Words they say are powerful. As humans, we are wired to appreciate good compliments. We all like to feel good. But what about words that are not pleasant to the eyes and to the mind. What happens when you expected a commendation, but got criticized instead? That might weigh you down. Or you were given an assignment and you tried your best to surpass the expectations of your boss. You turned in the assignment and alas, it was turned down. You were told you didn’t do it well.
Although you can’t predict or control people’s reaction or comments, you can choose or control how you will respond – positively or negatively. You can choose to ignore what is being said or you can take a constructive look at it and use the comments to get better; to realize that you can actually do more and grow by the day.
Another thing to note is that no matter how hard you try, you cannot satisfy everyone – even if you are a philanthropist. However, you shouldn’t ignore whatever is being said; you should look inwards and see what can be done differently.
Here are some ideas to do things differently when criticized.
- Have an open mind: When you are given an assignment to do, prepare your mind for any kind of feedback – good or bad – regardless of how much effort you think you have put into it. With this, when you are criticized, you won’t be shocked to your bones. So be prepared; see the criticism as a constructive one.
- Know that there is always room for improvement: Continuous development is very key in life and in whatever career one is pursuing. You might not find a perfect work or professional in the world. This means that there is always room for improvement even if you already have 30 years of experience. There will always be new things to learn. That being said, when you are criticized, be calm, honestly review the criticism, get the message and make necessary amendments.
- Don’t dwell too much on criticism in your mind: The human mind is wired to smile at nice words and at the same time wired to frown at unpleasant words. So don’t kill yourself if you notice you are unhappy after being criticized. What you do immediately you are criticized will make the difference – you can choose to dwell on the criticism for long and be moody throughout the whole day or you can choose to improve. The choice is yours. The best thing to do is to take it off your mind as soon as possible so that you can concentrate on improving yourself.
- Be humble enough to accept you may be wrong: Whilst we all strive for perfection, know that as humans, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. This means that no matter how hard we try, there will or might be a flaw in whatever we do. So instead of being defensive when someone points out your limitations, be humble enough and accept your flaws. Say “Thank you” and move on.
- Deal wisely with unruly critics: It is true that some people are just ‘pain in the a##’ and will never see the good in what you do. They could be so frustrating when you know you have put in your best. In times like this, you should first realize that that is how they are and that their feedback will always not be positive. When that is settled in your mind, you won’t be distressed or have emotional pain. But you have to relate with them wisely and with respect. Don’t brush off what they are saying, don’t let your body language show that they are only ranting. Be receptive, do the best you can do and move on. Don’t overwork yourself trying to please them – you can’t. You might need to discuss with a mentor or a more senior boss who can speak with the critic on your behalf. Whatever approach you take, be wise about it!
- Believe in your abilities: This is a step further from the point above. If you know you are trying your best to deliver on your responsibilities, believe in yourself and in your ability to deliver an excellent job. It’s just like a student who is studying hard for an examination; such student will be confident of an excellent grade. If you are criticized and it’s not a constructive one, just smile and say thank you. That will be all.