Universally Loved vs. Loved and Hated to a Greater Degree


Chris Yeh asks a very interesting question:

Sports Illustrated recently conducted a survey of 190 NBA players (the NBA has a total of 450 players) in which they were asked which current player they'd most want as a teammate, and which player they'd least want as a teammate.

The Lakers' Kobe Bryant tied for third in the race for least desirable teammate, behind Stephon Marbury (22%) and Ron Artest (9%), and tied with Stephen Jackson and Gilbert Arenas at 5%.

Kobe Bryant came in second in the race for most desirable teammate (13% selected him) behind only LeBron James (32%) and ahead of famously unselfish point guards Steve Nash (8%) and Chris Paul (7%) and super-teammate Kevin Garnett (7%).

He is the only player near the top of both lists.

Would you rather be universally loved, like Steve Nash? Or loved and hated to a greater degree, like Kobe Bryant?

If I were honest, probably universally loved. (Most people downplay how much being liked by others matters to them.)

9 comments on “Universally Loved vs. Loved and Hated to a Greater Degree
  • Hey Ben, awesome question… my emotions tell me I’d much rather be loved all around like Nash and CP3– I love these guys so does everyone. I feel like most people generally love me.

    However, the most successful people out their have plenty of haters! Kobe’s the man and everyone hates him for it. To be GREAT you’ve got to be controversial. You’ve got to be an outlier, you can’t please everyone… think of all the GREAT authors who people think are full of it… Seth Godin, Kiyosaki, Tim Ferriss, these guys all have crazy views on things, are loved by a lot of people, but lots of people think their views are too nuts.

    Hopefully one day people will hate me for being all about something that they don’t necessarily believe in.

    Be yourself and continually stand for something!

  • A question: Would you rather realize your full potential or be universally liked? Because I think our ego and desire for approval and love gets in the way of us doing that.

  • I’ll go with universally loved. Realizing your full potential really doesn’t mean that much if you don’t have any good relationships with people. History is full of brilliant, successful people who were miserable.

  • Sometimes, you’ve got to be an asshole.

    That’s one of the hardest lessons I learned about management.

    I’m naturally a nice and accommodating person.

    I’m so malleable that when I was younger, the way I spoke and even my accent would vary based on who I was with.

    But in management, the one thing people seek above all others is clarity. And includes being clear when something was unacceptable.

  • I think that Jackie’s question is interesting and Ben’s answer surprised me, so I’ve been thinking about it throughout the morning.

    option A = universally but tepidly liked
    option B = loved and hated

    Pragmatically, you can’t really choose between the two, as that’s not really the choice in life: you’ve got to do what you think is right (i.e., be yourself, whatever that is) and you would hope that you would be universally liked (or option B). I suppose if your desire to be liked in a certain way is great enough, it might trump doing what you think is right. But I’m not sure that’s what Ben meant – I believe he’s asking if you would prefer response 1 or 2, presumably, after you’ve been yourself.

    I would prefer being universally liked, as I wouldn’t feel comfortable with either extreme of being loved or hated. I’m grateful for the choice though — in this hypothetical world at least I’m not universally disliked!

    I’m sure that avoidance of being disliked has trumped doing what I think is right a few times.. and I guess that is my measure of the importance of fitting in. In these cases, I question what I think is right as a matter of humility.

  • Let’s say you want to do option A,(which in your view will allow you to reach your full potential), but in doing so you’re certain to anger people who would prefer you choose option B. If you decide that being liked is more important than reaching your full potential, then you’re likely to choose option B.

    The problem is that the only way that that choice will allow you to increase the number of people who like you is if the number of people who dislike option B (or would prefer option A) is not greater than the number of people who like option B.

    In other words, although by choosing option A (which would have allowed you to reach full potential), you would have reduced the number of people who like you, there’s a likelihood that choosing option B might lead to the same result.

    You can’t please everyone, and therefore you might as well act in a way that you honestly believe is best, even if those who disagree will choose to fault you for your decision.

  • I would venture to say universally loved. But then I think that if I’m not making someone mad in some part of the world, I’m not doing my best. Because doing your best and succeeding to the fullest means making people say “huh?” along the way and taking some risks that others don’t like.

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