Every once in a while we have the honor to meet a very special person in our lives. This person could be one of our friends, but more often we might consider this person as an enemy or competitor. In fact, we might really dislike this person and the things he says, because he continuously criticizes us. His criticism can be tremendously painful for us, as it might force us to face our own anxieties or topics that we would have rather ignored. Whoever this person is, it might just have become the biggest critic in our lives. It is now up to us to take advantage of his honest critic (you hire him, figuratively), which could help us to improve ourselves, or we do something that happens mostly because the critic affronted us with his criticism: we completely ignore them and take this person for a fool.
Now, what people normally would do is to try everything to fight of their biggest critic with different approaches. Some might take the statements of their critics with a grain of salt, others might even ignore these completely and some might get affected (in a negative way) by what their biggest critic says. All these approaches have one thing in common: we do not take the criticism serious and ignore it completely. This is the right way to handle unjustified criticism, but we shouldn’t approach honest criticism that way. Being that ignorant towards honest and applicable criticism prevents us from reflecting our own decisions. It discourages us from thinking about what we do and whether it is right or not.
Hire your biggest critic
I personally would recommend you another, completely different approach towards your biggest critic: hire him and as most of us won’t be able to afford such luxury I mean by “hiring your critic” that you take his points serious. Especially if your biggest critic is one of your friends you can be very thankful that a friend is that honest with you. In fact: every person that criticizes us is a person that tells us honestly and completely uncensored his very own opinion about us, whether we like it or not. I am sure that none of us likes to be criticized and getting criticized does not feel good at all. But, getting criticized every once in a while is better than being surrounded by a dozen of yea-sayers. Huge businesses went bankruptcy because their CEO’s were surrounded by yea-saying “groupies” that praised every decision of their boss, often without even thinking about the consequences of these decisions. This is especially the case when a person has had huge successes in the past and becomes divorced from reality or even megalomaniac.
It can be really helpful to have a person in our environment that tells us every once in a while what we could do better or what mistakes we currently make. A person that brings us down to earth as soon as we show the slightest indicator to become divorced from reality. It might take some toughness to discover this person and to take his statements serious without completely blocking his point of view, which would be a completely normal defense response. But finding this person can be paying off extraordinarily as our critics help us to us to reflect our decisions, to eliminate mistakes and to advance ourselves.
I personally have met two different types of critics in my life. Those that pushed me with their critic to become better and more successful and those that criticized (and even blamed) me in an unproductive way and for everything I did. The first type of critics helped me to exceed my expectations continuously, whereas I choose to ignore the second type of critics completely as it would have been a waste of time to take their unproductive criticism serious, especially as these people tended to criticize everyone else as well. In fact: it is an important step to separate “haters” and others that blame us only with unjustified criticism from those that want us to help with their criticism, even though it can be painful sometimes. You can completely ignore the unjustified criticism by “haters” as it is only their way to compensate inferiority complexes and will not help you to develop your personality and your skills to a further level. But in return, I would highly recommend you to listen to what honest people tell you and take their critic serious.
How to discover a helpful critic?
A helpful critic will criticize you honestly, without paying much attention to your feelings, but his criticism helps you to discover your weaknesses and mistakes so that you can start to improve yourself. A helpful critic wants you to become better and helps you to succeed. You can also identify these honest critics as they will not criticize you publicly in front of your co-workers, employees or friends (as that would only embarrass you), but he will always seek a confidential chat with you to evaluate your mistakes.
What critics are not helpful?
You can easily spot unhelpful critics as they tend to criticize you in a pointless way, without wanting you to enhance yourself or letting you know what kind of mistakes you made to get criticized. Their type of criticism is not encouraging you but is solely intended to blame you. Unhelpful critics use the form of criticism either for the purpose of being able to dominate you (as it helps them to blame and embarrass you) or it is a subconscious expression of inferiority complexes and other problems this person has.
Why do we need an honest critic?
Down-to-earthiness: Critics help us to stay down-to-earth without getting out of touch with reality. This is especially helpful when we have become extraordinarily successful and might be surrounded by yea-sayer’s that do not want to hurt our feelings (or don’t have the courage to criticize us) or other kinds of “groupies” that are blinded by our succeeding.
We need to get pushed: Especially in tough times, we tend to withdraw. In these situations, we need someone that continuously pushes us to a further level and encourages us to do “whatever it takes”. This is also the reason that a lot of people afford themselves a personal trainer or exercise in a group of people as this helps them to get pushed.
Honesty: Whoever else should be more honest with you than your biggest critic? Bear in mind that you are surrounded by a lot of people that do not want to hurt your feelings, don’t have the courage to criticize you and some that are interested in seeing you failing, for whatever reason. Surrounding yourself with yea-sayer’s will feel very comfortable and can be incredibly motivational, but it will let you fail sooner or later.
Once you found such a person I would really recommend you to listen precisely what this person tells you! Become successful with the help of a critic!
Who is YOUR biggest critic?
Feel free to leave your interesting or creative response in the comment section below.
Photo by Steve.D.Hammond
Have you already hired your biggest critic and listened to their feedback?
One of my biggest critics was my football coach, I guess. I was captain of the team and got particularly blamed for every defeat. Nice job on this article BTW. If I had only known this a little earlier……
Hey Marc, thanks for your input!
Congrats! Great article, very well written with a perfect topic.
I wish this would be something you learn in kindergarten. It would make the world a way better place to live in.
Thank you for spreading the wisdom 🙂
Hi Silviu, thanks for the appreciation! And you’re right, there are a lot of things that should be taught in kindergarten. Would be a much better start into one’s life with if they gave you some important wisdoms along the way.
whenever we get criticized we tend to stop and think what we have done wrong but we shouldn’t feel that way and just move on. Learn to build you self trus again if you fail something. you can more of these success stories here.
I have a very close friend and we have known each other well for over 40 years. We live in a three hours way from each otherand we see each other once a mounth. My friend ask me how I am and I answer – you tell me, mirror me, please! And since we dont have any hidden agenda between us and been through Heaven and hell together , we give each other constructive critisism. It is always point on directly where it is not that good and it is easy to work for changing the weakness in ourselves. Thank you for a great blog.
It’s really wonderful to have such friends.
An Excellent Post…
Learned a lot….
I think I’m usually the one who criticize people in a good way though, but I’m really failing to get someone who is straights with me and I do believe that I need one.
Hi Steve, very nice article. My biggest critic is my husband. He pinpoints my weak points so that I can work on them and become better:)I know his intention is good but sometimes I feel quite pissed off:(
It is important to listen to the critics but it is also very vise to surround yourself with the successful independent people. Only and only them can give you constructive advice, not critics because this are two completely different things. No one is good enough to criticize you and only few are worth taking advice from.
Ofcourse, this approach works only if you are highly intelligent and independent individual capable of helping others, if you are just another sheep in the rat race then good luck, I’m not interested in you nor your banalities of life problems.