The profound value of sticking your fingers in your ears

June 12, 2008, 10:18 PM UTC

I’m often asked about the secrets of building a successful business and what lessons I have learned about overcoming obstacles.

For me, the biggest lesson is the importance of not letting my critics stop me from following my dreams. The most freeing thing about getting older is realizing how little power the naysayers have over us — unless we give it to them.

A perfect example came when we first launched the Huffington Post. The Internet is supposed to be a young person’s game, and, as expected, the launch was greeted by a cacophony of ill wishers. Nikki Finke, writing in the LA Weekly, went so far as to declare us dead on arrival. Within hours of our birth, she called my blog “such a bomb that it’s the movie equivalent of Gigli, Ishtar, and Heaven’s Gate rolled into one.” Ouch. A simple “congrats” would have sufficed.

Interestingly, one year later, on our first anniversary, Nikki described the Huffington Post as “an asset to the Internet dialogue.” She’s since started her own show business blog and occasionally e-mails us her stories to link to on HuffPost, which we love to do.

In all endeavors, the important thing isn’t whether your venture is a smashing success or a middling failure. The important thing is that you’re doing it.

Arianna Huffington launched The Huffington Post in 2005. In addition to being the HuffPost’s editor-in-chief, she is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of 11 books.