The 6 Commandments of Learning to Accept Criticism
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
There it is, like a silent epidemic.
Hidden among thousands of messages that sprout and sprout incessantly from our digital devices, creating an eternal murmur: it is the voice of our time. That permanent buzz to which we respond with likes , with comments , with retweets and labels .
We look at hundreds and hundreds of messages every day.
We stop at each one of them for just a couple of seconds and we react to continue consuming information, while we play dialogue, criticism , contact with beings that, in truth, were never there.
It hides behind colorful animations, endless galleries, and memes capable of making us rejoice over and over again on a bad day. Behind the dopamine secreted by the hypothalamus creating a silent addiction that makes us return hungry to that screen in which each of the movements of our life is reflected.
There it is, that desire to always show ourselves happy, always witty, always traveling, intelligent and unique. The inhabitants of a happy world, in which life is always positive. That place where we show the best of ourselves to be eternally rewarded with caresses and likes .
In that place there is no criticism and everything that resembles it will be perpetually described as trolling . Protected by our social networks, we have become accustomed to confusing likes - or the lack of them! - with criticism and when we are suddenly faced with it, we do not know how to react.
Thus, the accurate words in the real world of a teacher, a colleague or our boss towards our work, can be demoralizing and plunge us into a deep cavern of darkness and depression .
Because today we are no longer used to receiving criticism. Stripped of the security and protection of a screen, we tend to feel vulnerable and attacked when conversing with those who, perhaps, just want to help us. Most of the time, these are not malicious comments and you have to know how to be prepared to accept them and transform them into a positive creative force.
FIRST COMMANDMENT: DO NOT BE ANGRY
When you've put the time and effort into creating something new, it's natural for you to get defensive when you realize that your work is being criticized. Take a deep breath and don't get mad. Acknowledge and appreciate the time the other person has spent reviewing your work. Instead of getting mad at her and closing yourself off from her comments, actively listen to her and try to understand what she has found in your creation.
Remember that paying attention to third-party comments does not mean that you have to accept them. You will never be forced to share their point of view, but by being receptive you may discover aspects that will allow you to improve the quality of the work that you have done so hard.
SECOND COMMANDMENT: ASSESS THE USEFULNESS OF WHAT THEY ARE TELLING YOU
When receiving a criticism, there will be things that you may disagree with. It is important that you know how to recognize and filter the usefulness of each of the comments before deciding what to do with them. If something is not clear to you, ask and inquire until you fully understand what the other wanted to say to you. Once you understand the point of feedback, identify those aspects that may have a real contribution to your work and return to it to see how to apply them.
THIRD COMMANDMENT: DON'T BE SUPERB
Sometimes, in anger at receiving criticism of our work, the first thing we do is discredit the other. We want to see trolling where there is none. If the criticism you receive comes from someone with knowledge of the facts, take advantage of it. Just because you are talented and good at what you do does not mean that you are the owner of the absolute truth. If you are fortunate enough to receive comments from someone who, for some reason, is more experienced than you, don't be arrogant and take time to carefully analyze what they are saying before discrediting them.
FOURTH COMMANDMENT: RECOGNIZE GOOD INTENTIONS
A deformation that we bring from the digital world is to feel that whoever dares to criticize us is nothing more than a troll. That's not true. Hundreds of valuable and well-meaning comments are lost and eroded every day under the label of trolling . And while you could undoubtedly run into mean words and criticism, most people who take the time to review your work mean well. Yes: that includes your teachers and bosses, whom you often perceive as ruling hell itself. Believe it or not, they are interested (more than anyone) that you do your job better and better. Their duty is to show you your mistakes and areas of opportunity when there are any. Do not take things personally and always look for a way to take advantage of the comments you are receiving.
FIFTH COMMANDMENT: PLEASE DON'T EXAGER
Face it once and for all: not everyone will like your job. This could confirm it to you even the most admired writer, painter, footballer or film director. There will always be a voice trying to cast shadows on your light and yes: sometimes it will be aggressive and destructive comments. Along with the success will emerge a small horde of haters who, whatever you do, your work will never convince. What to do with them? Accept that they exist and make sure their voice never makes you doubt yourself.
SIXTH COMMANDMENT: THANK THE CRITICISM
The words of others can guide you and help you evolve an idea that had become stagnant. Unlike a "like," the feedback is non-binary and has the allure of light-dark and nuances. Sure: we all like the idea of feeling that what we create is simply perfect, but this will never be the case. All creation has the possibility of being improved and all your strength should be focused on it. So more than hating it and denying it, embrace criticism and use it to become stronger and stronger.
Face it: a deep, well-intentioned review is worth more than a million likes.