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Why Founders Shouldn't Fear Harsh Criticism A proactive approach to criticism not only shows maturity and a growth mindset; it can head off the panic of unexpected feedback.

By Aytekin Tank

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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No one likes to hear that their work has fallen short. Whether it's a harsh product review or a less-than-thrilled client, criticism rarely feels good. I've also found that high achievers, including entrepreneurs, are extra sensitive to tough feedback. However, learning to embrace criticism can give your business an edge.

According to William B. Irvine, a professor of philosophy and the author of Why Insults Hurt, the ancient Greek and Roman Stoics saw criticism as a personal favor – but only when it came from trusted friends and mentors. In other words, consider the messenger. Difficult critiques from people who know, love, and respect you represent an opportunity to improve. These people want you to succeed, and they can often see into your blind spots.

On the other hand, feel free to ignore that nasty Instagram post from a private account. As Roman emperor (and noted Stoic) Marcus Aurelius once wrote, "the best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury."