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Transform criticism into creativity for own success

“Don’t let compliments get to your head and don’t let their criticism get to your heart. Don’t mind criticism, if it is untrue, disregard it. If it is unfair, keep it from irritation. If it is ignorant, smile it and if it justified, learn from it.”

No matter who you are, what you do and how you live your life, there is always someone who is judging you. And mind you, this judging may be in no specific terms — sometimes about the way you dress, how you eat, the way you handle customers or even how you drive your car.

Sometimes, excessive judgment, can make you think that you are not in control of the choices you make in life. If you buy a red car, your neighbour can have a hundred reasons why black would have been a better choice.

If you decide to go on a holiday, your colleagues might just have 10 reasons why a holiday now is a bad choice.

If you decide to surprise your spouse with a dinner date, he or she could have 10 other ideas of how the surprise could have been better and if you just thought the easiest way to avoid this criticism could be by just doing nothing, then there are around 100 people who would criticise you for being such a jerk, doing nothing serious in life.

So relax, and accept the fact that whatever you do, someone will judge you for it. No matter, how good a person you are, there will always be someone criticising you.

And there’s nothing more excruciating than the fear of being criticised for everything you do. Sometimes, some people don’t even need others to criticise them, they are huge self-critics.

In a way, a certain amount of self-criticism is a good thing, it keeps the person humble. Realising that no matter how much success one has achieved, one can still go wrong and make mistakes, makes you humble too.

Criticism by others, in itself is not always bad. Be open to criticism, but don’t be affected by it. If you can use criticism constructively, it can help you to become a better person or do things in a better way. Appreciate the constructive and ignore the destructive criticism.

Sometimes, the problem is not with the criticism, it is with the critics. Critics, often are like those who know the way, but cannot drive the car, or worse who know how you need to drive, but don’t know to drive themselves.

Criticism by such critics is the defence reaction, that scared people use to protect themselves against change. One good way to handle such critics is to be yourself, do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you will be criticised anyway.

You will be damned if you do and damned if you don’t. And always remember this. If people criticise you, shout at you, hurt you, or are just upset at you for no reason, don’t bother; just note that in every game it is the spectators who make much of the noise and not the players.

But all criticism is not bad. Never assume that every critic is a hater. Some people are telling you the truth. Criticism can be the vital information that helps you in your growth or success.

Critics can always have their opinion, but you will have the final say on how much it is going to impact you. Use it as a motivation to improve yourself or your performance.

Here are a few things to remember about criticism:

  1. Learn to see the difference between constructive criticism and destructive criticism. Appreciate the constructive criticism and ignore the destructive one.
  2. Constructive criticism is information that will help you to grow. So keep your eyes and ears open.
  3. If you are not open to constructive criticism, then you are not open to growing as a person.
  4. Take criticism seriously, but not personally. He or she who has not been through what you have been through has no right to criticise you.
  5. If you have to make a choice between being ruined by a praise and being saved by a criticism, opt for the latter without any hesitation.
  6. Positive criticism is a friend, insincere flattery, a fake friend.
  7. Never allow other people’s criticism stop you from achieving something they can’t provide.
  8. If criticism has left you with a feeling of being helped, then be thankful to the critic.
  9. When you are not attached to praise or criticism, you experience an unusual, yet interesting freedom.
  10. If you find criticism to be unreasonable or unjust, just ignore and move on. Do not retaliate.

Worry less, smile more. Accept criticism, take responsibility. Listen and love. Don’t hate. Embrace change, feel good and feel positive. There’s nothing stronger and more powerful than seeing how you can build a castle from the stones that people throw at you.

Stay strong, motivated and creatively transform criticism into your own success.

Improve your own life, be so busy with your own growth and success that you have very little time to criticise others.

Be an encourager, the world already has enough critics. And if at all you have to criticise, have the heart to offer help first. Last but not the least, be proud of who you are, and never be ashamed of how others think you are.

Mr Bharatam is the founder and chief mentor of Kuza Biashara Limited, a capacity building organisation coaching youth and SME owners across Africa. He chairs Entrepreneurs’ Organization for Africa. He can be reached @Sbharatam or sri@kuzabiashara.co.ke.