Why Criticism Will Always Fail You

June 11, 2015


Being told what you’re doing isn’t good enough is never easy to hear.

In fact, often our first reaction is to become defensive, and we reason in our mind why that person feels that way, rather than admitting that we’re at fault.

It happens all the time in our day-to-day lives – tutors, parents, employers, even friends and family can harshly highlight our flaws, and we’re left feeling disheartened and resentful rather than motivated to improve.

I’ve been reading an incredible book called “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie (would seriously recommend this book to EVERYONE, or at least anyone interested in becoming successful in life), and it introduced the idea of how, if you want to win in the business world, you need support from others. Not a revolutionary idea but one that highlights the importance of inspiring others, not climbing over them, which is beautifully captured in this quote:

“Arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.”

Certainly, not every person in power is one that inspires you to be a better person (sometimes they’re not even a pleasant person at all!) but the best leaders are often distinguished by their natural charisma and ability to make everyone they encounter feel special. We all know the feeling:

“There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors”.

This week in particular I have really begun to notice the adverse effects of criticism. If you’re an Australian sporting fan, you’d know there was a tragic event that happened last year. That event has now been brought back into the attention of the media, with devastating effects for two parties. The delivery of the news seemed to make a horrifically tragic situation only worse. No one wins, no one’s happiness has improved, and in the end everyone is left defending themselves.

It’s easy to judge, criticise and complain, anyone can do that, but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

So when dealing with people, it is important to remember that we’re not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity. No one reacts well to their pride being assaulted, even if you have someone’s best intentions at heart, most of the time they won’t react the way you want them to.

Showing sincere appreciation can change a person’s life, so rather than picking at their flaws, highlight their strengths and help them to realise their true potential. It costs nothing to be a nice person, but can impact a person’s life more than you can ever know.

Try it.

This week, smile more at strangers, appreciate how truly special your friends and family are and, if you encounter new people in your life (whether it be at the gym, at work, or out) have a sincere appreciation for them, for every person on this Earth is special.

Trust me, you’ll notice a huge difference. Smiling will come easily as you you feel an increased confidence and optimism, and also an incredible new energy which only manifests greater things in your life.

Until next time,

Anna x


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