“All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.” ―Anonymous

sunset

Rainbow Sky” Photo Credit to Tim Sees

It is true that the weather does not have to take criticism. The weather is above such plebeian worries as deadlines, bills, and pleasing customers. I am not lucky enough to be as carefree as the weather, so when criticism is offered, I make the best of it. This equates to using criticism as a learning experience. The things I like to keep in mind when receiving criticism are “how can this help me in the future?”, “is this constructive?”, and “am I being honest with myself?”

Now I’m not saying that every bit of criticism is valid (there are trolls in the world, after all!) but most suggestions are really helpful if we can keep an open mind and not take it personally. Being receptive to critiquing is particularly difficult when someone suggests changing something you’re really proud of. It’s hard to shake off the nettling feeling that “they’re wrong and I’m right”, but the truth is, other eyes don’t always share our rose-colored glasses. We might be overlooking some point that would be great for the piece, or not generating enough excitement for the part our client really wants to show enthusiasm for. Try not to let personal feelings get in the way of progress. We’re working to better ourselves and our product, after all!

Not all criticism is created equal, though. One of the more discouraging types of criticism might be better labelled as “micro-management”. This type of criticism is very frustrating because it tends to stifle the very creativity you were hired to use. What you have to remember in these situations is “they’re paying me to do this and I agreed to do the job, now see it through.” It can become soul crushing to work with someone who feels your work needs constant revision, but everything comes to an end sometime, even a trying assignment! There are times, however, when it’s best to cut your losses. Some paychecks aren’t worth the stress.

On the other hand, if I felt micro-managed more often than not, I would have to take a step back and really try to tease out just why this person feels the need to watch over my shoulder.

  • Am I understanding what they’re asking for? Am I really listening to what they are saying?
  • Am I truly making a good effort to implement the improvements they feel are necessary?
  • Do I have enough information going into the project?
  • Is something preventing me from doing what they want?
  • Are we being realistic as to our expectations from each other?

Nobody wants to hire someone who can’t take constructive criticism. Really. Nobody. It’s important to remember that most people are offering their perspective in order to help get a better outcome. Good critics don’t want to ruin your day, they want to help you succeed. Take advice, mentoring and criticism with a positive attitude and use that information to make your next project truly great!

 

 

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