The Growth from Accepting and/or Ignoring Criticism

I am a total sucker for quotes.  I feel short quotes are often like great song lyrics in the way that they tell the consumer a story made for their interpretation in a way that is needed at the moment.  This article providing quotes on criticism has some thought-provoking ideas from different viewpoints.

For example, we sometimes need to ignore criticism in the way that it can hold us back:

“Don’t waste your energy trying to change opinions…Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.” — Tina Fey

The dread of criticism is the death of genius.” — William Gilmore Simms

But on the other end, criticism is beneficial and necessary:

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

“The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” — Norman Vincent Peale

My favorite quote on “criticism” as of late, is from Brene Brown in her recent Netflix special.  I was half asleep when I heard it but when she said it, I became wide awake:

If you are not in the arena getting your ass kicked because you are being brave, I am not interested or open to your feedback on my work. Period.

I have been thinking a lot about the idea of criticism in how I receive it and how I give it. I am a big believer that challenge is necessary for growth and development, but I also know how criticism is delivered and where it is delivered from matter tremendously.  We have all encountered those who seemingly criticize everything and have a problem with every solution. The intent might be from a positive place, but it doesn’t seem that way.  A relationship of only push with no support is bound to cease or fail.

I have been thinking of the own way I challenge those that are close to me.  I know my intent, but recently, I had a conversation with a close friend, and he challenged me on the way I challenge him specifically. My purpose was positive, but my delivery was weak as I did not show the tremendous value and influence this person had on me not only personally but professionally. I have often made the distinction between “being valued” and “feeling valued”; I was abundant on the first but lacked in the latter in the view of my friend, which was justified.

Criticism is necessary for growth, but it is essential to remind ourselves of our intent and to identify if they are coming from a place where we are dealing with our insecurities.  You can’t help anyone grow by only trying to pull them down.

Source: George Couros