But not everyone is doing the work and not everyone understands.
You’ll often find that the ones that are talking the most are those that do that least.
When it comes to criticism, it is so important not to take on the thoughts and opinions of the wrong people. When you’re working on something and it isn’t going well it can result in your sense of self and confidence being reduced. When this happens you’re likely to find yourself more susceptible to take on the criticism of others.
Criticism can be useful, in fact incredibly helpful when it’s from the right people. However, when it’s from the wrong people, it can be dangerous. Suddenly you’re taking on thoughts from a stranger who has no real idea about the work you do and what it takes to overcome the challenges you’re facing.
I recently started watching a show from the 90s that has gained a significant amount of criticism for various reasons. Much of it I agree with, yet I still found the show (for the most part) enjoyable to watch.
One particular bit of criticism that I didn’t agree with was that against the main character. People raised points of her making silly mistakes, being selfish and making poor choices.
However, as much as I understood the criticism, the show was not created to present the characters as perfect. Plus, it’s unrealistic to expect all things to pass the test of time. I think for may people the real issue was that their perception of the main character had changed from good to bad.
It went from thinking she was cool and liberated to thinking that she would have been better off if she…
She went from being aspirational to being an example of what not to do.
And so I think it’s much more useful to take the show for what it was instead of focusing on this idea of a perfect character. And if that feels difficult, think about you’re own life. It is more than likely that the ideas you had and choices you made in the 90s are not ones you carry with you in present day.
Here are 2 options for how to react when someone makes a mistake.
The first is to get mad as if the person made the mistake on purpose, maybe shout at them and ask why they did it.
The second is to let them know what they could have done better.
It’s similar to the idea of criticism and feedback. One of these reactions is useful whilst the other is simply someone using it as an opportunity to take out their own anger or frustration.
The first reaction will likely have someone feeling bad for doing something wrong and overtime could contribute to a fear of failure.
The second reaction will help someone understand what they can do differently next time and encourages growth.
If you have something bad to say about something but have nothing to say when it comes to how it could be better. I think that it’s a useless criticism.
It’s easy to be a critic or to complain about the way that something is but what’s the point if you can’t even offer a solution.
It’s far more useful and far more helpful to say ‘I don’t think this works very well but here’s what I think would work better…’, rather than just saying ‘That’s not a good idea’.
I think what a person says comes down to their intention to speaking up. Do you just enjoy complaining or do you want to try and find a way to make things better?
If you go on social media you’ll find an abundant amount of people policing ‘perfect’. They’ll criticise, comment and assume as though people aren’t human beings.
But the thing is, you can never please everyone and you will make mistakes.
And as great as the internet is, nobody needs 4658 strangers criticising them for something they said or did, even if it was wrong. Ganging up on someone is never a good way to get them to change their ways.
The internet and social media in particular is a great place to practice ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’. Just because you can send a comment telling someone off for doing something that you don’t think they should have done, doesn’t mean you should.
Better yet ask yourself ‘is this useful or helpful?’, ‘what will I achieve by doing this?’.
Chances are you might find it’s actually better to say nothing at all.
Some are scared to ask for feedback whilst others are afraid to give it.
You don’t want to offend anyone or maybe if they’re more experienced than you, you don’t think you have the authority.
But I’ve learnt that it’s good to ask for feedback. In fact, I’m trying to do more of it in all aspects of my life. From colleagues, my manager, family, friends and even from you.
It’s not about looking for praise or a harsh critique but instead about opening yourself up to the perspective of the observer or receiver because you don’t see things the way they do.
For example, at work you may think that you’re doing your job well because you haven’t been given a warning or been told you’re under-performing. However, perhaps your manager has noticed you could do x, y or z differently but hasn’t said anything because you aren’t bad at what you do.
It’s about being open to seeing that there is room for improvement.
And so I wanted to ask, if you had to make a remark about this blog, what would you say?
Leave a comment or drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Which one is worth more?
Often feedback is something you ask for whereas criticism is something you get given.
And so there is the idea that criticism is always negative and feedback is useful which in some ways I think is true.
I think that both are worth something if they’re specific and can be used to make improvements but the circumstance should also be considered.
Letting a restaurant know the food arrived cold is worth more than telling an author that their book was bad because you didn’t enjoy it. Nobody enjoys cold food that’s supposed to be hot but there will always be people that like stories about aliens.
And so it’s not a conversation about criticism and feedback but instead objectivity and subjectivity.