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Why People Who Are Unable To Take Criticism Will Not Succeed

Why People Who Are Unable To Take Criticism Will Not Succeed

Has anyone ever said you’re defensive against criticisms? It is as if an universal truth that criticism is a good thing but when in face of it, we cannot help and our defensive mechanism startles.

In fact, it is natural that one is inclined to repulse criticism. Famously known, our brains are wired with a fight-or-flight response. When we encounter with danger, in this case, criticisms, some of us want to flee away while some want to fight back. But after all, it is important to know that there are many benefits lying beneath criticism. If we can restrain our natural tendency, we will gladly accept criticisms and get closer to success.

Criticism guides you to the next level.

Think in this way, criticism is helping you to improve, not to insult you or drag you behind.

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It is not outrageous to compare us to lost stars: we are all finding the path in the dark. It is usual to feel lost sometimes. It indeed takes courage to admit that we still have many things to learn. No one is perfect, as the old saying goes.

On this journey of seeking, criticism serves as milestones reflecting our progress, where we are now. And we need these signals to grow. Imagine we are designing a product, or writing an article, or engaging in a relation, without any feedback reminding us, how would we know if we’re on the right track or not?

Criticism gives us the information we need in order to prevail on every aspect of life.

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Criticism helps you to connect with others deeper.

We all have our own stories. We receive different education, or come from different backgrounds. That is what makes us unique, but also makes us impossible to fully understand each other.

There is inherently a wall between human-beings. Nonetheless, we can smash this wall if we want.

Communication is a good way to understand each other better, and positive criticism is an effective form of communication. Positive criticism informs us what others’ impression on us is, and from this we know how to be a better person.

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It is better to treat criticisms as an open invitation to a deeper relationship. Realize that it also takes others’ courage to criticize us. If they do not weigh this relationship heavily, they will not venture to give us the criticism.

Thus, treasure every criticism given by others, reflect on that, and take it as an opportunity to connect deeper with others.

We live in an unhealthy culture that does not encourage criticisms.

Somehow in today’s world, open criticism is a taboo. When one tries to give criticism, he or she also has to accompany it with 20 praises.

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And eventually, the one who criticizes others is hated and thought to be picky, a black sheep. But that is not a healthy environment, we do need criticisms to grow.

Don’t be a praise seeker if you want to succeed.

Imaginably, living in this culture, we all turn to be a praise seeker. We are hungry for praise, and if we are criticized, we become unhappy.

For this phenomenon, there’s a term in psychology called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias basically means the tendency to search for and favor information that confirms our own beliefs, while giving excessively less consideration to alternative possibilities.

Criticism is the key to success.

Given the benefits brought along by criticism, it is at our loss to ignore, deny, or even fight against them. Yes, criticism can be harsh to our ears, yet its value is unquestionable. When facing criticisms, think of the benefits it has instead of being driven by our tendency to defend against it.

Featured photo credit: Daniel McFadden / Sony Pictures Classics / Everett via newyorker.com

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Chris Cheung

Editorial Intern, Lifehack

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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