The Value of Criticism

As I was sitting down writing this morning, I thought about how I would try to avoid criticism throughout my life.  Due to this avoidance of criticism, I never really learned from others and their perspectives.  There are a couple of things that I now understand about criticism.

One thing is that we always need to listen to people when they are criticizing us.  It may or may not just be their opinion, but it is a vital part of our growth in life.  Listening to someone tell us we are doing something wrong or right could mean we change for the better.  On that note, we also need to think about who we are listening to and make decisions based on that fact.

When someone criticizes me, I have to evaluate the person as well as the criticism.  First, are these people who have my best interest at heart or are they trying to nitpick at everything I do or are they trying to stop my success.  The person giving me the criticism usually determines if I take it seriously and change whatever is criticized.  Even though I may listen to and evaluate what they say, people who are trying to discourage me or have no interest in my success are less likely to have valuable insight into my life and, ultimately, my success.

Second, really listen to what is said.  Is what the person is saying something that you want to change?  Is it something you struggle with and see how the change would add value?  Asking these questions can help you determine if you want to change or ignore the advice.  Be careful though, sometimes our emotions can cloud our judgment.  Even though you may need to change something, maybe it hurts that someone else says you need to change.  Here is where the next two steps come in.

Third, ask others for their advice.  Go to people who you really trust and know they will tell you the truth.  Ask them if they see this need for change.  If most or all the people say yes, then maybe you need to really start looking closely at how you can make the change.

Fourth, the most important thing you can do is have thick skin.  You may have hurt feelings at first and feel embarrassed at the criticism, but think about how much value it could add to your life.  Criticism is not there to hurt us but to make us stronger and more successful.  If we don’t listen to criticism, we might not develop the skills we need to create our dream life.

Believe me, I have struggled with accepting criticism most my life.  Even now, I have to check myself sometimes when I feel offended at a critical comment.  Due to criticisms in the past, I have developed a lot of skills I needed to become successful in a multitude of jobs.

Your Challenge for this week:

Either closely examine criticism that you wanted to dismiss in the past, seriously evaluate it, and make necessary changes, or ask a friend for criticism that would help you grow in whatever part of your life that needs the most work.  Now, when they give you criticism, don’t get offended or make them feel bad for criticizing you.  Remember, this is all about learning and growing.

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”

Norman Vincent Peale
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