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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

TEN TIPS FOR TAKING CRITICISM

1. Understand the difference between constructive and destructive criticism. To determine the motive behind the confrontation, ask yourself some questions. First, in what spirit is it given? Look beyond the words and determine the motives. Second, when is the criticism given? Times of confrontation must be shared privately, not within public view or hearing. Third, why is the criticism given? This question deals with the attitude of the critic.

2. Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you can develop the ability to laugh at yourself, you will be much more relaxed when given or giving criticism.

3. Look beyond the criticism and see the critic. When someone comes to me with news about another person, I am more interested in the person who said it than what was said. Keep in mind certain considerations regarding your critic: First, is it someone whose character you respect? Second, is this person frequently critical? Is criticism a pattern?

4. Watch your own attitude toward the critic. A negative attitude toward criticism can be more destructive than the criticism itself.

5. Realize that good people get criticized. Jesus, whose motives were pure and character was spotless, was called a glutton (Matt. 11:19), a drunkard (Luke 7:34), a Samaritan (John 8:48), and a friend of sinners (Matt. 11:19 and Mark 2:16).

6. Keep physically and spiritually in shape. Physical exhaustion has a tremendous effect on the way we act and react; it distorts the way we see and handle life.

7. Don’t just see the critic; see if there’s a crowd. I’m suggesting that you expand your vision; go beyond the critic and see if he has a cheering section. Consider the possibility that you are hearing the same criticism from several people. If this is the case, and the critics are reliable, you need to realize that you have a challenge to work on. If, on the other hand, you’re dealing with a pocket group of negative people, your challenge is to not be affected by them.

8. Wait for a time to prove them wrong. Time is your best ally; it allows you to prove yourself right. Often, as events unfold, the cause for criticism is eliminated and you will be vindicated. Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the most loved president of the United States, was also the most criticized president. Probably no politician in history had worse things said about him. Here’s how the Chicago Times in 1865 evaluated Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address the day after he delivered it: “The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, and dish-watery utterances of a man who has been pointed out to intelligent foreigners as President of the United States.” Time, of course, has proved this scathing criticism wrong.

9. Surround yourself with positive people. When you have optional time, spend it with people who will build you up. Enough quality time with positive people will minimize the effect of negative criticism. It will also discourage you from being critical.

10. Concentrate on your mission—change your mistakes. Most people do exactly the opposite—they change their mission and concentrate on their mistakes. If you run from your task each time you make a mistake, you will never accomplish anything. You will always be in a state of frustration and defeat. The only real mistakes in life are the mistakes from which we learn nothing. So instead of dwelling on them, count on making them, learning from them, and moving on you finish the job.
From "Be A People Person" by John Maxwell