Tuesday, May 13, 2014

There's Never Been A Shortage Of Critics

"We are not trying to entertain the critics. I'll take my chances with the public."

~Walt Disney

Walt Disney was a very wise man, and he had a very inspired way of looking at critics. In the end, it's not what the critics say that matter, it's what you're able to do, and what you're able to accomplish.

When I was a younger man, I used to let criticism bother me. There are two kinds of criticism, the kind that is intended to help you, and the kind that's meant to hurt you. Constructive criticism is one of the most valuable gifts you can recieve if you're willing to listen to it, and take it as it is intended. It's that advice from someone's personal experience that will help you grow, learn, and improve yourself. Anyone that has had a mentor knows that listening to an honest appraisal of your strengths and weaknesses isn't an easy thing even from a trusted friend. But if you can set your pride aside and listen, you'll most likely learn something. Most likely, you'll take something away from that experience that you can use, because that person that's giving it means to help you, and has probably at one point or another made the same mistake he's trying to advise you on. Listen to it.

Then there's the other kind of criticism--the destructive kind. It's not meant to improve you, it's intended to diminish you. Wasting any time, thought, or energy to confront that kind of criticism is a complete waste of time. I'm not saying it never bothers me--it does. But people that dish this out do not have your best interests in mind, and you're foolish to engage them. Letting these critics get to you is exactly what the critic intended. Their motives are envy, or jealousy, or scoring points at your expense. The best thing to do is walk away from that kind of criticism and keep doing what you're doing. Ignore it.

My view of critics may not be as inspired as Walt Disney's view. The way I see it, getting any kind of criticism is a good thing. It means either somebody thinks enough of you to try and help you, or it means you're doing something outstanding enough that somebody wants to knock you down a peg or two. Either way, if you're willing to look at it, recognize it for what it is, and understand how that criticism is intended, you can learn a lot from it.

And if you're as stubborn as I am, you'll find that unfair criticism doesn't knock you down a peg or two--if anything it'll encourage you to keep right on going.



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