How To Utilize The Power Of Criticism For Self Development


It’s very important to know that Man is a free thinking agent and should not be limited in opinions and thoughts. Criticisms are merely voiced out opinions and thoughts of people as regards issues.

People criticise when they feel you are not acting the way they “THINK” or “BELIEVE” you should act.

Trying to stop them from doing so is synonymous to asking people to shut their brains and will-power and follow all you say and do – bait, hook and line.

Come on, that will make our world so boring and it will also be a deliberate effort to deprive humans of their fundamental right to reasoning and free-thinking.

Theodore Roosevelt, America’s 26th President saw it from an even more catastrophical tangent. He had this to say after he and others openly criticized President Woodrow Wilson’s handling of the World War 1 in May 1918:

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

As a matter of acute fact, everyone has a right to criticize. Lack of criticism will only breed mediocrity.

Perception Issues

Some of the successes I have made in life were motivated by the forces of criticism and challenges. When criticism comes, all I see is an opportunity to get better.

Yea, that’s what I see. When I get criticized at work, I don’t just see some annoying short man speaking. Oh, he’s short anyway, but I see way beyond that.

In the severity of his words, I see a postman who is giving me an envelope containing his opinions on my efforts at work. And that envelope when properly evaluated and harnessed “may” contain useful tips and advice that can make me better and more productive.

The major problem most people have with criticism is their perception of it. In all that happens around me, one question I never fail to answer myself is what do I see?

I also never fail to answer that question when I get criticized by anyone, and I’m gonna pose that question to you too.

You finished doing a piece of good job at work and your boss barks at you and calls it crap. Please, what do you see?

You come out gorgeously dressed with a pretty smile on your face, and some annoying girl called you fat and obese. Please before you react, think about this: what do you see?

When you learn to faithfully and sincerely answer this question, your life will begin to get easier.

You need to stop seeing things from negative perspectives. There is a bright side to every darkness. Ignore the darkness and see only the light behind it.

Deadly Criticism

I’m a critic. Oh yea, a die-hard fan of criticism. It might interest you to know that criticism has got rules. I will write on that some other time

But for now, there is something people call “projected criticism”. They say it’s a criticism that is negatively sided with the sole intent of picking out faults where it doesn’t exist and to make one feel miserable and horrible.

I kind of have a better name for that. I call it, “criticism from the pit of hell.”

If you’ve been following, you’ll remember that I said criticism is people’s expression of their opinions and thoughts. Now, add this:

Criticism doesn’t just show people’s opinions and thoughts, it shows their level of maturity, knowledge base, exposure, philosophy and behavioral origin.

Thus, if someone’s criticism is always projected and points only to the negative without an iota of tendency to bring out the best in you, and if his behavioral origin always appears to be, “HELLish”…

Then, your guess is as good as mine. Such a person doesn’t live far from hell. Be quick to discard his criticisms.

How To React To Criticism

People react to criticism in different ways, and my way is definitely to come out fighting.
― David Beckham

The question is “How do you fight?”

I’m of the school of thought that believes you can’t beat a fool in his own game. Please note that I’m not in anyway referring to a critic as a fool, rather I’m appreciating the quantum of foolishness you’d be exhibiting by trying to react rashly to any criticism in spite of who it is coming from.

When wrongly criticized by a number of misguided persons, top blogger and writer, Chris Guillebeau had this to say:

There’s not much I can do in these cases except say, “I wish you the best” and move on – never argue with a crazy person, my mom likes to say — but it does make me a little sad to hear how misguided someone can be.
― Chris Guillebeau

With this, I propose the best way to react to criticism

1. Attention

Attentively listen to all your critic has got to say as long as you have the time to spare. There are obviously some stuff you shouldn’t listen to, but never be too quick to dismiss someone in a hurry.

2. Appreciate

Be thankful after listening and leave. Most times, your critics expects you to defending yourself or get angry or start explaining your life story to them. Hell No! Don’t do that.

Learn not to react the way your critic anticipates. People will always get uncomfortable when they notice you don’t get emotional about their words to you.

3. Analyze

At your leisure time, analyse the content of this criticism. Is there a level of truth in it? Is there and correction I can draw from it? Is it an arrant nonsense? Do well to analyse it properly.

4. Act

If the analysis shows that the criticism was an arrant nonsense as you suspected, be quick to discard it. However, if it contains an element of truth and shows your vulnerability, it will be very wise for you to accept it and do the needful.

5. Advance

Move on with your life afterwards. Never allow criticism to make you depressed. It’s not worth it. Your emotions should never be dictated by people’s opinion of you.

Finally this brings me to the last part of this article,

Utilizing The Power Of Criticism For Self Development

Basically all that has been written so far is geared towards self development and reaction management.

Nonetheless, there is more to harnessing the power of criticism for self development, than that.

For development to occur, it has to be in any of these two ways: Improvements or New Directions.

Criticism on its own is a free review that most companies even pay for. When ever it strikes, look out for the possibility of potential improvements you might never had known before.

When improvements are not smoking out, observe keenly, a better direction is looking at you in the face.

Most people are only interested at receiving thumbs up but will never want to see the bigger picture if someone should advice them to do things differently.

Beyond the pains and sadness of criticism lies an opportunity for growth and greater results. Even beyond this, it forges within us great weapons of self development. The greatest of them all being, emotional resilience.

Emotional Resilience

You can easily harness the power of criticism to kill emotional diseases including depression. It may sound untrue, but it is true. Listening to critics over and over again can really be depressing from the onset.

However, I finally realised that I got to a level where such words no longer had any emotional impact on me whatsoever.

At this point, I could laugh over the craziest of criticisms and still pick out the useful nuggets from it.

As you advance in life, there is every tendency to meet various kinds of persons and to be subjected to various work conditions. You may be attached to a boss who is both inconsiderate and unreasonable.

If you’ve not developed the habit of rejecting harmful emotional missiles, then you will certainly not survive such a time.

Being criticized builds mastery in you. It builds resilience and makes you tough against the challenges of human relationships.

Anyone who has mastered this art has untold power in him.

And the only way to master it is to always do it. By doing, I mean by listening to criticism when it comes and shying away from it.

This will also boost self-control in the face of challenges and also increase focusing power on goals. It will be almost impossible for such a person to be swayed from his/her vision.

I sincerely hope this truth works for you, because it worked for me. Feel free to use the comment box to share what you think.

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