How do deal with criticism

How about a video blog today, my friends?!  You can watch or enjoy the transcript below if you prefer to not have hand motions accompany all the words :)  

 

I hate receiving criticism.

For years I would get all mad and defensive when anyone would try and give me correction.

And being a student and creator in the arts my entire life–I’ve definitely had my fair share of critique moments.  So how best to deal with it all?

1.  Consider the Source:  Who is giving the criticism?

TEACHERS: My many teachers and instructors over the years have had ample opportunity in my lessons to point out ways that I can improve.  Some teachers have done so in a way that is inspiring and encouraging.  Other teachers have unfortunately lacked the coupling vision of perspective to make their comments worthwhile to my progress as a whole.

WELL MEANING FAMILY/FRIENDS:  There really are well intentioned comments that can come from those closest to us.  Sometimes it is helpful to have an outside perspective. Sometimes their comments are biased. And sometimes they just plain don’t have a clue what they’re talking about–even though they think they do.

I love the marital advice my Aunt Aleece gives at every cousin bridal shower: “Listen to your mother. Listen to your mother-in-law.  And then do whatever is best for you.”  The same thing can be adapted to many moments in life where we receive advice from family/friends.  Listen, and do what is best for you.

ILL MEANING FAMILY/FRIENDS/STRANGERS:  Unfortunately, they do exist sometimes.  Learning to look for the motivation behind comments is important.  When comments are said with the intention to hurt someone, there is usually something far  deeper that is triggering the words–sometimes even completely unrelated.  Understanding the bigger picture can help put the words in a proper context and often reveal their lack of validity.  Critical comments from anonymous people or online trolls with the intention to destroy or hurt someone should be disregarded immediately.  Remember: Consider the source.

2.  Learn to use criticism to implement progress.

Quite possibly, one of the most powerful visuals I have ever come across on criticism–that has DRASTICALLY improved my ability to use those comments for the better, was a small paragraph in Jack Canfield’s book The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be . Allow me to share:

When I conduct trainings on the success principles, I illustrate this point by asking for a volunteer from the audience to stand at the far side of the room.  The volunteer represents the goal I want to reach. my task is to walk across the room to where he is standing. If I get to where he is standing, I have successfully reached my goal.

I instruct the volunteer to act as a constant feedback–generating machine. Every time I take a step, he is to say “on course” if I am walking directly toward him and “off course” if I am walking even the slightest bit off to either side.

The I begin to walk very slowly toward the volunteer. Every time I take a step directly toward him, the volunteer says, “on course.” Every few steps, I purposely veer off course, and the volunteer says, “off course.”I immediately correct my direction. Every few steps I veer off course again and then correct again in response to his “off course” feedback.  After a lot of zigzagging, I eventually read my goal… and give the person a hug for volunteering.

I ask the audience to tell me which the volunteer had said more often–“on course” or “off course.” the answer is always “off course.” And here is the interesting part.  I was off course more than I was on course, and I still got there… just by continually taking action and constantly adjusting to the feedback. The same is true in life. All we have to do is start to take action and then respond to the feedback. If we do that diligently enough and long enough, we will eventually get to our goals and achieve our dreams.

 

I love the imagery there! What a great way to shift the perspective of criticism into a productive means of our personal growth!

What ways do you find you are able to deal effectively with criticism? I’d love to hear your feedback on… FEEDBACK!

Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. Her favorite personal critic is her son, Buzzy.  He’s honest. If he hates something he will let you know quite effectively. If he loves something he will enthusiastically show his delight through laughter, clapping, and dancing.  If only everyone were so translucent with their feelings!

Brooke teaches inspiring online photography classes that bring you confidence in your skills and creativity.

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