I used to get frustrated when I was on the receiving end of any type of criticism. This was a personal failing. I did not yet understand why criticism is so important to improve as a human being.
If you are going to be doing anything remotely meaningful, you will receive criticism. It will become background noise in your life. This is because you are coming into contact with lots of different people. And often, these people will hold varied opinions, and they will let you know about it.
They will tell you that what you are doing is wrong. Or, that you have the right ideas but the wrong approach. They will generally nitpick at any aspect that you are doing, no matter how small the detail.
Of course, they won’t know the amount of behind-the-scenes work that goes on in doing what you do.
But, we have to accept this unless we want to completely retire from society. It is an unavoidable side-effect of doing things that matter.
So, it becomes important to know how to handle criticism. This year has been a year of significant growth for both Bloo and Mäd. This has meant a lot more criticism on both the product that we build as well as my general management of things.
Sometimes get frustrated, but I remember that this criticism is important. It is an invaluable component in getting better at what I do.
After all, there can only be two types of criticism:
- Invalid Criticism — This is criticism that comes from people who are not qualified to give you criticism. You can ignore this, and in fact, you should expect people who are not as capable as you to criticize you. It’s a common defense method to make themselves feel better. This is actually a signal that you’re on the right path.
- Valid Criticism — This is well-meaning criticism by people who genuinely care about who you are and what you do. In this case, welcome the criticism with open arms. Think it through and discuss it to find the point of resolution.
The skill is being able to tell these two types of criticisms apart. Then focus on spending your time dealing with #2 as much as possible.