Billionaire Michael Bloomberg's best advice about dealing with criticism

Michael Bloomberg appears on stage at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa., after the VP spoke on the third day of the Democratic National Convention, July 27, 2016.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

At 75, Michael Bloomberg has seen a lifetime of success: He's worth about $47 billion, according to Forbes, he was a 3-term mayor of New York City and he even considered running for president in 2016.

But, he hasn't been immune to failure or criticism. After building a career at investment firm Salomon Brothers, Bloomberg was fired at age 39. As mayor, he faced 12 years of public scrutiny.

So when it comes to dealing with critics, Bloomberg's advice is simple: "Just know that in the end, you're going to be fine and they're not," he says, speaking at a Vanity Fair event in 2014. At the time, he was giving his advice to CEO and founder Evan Spiegel as his company — then Snapchat, now Snap — gained notoriety. But anyone can use the lesson.

"Not everybody is going to like you, okay," explains Bloomberg. "Why give them the satisfaction of hurting you and making you miserable?"

Plus, failure can often lead to something better. It did for Bloomberg.

If he hadn't been fired, Bloomberg tells The New York Times, "I wouldn't have ... used my electrical engineering degree to begin my own information technology company and program a computer terminal for bond traders." That company, Bloomberg L.P., later made him a billionaire.

Of course, there are times to consider criticism too. During Bloomberg's years as mayor of New York City, he says there were instances when "I wanted to walk out and slam my fist into a lamp post after reading the papers. It was not because of what they said, it was because of what I did or I said that was stupid. It was my mistake that bothered me," he says.

Either way, this too shall pass.

"It is also true that nobody remembers," Bloomberg says. "They really don't. You say 'Oh my goodness people are going to hate me forever,' but I don't know how to break this to you, they don't know who you are."

Bloomberg says listening to haters isn't worth it: "You just can't let your mind go there."

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