Too many of us allow criticism to slow us down or, many times, stop us cold in our tracks. Dealing with criticism can be difficult sometimes, but we should not allow others’ opinion detract us from our intended actions, goals and objectives.
ALWAYS make it a point to assess the SOURCE of the criticism before taking action or changing your direction. Some key questions to consider in assessing the source of criticism include the following:
1. Does the critic have knowledge or experience in this particular area? If they’re an expert in the area, maybe you have something to learn from them. But if they have little or no knowledge in the area and are simply offering unsolicited advice, politely thank them, but ignore their comments or suggestions.
2. Are the critic’s comments sincere? If someone is offering well-meant, well-intentioned, constructive criticism that is sincere and “from the heart,” you may want to listen carefully — their ideas MAY be helpful even if they’re not an expert in the area. If the criticism is insincere, sarcastic or is simply meant to undermine your efforts, then ignore it — politely excuse yourself from the conversation.
3. Did you ask for feedback or is the criticism completely unsolicited? If you’ve asked for someone’s honest opinion, be prepared to listen — whether you like their answer or not. You do NOT have to agree with their opinion, and you may dismiss it altogether. In these situations, listen with an open mind and consider truly helpful points that are offered. If the criticism is unsolicited, you have no obligation to listen or seriously consider the comments. Never let unsolicited feedback or criticism cause you to give up on your dreams, goals or objectives.
4. Does the person WANT you to do well? If so, listen carefully to their comments and consider constructive advice that might help you overcome obstacles and challenges. If not, then simply discount or ignore their advice — many people who have given up on their own dreams criticize the efforts of others. Don’t let their comments take you off track from the direction you’re moving in.
“Rest satisfied with doing well, and leave others to talk of you as they please.” (Pythagorus, Greek Philosopher)
P.S. I picked up the above insights when reading the book, Big Things Happen When You Do the Little Things Right, written by Don Gabor and published in 1998.
Andy Robinson is a leading authority on career success and 15-year career coaching veteran.
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