Raise your hand if you have never been criticized. I bet no hand was raised. But raise your hand if you have been hurt many times by Criticisms. Well, we all know what happened to the hand now, it’s most likely in the air.
Criticism according to Oxford English Dictionary, is the careful judgments about the good and bad qualities of somebody/something. Especially books, music, etc.
It can also mean a statement expressing disapproval; while a critic is a person who expresses an unfavorable opinion of something.
For those of us who have zero or little tolerance for being judged and/or criticized, it’s safe to say that criticisms must drawn us back at one point in our lives. It isn’t because we are weak; it’s only natural for humans to react to bad judgments, sometimes, unconsciously.
Truly, no one fancies criticisms, no one loves to receive negative comments on what they do, especially if it’s something they enjoy doing. And no one wants to be told they are not doing something right.
But let me ask you this, how can you become better if you are comfortable. How can you improve if you are satisfied, how can you upgrade without those criticisms? I always tell myself, we all need critics in our lives, without them we may never know our lapses. Without them we may as well just remain stagnant.
Elbert Hubbard said. “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing and be nothing.”
According to Apostle Joshua Selman, criticism is merely an opinion that is expressed harshly. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true.
Criticisms can either demoralize you or motivate you, depending on how you handle them, depending on what kind of approach you make towards them. The mistakes many of us make is that, we tend to focus more on the critics and how it is being said instead of paying more attention to the contents of the criticism, to the message, and the information being passed across. Once we can focus more on that, it becomes easier to handle.
Let me share with you my little experience when I was 6 years old. It happened on the last day of primary 3, second term. My brother and I had just returned home from school with our report cards in our hands, as we both attended the same primary school, though he was two years ahead of me in class.
On getting home, everyone in the family; cousins, nephews, grandmas, grandpas were eager to check our report cards. And as always, my brother came first, overall in his class, while I came 6th. I could see the joy clearly written on everyone’s face while checking my brother’s report card, they were so proud of him. But as soon as they collected mine, there was this funny expression each of them gave, and they’d return my card to me and turn around almost immediately, no word said. It was as though I was invincible. Like I wasn’t even there.
At a point, I had to move to them myself and announce my presence, “Hey check my report card”. To me, coming 6th wasn’t that bad, but it turned out I was totally wrong, according to them.
At last, one of them finally said to me, “You have never come first, it’s always been sixth, fourth or fifth, why can’t you just come first and be like your brother for once?”
As young as I was then, I felt deeply hurt and forsaken. I mean, I was only six, all I needed was a little support and encouragement, but I got exactly the opposite.
I quietly kept my report card to myself, more like hiding it, and gently walked inside, not that anyone noticed anyway, they weren’t interested in me or my report card. Though, I was really sad, but something happened later that night and I’d be damned if I knew what it was, I decided that that would be the last time I’d come sixth, or fifth or fourth. I decided my next position in class would be first, that, and nothing less.
So, I started reading more, asking more questions, doing my assignments myself, I left no stone untouched. And believe me sincerely, not only did I come first the following term, (primary 4, first term), I never took any other position except first till I finished my primary school. What did I do? I turned my criticism into a positive energy, I focused on the message, which was “why can’t you just come first…?”, instead of the critic or how it was said.
You see, my critic helped me stop getting comfortable with being an average student, he helped me strive harder, he made me realize I could do better, which I did… Even though he probably meant for me to feel bad about myself, but I turned the situation around… I turned the criticism into a positive energy!
Successful people never look at criticisms as insults or obstacles, or a reason to give up. But as a tool to becoming better, improving and ‘upping’ their game.
We all know Arnold Schwarzenegger, a popular American actor. In one of his documentaries, he narrated his story on how he was once told by some agents and managers, that becoming a movie star was impossible. And how these agents criticized everything about him. They told him he was gigantic and looked like a monster. They said his German accent was terrible and nobody with a German accent could become an international movie star. Not only that, they went as far as criticizing his name, “Schwarzenegger”.
To cut the story short, Arnold finally caught a break, and landed a big role in a movie as Conan The Barbarian. One of the interesting things was that, the director said at the press conference, “If we wouldn’t have had Schwarzenegger with those muscles, we would have had to build one.” Ironical isn’t it?
In another movie, Terminator, James Cameron said the “I’ll be back” line became one of the most famous movie lines in history, because of Arnold crazy accent. Because he sounded like a machine. If you have watched that movie, I’m pretty sure y’all agree with me that that line was more like an anthem to us then. Even if you knew nothing else from the movie, you would surely know the “I’ll be back” line.
So you see, everything his critics painted as obstacles and a liability for him, turned out to be a great asset. It made him who he is today – a movie star. The one they said he couldn’t become.
“Criticism may not be agreeable but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things” – Winston Churchill.
The day you stop being criticized is the day you stop trying something new… the day you stop living. So, the way it is, you’ve got two choices, ignore the criticisms or work on them. Choose whichever one works best for you. Focus more on the message instead of on the messenger; ask yourself if it’s actually true. If it’s not, ignore it. If it is, ask yourself further what you can do about it, how you can change it. Then start working on it until you know you’ve made some progress. Trust me, you will look back and appreciate your critic. I know I did mine. And remember this quote by Shannon Alder, “Often, those that criticize others reveal what he himself lacks”
However, if after trying, you still cannot handle criticisms. Then, I’d suggest you add it to the list of people you need to stay away from. Click on this link to read up on that THESE ARE THE PEOPLE YOU SHOULD STAY FAR AWAY FROM
I hope you find this post useful. If so, don’t forget to share with a friend. Also, drop your comments and your thoughts in the comment box below, let’s hear and learn from you.