5 Ways to Respond Well to Criticism
We all receive criticism in our lives, even when we didn’t ask for it. And too often, some sharp words can offend our tender souls and lead us to lash out with cutting words to match. This happens every day on popular, content-filled websites like YouTube and Facebook. I get it all the time as an author and I’m very likely to get more.
So how can you better handle criticism and negative feedback?
1. You Can’t Please Everyone
No matter how hard you try or how good you really are, there will always be someone out there who will absolutely loathe your performance. There is no point in feeling depressed because your video has 20,000 likes and 10 dislikes. Recognize that yes, there really are people in the world who don’t like ice cream, pizza, sports, or Star Wars. Crazy! I know.
Accept it. Move on.
2. Disregard The Hate
Don’t listen to the feedback that doesn’t serve you. Feedback doesn’t always feel nice to hear, but it should have the intention to help you improve. If you get the sense that the critic has a vengeful agenda or simply has a despiseful tongue, then don’t listen. The sad truth is hurt people hurt people.
Usually helpful criticism comes when you ask for it. Sometimes—rarely—good feedback comes unsolicited. When you can sense the hate in the feedback, do as Taylor and remember that “haters gonna hate,” so “shake it off” and keep going.
3. Be Grateful
When you get feedback that you’ve asked for or that you truthfully need, remember that the person giving it is almost always sincerely trying to help you out. While some may be as cutting as Simon Cowell, it may be the difficult advice you need to hear. Criticism is meant to cut you down (that’s what the word literally means) but with the intent to build you up into something greater. So be grateful.
4. You Don’t Have to Follow Their Advice
Unless your boss orders you to follow her suggestions, then that’s all they really are... suggestions. They might be great suggestions that are exactly you need to skyrocket to success. Or it might just be that person’s opinion and you may actually know better.
How can you tell? That depends on experience and intuition. Is your critic in a social, financial, vocational place where you want to be? If so, than more than likely it’s good advice. And trust your instincts. Regardless that his heroes, like Neil Armstrong, told him he was terribly misguided, Elon Musk trusted his gut and pushed forward to develop the largest commercial space program, and if may be the first to land on the moon and Mars.
Once you’ve established that the feedback you’re getting is coming from a sincere place... unplug your ears, shut your yap, and pay attention.
If the critic says something about your content that you disagree with, hold your tongue. Hear everything he has to say first. Seek to understand his perspective and give it a worthwhile consideration before discrediting it.
Often, feedback sessions become heated simply because the critic doesn’t feel heard and the receiver is ungrateful. It’s better to follow the steps above; practice being grateful instead of offended, and then listen to the critic so you both come out of it better than you entered.