Embracing criticism is hard!
“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” A quote from Walt Disney from the book “The Story of Walt Disney”
There’s a lot to be learned from that sentence.
As you go through life, there will be no shortage of critics and persons telling you what you need to improve or what you can do better. You could label all these people as haters and simply ignore them.
There are few creators whose legacy is as far-reaching as legendary animator and entrepreneur Walt Disney. He transformed a simple cartoon mouse into a vast empire: one that encompassed film, television, retail, and even theme parks and products.
Through the years, Disney also had his share of critics. But his view of criticism was different. He used negative feed to help him grow to make him better.
You feel like punched in the teeth when you are trying your best, and someone comes along to tell you it’s not good enough.
For most of us, the default is to label that criticism as an attack. We respond by defending ourselves, or by demonizing the critic. That leads us to close our mind and ignore what they have to say.
The problem with that response is, criticism is often rooted in some truth.
You must realize that as smart as you are and as hard as you work, there’s always room for improvement. We all have blind spots. It doesn’t feel good when someone points out you have something on your nose. But you wouldn’t want them to hold back from telling you that, would you?
Not all criticism is right, some will be flat out wrong. But even in these cases, it’s valuable–because it helps you to see your actions through a different perspective, one you may not have missed. And if one person thinks it, you can be sure that others will be thinking about sooner or later.
So we need to embrace the fact that critical feedback is necessary for growth and improvement.
Learning to benefit from such criticism takes emotional intelligence–the ability to make emotions work for you, instead of against you. The key is to change the way you process criticism; you must turn negative feedback into something constructive, by asking yourself the following:Putting my personal feelings aside, what can I learn from this person’s perspective?
How can I use this feedback to help me improve?
When you see negative feedback as an opportunity for growth, it can help you to:
• Refine, tune and improve your ideas;
• Craft your message in a way that reaches a more diverse audience;
• Prepare yourself for similar criticism in the future;
• Change, adapt and optimize when appropriate.
It never feels good to hear that you’re wrong.
But it’s those who call you out, who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth–even when it hurts–who will make you better.