Do You Value Criticism?

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” – N. V. Peale

As a young person, my dad critiqued and questioned every project and idea I had. He would always add that he just wanted to make them better. Growing up, I am not sure I always appreciated his constructive criticism. I am much older and my dad passed away many years ago. Strangely enough, whenever I come up with a new idea, I now stop and think, “what would dad say?”

A very smart 13-year-old told me that one should always ask for help. There are many people who are looking for a chance to help you and all you have to do is ask them to critique your work. You, of course, have to be willing to actively listen and take notes. After which you will need to spend some time reflecting on their comments and take what makes sense to you.

Looking at your ideas from other people’s perspective leads you to envision your project in action. Constructive criticism from others is great when provided by people who care about you. They could be your parents, your teachers, or your friends. Yes, you are not going to agree with everything they have to say. This is normal. 

I had my days when my dad seemed like my worst enemy. As a parent, I now understand. Always remember that your parents mean well when they criticize your thoughts, actions, or ideas. Yes, they have more experience and they think they know better. Your role is not to get offended by what they say. You can take these thoughts, reflect on them, and use what works for you. If your parents are willing to debate their thoughts, give them and yourself the opportunity to do so. You will surely find a way to save your ideas. Remember: Your parents want to see you happy and successful.

Your teachers can be your greatest ally. Teachers want to see their students succeed. They care about you and this is why they chose to teach. Reach out to them and ask them to be your mentors.

And don’t forget your friends. Beware. The saying goes: tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are. Choose your close friends wisely and they will stand by you as you figure out your way to success.

My dad always encouraged me to ask other people for their opinion if I did not like what he had to say. His advice: The more critiques you receive, the higher the chances are that your ideas will succeed.

Many years later, I now know he was right. Thanks for the advice dad! May you rest in peace.

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