Please Criticize Me – Hearing criticism is a desirable thing

 

“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” Aristotle

Let’s face it, it’s hard to receive criticism.

But it’s helpful to see that criticism is actually good – as long as you listen to it.

Why?

It’s a sign you’re doing things. If you never receive criticism, it’s more than likely you have been playing things down the middle, refusing to take a stance or voice an opinion. That may be safe, but it’s not a very compelling nor commanding position.

Criticism opens us up to seeing our blind spots. In our day to day, we don’t tend to get much feedback. Thus, we go about seeing the world and our actions through our own eyes exclusively. Receiving criticism provides us with different perspectives which helps us see the world and ourselves more holistically.

It helps us improve. It’s important to recognize that, no matter how good we think we are, nobody is perfect – and everything, and everyone, can be improved. When someone provides you with criticism, make sure you understand the feedback. And then consider if, and more importantly, how you plan your self-improvement.

It keeps us humble. There’s one other side-benefit to getting criticism – we are forced to show some humility. We’re not perfect, and we’re not always right. Criticism teaches us not to be driven only by those goals. 

Finally, keep in mind that criticism comes from the greek word kritikos, which means to judge or discern for the sake of improvement. So, in the words of Dr. Hendrie Weisinger, Ph.D, Psychologist, “criticism is information that will help you grow”.

So, don’t fear criticism – accept it. And encourage those around you to keep on providing it. You’ll be better for it.

11 Comments

  1. Love it. One other thing might be that it is good to have a handful of folks you can count on to offer the type of criticism you outline here. Those that have the consideration and compassion to provide insight rather than punishment. Good stuff.

    1. You are correct, Chuck. The best type of criticism comes from people who share mutual respect, have no hidden agendas, and truly care about the people and the product. Having a group you trust for helpful criticism and insight is a smart thing to do.

  2. Great Post Michael…a variation on #3 is that I actually find criticism motivational. As much as we all try to put our ego aside, in reality, you can’t completely –so use the criticism as a motivator.

  3. Thanks for the slap upside the head. Criticism is a good thing – even if it is not necessarily positive feedback. It’s easy to internalize and respond emotionally. Trick is to turn off the emotions and get to the business at hand. Figure out the next step to move forward. And stay moving forward.

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