Don’t Fear Criticism; Ask for It

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“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” ~Aristotle

As long as you are breathing, you are going to be criticized in one way or another. Actually if you are not being criticized at all, you should be very worried. If even the dead are criticized, who are you?

A colleague once told me that “Criticism is the breakfast for Champions”. but Criticism can be very hard to appreciate sometimes. As human beings, we wouldn’t be happy if someone criticized us in any way. The go to response is that the critic has something against you. You would then shun them and regard them as your enemy or people who don’t want you to be happy or succeed.  Criticism is not easy to take in any form but it may save you way better than sugar coated applause and approval.

“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.”  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Imagine you have a bad body ordour or have a smelly mouth, imagine you have some food stuck in between your teeth at this important event. Would you love it if nobody told you or would you prefer if somebody mentioned it to you? I believe that somebody who tells me would be a better friend than one who didn’t. Part of criticism is telling you the hard core truth as hard as it is to swallow.

As an entrepreneur, I try out lots of new ideas and products but the success of those products doesn’t depend on only the applause, most often than not, it comes from people who initially don’t like the product or service. I would prefer somebody who gave it to me like it is however harsh than somebody who didn’t. Of course the mode of delivery matters in that it may determine whether criticism is taken in good faith or not

I like comparing life to the process of purifying silver or gold – It has to go through the FIRE. So when you are admiring its beauty on the shelves of jewelry stores try to think about what it went through to be that beautiful.

Even though we shouldn’t fear criticism, it also shouldn’t mean that we take what everyone says as good feedback. Some people criticize because they don’t understand something or because they feel threatened. They will be quick to mention a weak point in something rather than the good in anything. We also don’t need such people. That said, like I began this post, you will be criticized anyway and I wind up by saying.

  • Whatever you need to do go ahead and do it. Don’t fear what people say because they are going to talk anyway – For when you are criticized it means that you are doing something so keep going don’t stop
  • When people criticize you, its not always that they hate you – Feed on the criticism to grow
  • Never be silent when you can give positive feedback to a friend, they will thank you for it in time
  • When you are criticized, most times it will hurt but get what you can get out of it and move on.

I will leave you with something to ponder on from one of my favorite animations of all time – Ratatouille

In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talents, new creations. The new needs friends. “Anton Ego” in Ratatouille (2007)

Image: In-the-flow.com

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