10 Reasons To Welcome Criticism 17

thumbdown “To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” ― Aristotle

I wrote my first novel few months ago. For the first time I wrote fiction, which was longer than 3 pages. But that is not what I would like to write about today.

After finishing the novel I let it ‘’sleep’’ in my computer for months. Only very few close people were provided with the draft to read (i.e. the people, who most probably would not be able to provide objective feedback). No one else…

It was not because I did not want to share the book with others, neither it was because I thought the book was not good enough. The main reason was that I needed some time to get psychologically prepared for criticism. It took quite a while and when I thought I was ready I sent out the novel to several people, who do not know me personally and asked for their honest feedback. I still feel scared about what I will receive, but at the same time I know that it is something I cannot skip in case I want to become a real writer. So now I am both scared and excited at the same time.

How did I manage to reduce the fear of criticism and look at it with different mindset?

Well I came up with several thoughts, which helped me see criticism as something helpful and positive. I guess the below points may apply to almost anything and are not limited to authors/writers and artists.

1. It is not about you

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No matter what you may think the critic is not about you – it is rather about what you have created. Do not take it personal. Take it easy.

2. You cannot have a look from the ‘’outside’’

No matter how hard you try there is absolutely no way you can see your creation with stranger’s eyes. How others will perceive what you have done is something you will not be able to know without listening to what they say. There is just no alternative way of finding out…

3. No one is perfect

There is absolutely no one out there, who has got nothing to be criticized about. No one is perfect (even the ones, who seem so).

4. Chance to improve

You are like all the rest not perfect, but that does not mean that you cannot improve. Critic will pinpoint things, which need improvement. Now you will know what to concentrate on and make sure that you focus on the right things.

5. Criticism as success indicator

The more attention your work receives, the more criticism you’ll have to deal with. So don’t be upset by criticism, rather value the fact that at least someone noticed what you did.

6. Filtered criticism

No one said that you should accept everyone’s criticism. There are people, whose opinion may not be important to you. Some people may criticize just for the sake of it; some others may not understand what you’ve done. Decide who you will be listening to and which the points you are ready to accept are.

7. Criticism as strong motivation

No one said that all critics you receive are right. In case they are not, you will have the desire to prove them wrong. And that strong desire will become your motivation to succeed.

8.  For someone to criticize you, it means that he/she cares

“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.” ― Abraham Lincoln

The person could have used the time to do many other (more pleasant) things, but he/she chose to take that time and provide you with constructive criticism instead. That itself is something to appreciate.

9. Necessary criticism

We all need criticism from time to time and Mr. Churchill has explained best why

 “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” ― Winston Churchill

10. Keeping the balance

Many people allow criticism ruin their self-confidence. There are some people, on the other hand, who are so self-confident that they refuse to accept any criticism. The key here is trying to keep the balance.

I guess what I mean is:

“The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” ― Norman Vincent Peale

And I guess the most important is how you move forward after the criticism.

Will I forget about my novel in case of negative criticism?

Will I improve it based on the feedback I receive?

Will I give up my decision to become a writer?

The answers for me are No, Yes, No…

That is my point. One has to decide the limits of how much power one is ready to give to the critic… and only then seek one.

I personally will keep going… what about you?

Would love to hear about how you deal with criticism and what do you think about the topic in general.

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17 thoughts on “10 Reasons To Welcome Criticism

  • Trevor

    Criticism is only as useful or damaging as you allow it to be. The intent of the critic is irrelevant.

    Because criticism is nothing more than feedback. The critic may intend to help or hurt, but it’s how we choose to receive the criticism that counts.

    At it’s core, all feedback is an opportunity to learn. Whether we like what we hear or not. Whether the criticism was constructive or derogatory. It is all just feedback.

    Take what you need and leave the rest.

    Congratulations on writing your first novel. That’s a huge accomplishment that few will ever achieve. Choose carefully whose criticism you take to heart.

    Trevor recently posted..Are You Really the Man You Should Be?My Profile

  • Priska

    For me I think that I am afraid that I will discover that I am not good enough, especially in an area that is a bit beyond my wildest dream (like writing a book), whilst it remains unwritten/unread it can remain a part of that wonderful dream I’ll be one day.
    Until someone actually sees the work I do not have to face the fear of failure.
    The problem is that I’ll never be good enough until I have taken the steps to put my work out there to receive feedback from which I’ll discover areas that need further work or refining.
    Priska recently posted..10 steps to take you toward your mid-life reinvention.My Profile

    • Ani Post author

      Priska, that was exactly where I was at few years ago. I felt the same way you do now and did not do anything about actually writing a book. As you see, now that the book is written, different ”problems” came into way :)

  • Jane Robinson

    I really enjoyed this post. As an artist, every time you send your work out in the world you face criticism. In fact you often have to pay to have your work judged – such as in juried exhibitions and often you do not get feedback just the rejection. It is part of the business of creativity so your points are well taken. I would also add that there are some who criticizism is actually a compliment. Such as not being of the same mind as those who are slinging the arrows.
    Jane Robinson recently posted..Your Creative EssenceMy Profile

  • Vincent Nguyen

    Hi, Ani.

    I remember the days when I used to fear criticism as well. It felt soul-crushing to have someone else give a differing opinion on something I felt was “perfect.” I avoided asking for feedback because of this for a very long time.

    One day, I woke up and realized honest and constructive criticism has been what kept me from stagnating and falling into the same old patterns. Now I love actively looking for brutally honest criticism and stress to my friends that I’d much prefer brutal honesty than sugar coated compliments.

    I’m glad you too have discovered the importance of criticism and why we should all embrace it in our lives!
    Vincent Nguyen recently posted..How Another Friend’s Pain Gave Me New OpportunitiesMy Profile

  • Jack Milgram

    I couldn’t agree with you more that criticism is actually a good sign. Every time you hear some crittic – congratulate yourself, because you get noticed and get certain reaction. The most important thing is to learn how to properly react to critic and get the right messages. Thank you very much for sharing and raising this important question.
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    Natural Cleanse recently posted..Natural CleanseMy Profile

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  • Ambitious Web

    Criticism is very important in today’s world. Too many people act like constructive criticism is bashing or hateful. If it weren’t for criticism, I would have never learned near what i know today.