The Gift of Criticism

“Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.” Have you ever heard that saying? What if I told you that this cliche was wrong? Could it be that your critics just did you a favor?

via a2gemma @ Flikr Creative Commons

via a2gemma @ Flikr Creative Commons

Confession time…When I was younger, I was a real people-pleaser. My skin has gotten a little thicker over the years, but every now and then harsh words can still cut deeply. Can you relate?

No one likes for people to say mean things, to not like them, or to make things personal. But if you’re a parent or have any sort of authority through a leadership position, it’s not a matter of IF you will make someone mad. The real question is WHO you’ll make mad.

The fast track to burnout is to try and please each person you pass on the way.

So could it really be true that criticism can be helpful? Here are some ways it has helped me, and if you think about it, could help you as well.

1. It helps me realize who matters. In life there are three kinds of people: Friends, Fans, and Trolls.

Friends will be there in both the good and the bad. They will tell you the truth because they care about you.

Fans are the people who see your success and want to identify themselves with you but don’t really have any emotional ties.

Trolls are those critics whose only interest is to become popular at the expense of others. Always listen to your friends.

Use a filter when listening to your fans (both the praise and the criticism). But when it comes to the trolls, don’t give them the time of day.

Over time, you realize that God is the only one you must please. To help you along the way, he sends “friends” like your spouse, your buddy, your

2. It makes me try harder. If the criticism comes from either a friend or a fan, I really try to glean the truth from it. Sometimes I innocently overlooked something and they help me see that thing.

There have been plenty of projects and conversations that have been improved because of the criticism of someone from one of these two groups.

3. It helps prepare me for bigger things. How I react to criticism is a great indicator of the level of responsibility I can be trusted with. The greater the authority, the larger the target that you wear. If you really want to do great things with your life, you’ll have to face adversity and criticism. Be thankful for the opportunity to show yourself faithful in a smaller test.

QUESTION: What would you add to this list? How has criticism been a gift in your life?

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