The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. – Norman Peale
What does that mean?
This is a sad truth about far too many of us. If we have a bad hair day, do we want to hear that we looked like a scarecrow, or do we want to be told that we looked pretty good?
If we did something poorly, would we rather hear praise for how wonderful we were, or be told we need to work on it some more? We could also turn the quote around and state that most people would rather say nice things, rather than risk annoying or angering someone by telling them that they did poorly, right?
Yet the quote states what happens far too often. Where some criticism might help us become better, we often try to avoid it when possible, and seek out praise instead. With our ears ringing with adulation, it’s hard to consider how we might improve. Mediocrity becomes the norm, and so we are ruined.
Why is constructive criticism important?
What is considered encouragement for a small child is often crippling for teens and adults. That doesn’t mean we jump on them with both feet and destroy them each time they make a mistake, that wouldn’t help. But they do need to know that they have areas where they need to improve.
If we don’t give people honest and appropriate feedback, they will continue to operate under a false and potentially damaging assumption about their abilities. Would you want to enter a talent contest because you so-called friends told you that you had some talent? Or would you rather find out that you don’t in front of a crowd of people?
The sooner you know, the sooner you can change your plans. You may set your sights on the talent contest for next year, and get some lessons between now and then. Perhaps your friends could give you an idea what you are good at, so that you can focus on it instead, right?
Where can I apply this in my life?
I see two main ways to apply this quote to our lives. The first is that we can seek out some constructive criticism in our lives and skills. The second is that we can be honest, and hopefully tactful, with others on their lives and skills.
The first can be very difficult to take, but if the people giving you advice are capable of tact, you should be able to get on with your life with minimal trouble. If you’re a little sensitive to criticism, you might have to toughen up a little, or ask people who will be a little more tactful first.
The second isn’t much easier, as you have to walk the fine line between offending someone and letting them know that they have an issue with which they need to address. Whether it is your best friend, an acquaintance, or your boss, you have to use a little tact, but you also have to make your point.
Back to the first part, how well do you take criticism? Yes, it depends on how it is presented, but how gentle does someone have to be so you don’t fall apart? Does it vary from topic to topic? In my experience, that’s usually the case. Where are you most sensitive to criticism?
What can you do be less sensitive? How about separating yourself and your self worth from the skill or aspect of yourself which is being discussed? Can you imagine that they are talking about someone else, and try to give their suggestions some consideration?
What about giving suggestions to others, how well do you do that? Do people seek you out for advice, or do they run away when you try to steer the conversation towards giving them advice? That should give you a clue about your ability to be tactful, right?
How can you be more sensitive to the feedback you are getting from the other person as you are giving them advice? It’s a pretty sure bet that if they wince, you’re probably going a little harder than they are prepared to take, right? Yes you’re trying to help, but it only works if they will listen.
Each person is unique, so each will need to be handled in a unique manner. That means one size doesn’t fit all. You will need to respond to feedback and adjust your methods, or learn to hold your tongue and let others speak instead.
Would you rather have your feelings hurt, or would you rather take the fall brought on by false beliefs and praise fueled pride? Either way, it won’t be pleasant, but either way, you will choose.
From: Twitter, @DavidRoads
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/normanvinc109427.html
Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center