried are mild naysayers whose worries might spill into your psyche and therefore affect you negatively. These people have insecurities that stem from personal incompetence, and therefore their worries are subjective. The problem occurs when they want to portray their worries and concerns as objective, in order to rationalize their incompetence away to some externality.
Interestingly, those who don’t cooperate with us are also a variant of naysayers. These people have achieved due to randomness are aware of the random nature of their success, but because the thought of their success being attributed to randomness is uncomfortable and unsettling, they choose to attribute their success to their own efforts. It is also possible that acknowledging the source of their success as randomness may even cause their downfall. Therefore when you offer collaboration on a new project, their insecurities kick in and thus cause them to refrain from cooperating, which is also a form of indirect naysaying.
Control freaks (who could also be psychopaths perhaps) naysay for the fun of it. The gatekeeper is one type of a control freak who probably enjoys saying no just because he can, or discourage change or innovation because it might affect his status quo and control structure. These people refuse requests, create delays, obstruct justice, and commit many other acts that are a form of naysaying.
You see such people not in positions of power, which psychopaths seek for the pure pleasure of exerting power, but in gateway positions that have something to do with “restricting access”. From a psychological point of view, these people have either been denied and restricted in childhood–which they now re-play as the manifestation of an error in their psyches, or they are lazy (physically, intellectually and morally) due to psychopath-like Amygdala problems and therefore enjoy restricting and saying no.
Strategic naysayers are no less harmful or mentally deranged. These are the people who discourage you, say no to you, restrict your access, disagree with you, and demoralize you. Their naysaying is prompted mostly by greed, but sometimes also from personal malice (they simply don’t like you). They will usually appear kind, smiling and ingratiating, even gregarious sometimes, but underneath the facade they are plotting to undermine you. You can discover them when you notice inconsistencies in their behaviour such as their being nice, but refusing you something you could have easily had at no cost or effort to them.
It was my intention to write this in order to enable those who have a world of possibilities ahead of them to avoid the bite of the naysayer. The first step in that direction is identifying them, so that we could deal with them more effectively and decisively.