Criticism is an important tool to help you grow. It can outline your problems and help you become a better person. Of course, sometimes the feedback isn’t coming from a good place. Take it from a blogger (that’d be me) who have had people track him down on Twitter to tell him about a particularly shaky article he wrote, criticism can be tough to take sometimes. Here are some awesome ways to take it like a champ.
When you first receive a criticism you may have a range of emotions. You may think to lash out and be aggressive, defend your point of view, or even retort with negative criticisms of the person giving you criticisms. You shouldn’t do this because it can only be harmful. You should stop and let that first wave of emotion pass. If you react badly to receiving criticism, it can negatively affect you in so many different ways. Let it go and calm down. It’s not worth destroying your business (or even personal) relationships.
2. Listen to what is being said and not how it’s said
Sometimes people don’t express themselves well but that doesn’t mean their underlying point is invalid. Yes, that’s about 75 percent of a Big Bang Theory quote. People can be jerks sometimes or they can come off as mean spirited. However, you should listen to what they’re saying and not how they’re saying it. There’s a reason they’re angry at you and there’s a reason they’re confronting you about something. Find out what that reason is because chances are that if they’re taking the time to tell you about it that it’s probably something you ought to know.
3. Ask questions about your feedback
Sometimes it’s not enough that someone tells you that you’re doing it wrong. You need to know why! Ask them questions about their feedback so you can gain a more complete understanding of what it is you did that was wrong and why. That can help you create a more complete idea of how to improve based on the criticism. Never be afraid to ask questions!
4. Embrace the embarrassment
Getting called out is almost universally embarrassing. No matter how tactful the person is at calling you out, it doesn’t change the fact that you made a mistake. The only way to get over that feeling is to embrace it. Understand that being messing up and being embarrassed about it is something that happens in life and it’s something that everyone goes through. Enjoy the feeling because it means you’re about to get better at something. Everyone messes up and everyone feels embarrassed afterward. You might as well learn to enjoy yourself and use the experience to make yourself better. The thicker your skin is, the better!
5. Attempt to make the improvements
Even if you don’t always agree with the criticism, you should try to make the improvement. You never know, it could actually help you improve. If it doesn’t, you always have the satisfaction of delivering some criticism about someone else’s criticism. When you attempt to make the improvement, you’re showing that you’re willing to try new things even if you’re uncomfortable with the change. That means you’re willing to grow and that’s a good character trait to have.
6. Go out and get even more criticism
Chances are that if someone goes out of their way to give you some feedback about something then you’re going to find other people who have some feedback as well. When you get criticism, you should find others and ask them to give you some honest feedback. Different people give feedback in different ways and if the first way didn’t click with you, perhaps another perspective will. It’s about self-improvement here folks so there’s never enough ways to try to seek it out.
7. Look at the big picture
This is honestly one of the hardest things for people to do. We as humans live within our little bubbles. Our bubbles are filled with our friends, family, and work. However, there is a big, wide world outside of our bubble filled with people who live in their own bubbles. When receiving criticism, it’s important to keep things in perspective. How is your performance affecting their bubble? Is what you’re doing negatively affecting other people? The point of all human interaction is to work with others to provide a positive experience for everyone. If you’re messing something up, it’s making someone else miserable. Imagine how you would feel if someone were messing up and it was making you miserable? You would want them to knock it off, right? Thus, when receiving feedback, understand that you’re probably making someone’s life difficult and that’s not fair to them.
8. Thank people for their feedback
When someone gives you criticism -be it good or bad- it means that they care on some level. Like I said back in the first paragraph, I’ve had people seek me out personally on Twitter to tell me that an article I wrote contained wrong or bad information. They didn’t have to do that. I can’t always explain why they did it to begin with. All I know is that on some level, they cared enough to seek me out and tell me. That’s more effort than I probably deserve most of the time. It’s much the same with you. People don’t have to criticize you. They can let you keep doing something wrong until you’re fired or until they break up with you (platonic or otherwise) but they didn’t. They cared enough to tell you and you should show some gratitude.
Criticism is so essential to personal development. Even from a young age your parents were correcting your behavior all the time. You’d hear a lot of people say that our experiences sum up who we are. I respectfully disagree because I think it’s how we handle our experiences that sum up who we are. That means starting with the next bit of criticism, you can change who you are.
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