It’s a bitter pill. But the people who usually administer this drug are not necessarily doctors, a lot of them are impatient patients.
So, I learned early in my career to filter out. I can’t afford to waste precious man-hours responding to irresponsible critics. Besides, many of the so called ‘constructive criticisms’ out there are inherently destructive. And yes, it drains you of all positive energy.
However, there are a few constructive criticisms worth paying attention to. At some point, I had to learn to swallow my pride in order to swallow the bitter pill. Sometimes, these pills are thorny and can rip the heart apart. It’s obviously the reason people get irritated each time we try to force our opinions down their throats.
Here’s what I usually do before taking the bitter pill:
I only take drugs that are prescribed. Then I carry out a little background checks on the person who authorised the prescription. It’s my filtering process. With this, I know who gets my attention and ensure I’m not entertaining more drama than I can handle.
Now, if the critic is an authority in my field, I pay closer attention. He’s probably trying to guide me against making same mistake he suffered years back. A dose from such credible individual or mentor could nourish the mind. And don’t forget, it comes free of charge!
So I embrace it. You know, if we must get any better, we have to take our medications as prescribed, maybe once daily.
Conversely, there are folks who have no basic knowledge of art, yet they are art critics. They have done nothing to earn such lofty position. In fact, they are self acclaimed art critics.
These are folks whose criticisms are mainly based on sentiments or need for attention. And so, their critique of creative works is often through a narrow, subjective prism.
I handle them differently.
For instance, if you’re feeling feverish, you are almost certain that your friends and relatives would do just about anything to help you get better; but you also know they are the least qualified people to give medical advice regarding fever.
They are doing the best they can because they care about you or feel they should be there for you. So they exhibit impulsive behaviours. But you need much more than that to feel better, hence, you must seek the advice of an expert – a medical doctor.
Now, the doctor may not be nicest person around. Instead of administering paracetamol for a quick relief, he might opt for a chloroquine tablet. Of course it’s bitter. You know it. He knows too. This drug makes you uncomfortable. It’s itchy. You are probably going to scratch your body all day. But for a better relief, the latter is better.
It’s clear from the analogy above how I have chosen to handle critics and criticisms. Truth they say, is bitter. We just have to learn to suck it up sometimes. But first, learn to filter.
Find out who your critics are, run a quick background check on them to determine why they often criticize your work.
A constructive criticism should make you better at what you do. Walk away from criticisms that are not beneficial – one that does not suggest a better way to improve your work.
Lastly, don’t be so quick to attack a silly critic, just walk away. Some only want to get your attention. Refuse to get caught up in their snare of negativity. Ignore them and watch as they die in silence. Moreover, you can’t afford to lose your positive vibe so cheaply. Can you?