Do you feel bad when someone criticises you? Do you then take some time to ruminate on their attitude, perhaps taking days to finally assure yourself that they’ve been too hard?
Do you feel good when someone praises you? Do you work hard to learn what they like and then ensure you continue to perform in the ‘right’ manner so as to please them?
“The best of men is he who blushes when you praise him and remains silent when you defame him.”
I’m not so sure if we should be so much in awe of other people’s opinions. Why fear criticism? Why swoon over praise?
I have a quote from @ChrisBrogan by my desk, it says:
“I never worry about criticism from someone who doesn’t know much in the first place. I learn from leaders.”
http://wordle.net/. Images of Wordles are licensed
Good is bad is good is bad
I have another idea. Opinions are like arseholes – everybody’s got one. I’m my worst critic; if I like something I’ve created (perhaps a graphic, perhaps 300 words about energy consumption) and I’m certain it meets the job specification or self-set criteria, why would I worry what Jayne thinks of it?
I’m not saying I disregard Jayne’s thoughts and feelings, I’m just saying, why would I worry about them?
Jayne can’t write for toffee, and isn’t allowed near a keyboard for fear she’ll damage the space-time continuum. I can listen to her feedback, maybe tweak my opening paragraph for clarity, but I’m not going to be upset by her review.
Opinions are like arseholes, and you don’t have to be an arsehole to have one.
Similarly, why should I run home screaming with joy when Marcus praises my latest photo shoot? Marcus likes his phone-cam and his holiday shots. It’s great that he appreciated my work, certainly I hope my work has an emotional impact on people, but I’m not going to celebrate every time someone says “hey, that’s good Wedge”.
I take responsibility for what I say, what I do and what I produce. If someone says it’s ‘crap’ I don’t beat myself up over it. Nor do I spend hours self-justifying or trying to dismiss their observations / criticism as being worthless. There is value in criticism if it’s specific and related to the task.
Similarly if I’m satisfied, joyously pleased even, with something I’ve done, that doesn’t ‘make me happy’. I was already happy thank you.
Seeking validation from others is a dangerous game; we must have the confidence to self-validate.
Sure, immature people self-validate all the time, and they become cocky arseholes (there’s that word again) but I’m not telling anyone to disregard feedback. Feedback is wonderful for honing our work. Feedback let’s us know what works, and what doesn’t work quite as well.
But everyone’s got an opinion, why hang value on to these ephemeral throw-away comments that some people toss our way without cogitation?
Criticism and praise come from a place of judgement. I simply wish to discern quality, I don’t want to become judgemental, and I don’t need other people’s judgements (negative or positive) to validate that which I already value.
Want to tell me that the client has a right to judge? Please go ahead and share your thoughts. I can even ‘value’ your criticism, because I recognise that it comes from you, and remains yours. Your criticism does not become a part of me.
P.S. On my ‘Within Tao‘ page, the last point says:
Non-judgement and the relativity of human naming and judging
“She’s so pretty” means that someone else is ugly.
“I got an A in my exam” means someone else got an F.
“That’s a weed” is clearly a human judgement, as there’s no such thing as a weed.
(i.e. praise and criticism are two sides of the same coin.)
P.P.S. and remember, if you’re in media, communications or internal communications you’re going to receive a lot of criticism simply because you’re so visible. Check out my three part series on criticism starting with: Criticism comes your way for one reason