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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Criticism...Embrace it.

I'm on to another post based on a quote that I read and found thought-provoking. Here is today's quote: “To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” ~Elbert Hubbard

None of us likes being criticized. We want people to like us or, at least, to respect us. We often identify our ideas and our work with our self-worth. Therefore, when they are being criticized, it can sometimes make us feel like we're being personally attacked.

What do so many of us do when we're being attacked? We either seek to deflect the attacks or we fight back. Mr. Hubbard's quote seems to be focusing more on the "avoidance" or deflection reaction to criticism.

Criticism, even if it isn't positive, can still be such a positive event for us because it can be a catalyst of change or at least a catalyst of evaluation and circumspection. How can we ever improve if we get no feedback -- positive or otherwise -- about how we're doing? Plus, as Nietzsche said, "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger". Criticism, and the growth that can come from it, certainly can make us stronger.

I would much rather be known for looking at my criticisms mostly objectively (even if I do take some of them a little personally) and growing from them, than someone who is so afraid of what others might think that I am either paralyzed into total nothingness, being just a lump of a person, or that I become Yes Man, constantly working to agree with everyone. The result is the same: a lost identity. No, thanks.

What do you think about criticism, even when it is negative? Can it still be useful if it's not as nice as we'd like?

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