How to Take Criticism Constructively
In my writing journey, I’ve had the pleasure of both working with critics and writing quite a few criticisms myself. Every lifehack I write is especially critiqued, and I can thank the entire editing staff here for making my writing sparkle (even on the days when I want to slack soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo bad). No matter what you do in life, you’ll be criticized for it, and the louder you do it, the more criticism you’ll get. Change your perspective on haters by learning how to take criticism constructively…
1. Truth Hurts.
You’re not perfect at everything, and you don’t need a trophy for going to the bathroom without missing. This doesn’t mean you don’t put in your best effort, and when people offer you better methods, accept that your way isn’t always the best. Sometimes things have to be said, and if this is the first time you’ve heard it, it’s probably because this is the first time someone cared enough to tell you. Feel the love…
2. Crittin’ Ain’t Easy.
Gamers know there are tradeoffs between crits and attack/movement speed. The idea is everyone wants to hit as hard and fast as possible, but you have to balance the two to your style in order to truly win the war. Taking criticism hits hard, and you want to produce work as fast as possible to achieve your goals, but accepting that criticism, working through it with the critic, and resolving your issues quickly will raise the amount of hits you produce and your lifetime overall DPS.
3. All I’m Asking for Is Understanding.
Understand where people are coming from when both taking and giving criticism. Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, a little compassion for the other side will ensure they know you’re on the same side and agreement is much easier than fighting. It also helps to research what the other person is saying (and perhaps gather stats to show their side instead of yours) in order to understand where they’re coming from. The quicker you start working with critics, the easier your life will be.
4. Figuratively Give It a Shot.
Don’t shoot the messenger; instead give their message a shot. Maybe they’re right, and maybe they’re wrong, but the only way you’ll ever know is by trying it out. If the criticism is truly constructive, the critic will be willing to show you the correct way by giving more than just examples of other people’s work. A real critic rolls up their sleeves and produces what they’re trying to get you to produce. If you like how it changes your work, incorporate their suggestions moving forward.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Push Back.
Just because someone is an expert doesn’t always mean they’re right; this is especially true in creative pursuits. A video editor, for example, will tell you how important it is to have multiple camera angles, but Kevin Smith made Clerks without them. Rules are meant to be broken, but keep in mind, sometimes you really are just bad at something. Just because you said something doesn’t mean it’s entitled to be heard. You need to get on your grind, son.
6. Bluntness Is Best.
Everybody hates those who sugar coat things. I love hearing blunt and direct problems people have with me. It helps me understand how to better communicate with those I love (or play up the things that annoy the hell out of those I don’t). People would much rather hear you say, “I don’t like the way you click your nails when you talk,” than, “You should watch how you present yourself.”
7. The Facts of Life.
If someone really doesn’t like what you have to offer (or you, yourself), then there’s nothing you can do to change their mind – focus on the people who do like it instead. Don’t get too caught up in everyone liking you, because it’ll affect your self-worth in unexpected ways. Remember that real constructive criticism is based on a process you’re following. It’s not you or them that’s the problem; it’s the process.
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