Have you ever considered how much you could learn from criticism? Really, think about it. If you can keep an open mind and not get defensive, then the more criticism you receive, the more you would learn about your field and your audience. And the more you learn, the more talented you would become. It’s a cycle. With knowledge comes confidence and through knowledge and confidence, incredible work develops.
Of course, in this day-and-age, you are going to get criticism from not only experts, but from people who don’t even have a clue. People love to give their opinions, even if they don’t know anything about what you do. But the beauty of criticism is, you can learn from both groups of people.
Most people can easily blow off negative comments from someone who has no experience in their field, although you really shouldn’t because you can still learn something from them. But it’s with experts and with colleagues that people tend to have a hard time accepting negative observations. For some reason, people have a very hard time seeing past it.
But by definition, a critic is an expert in a particular field, who uses his or her vast knowledge to evaluate the authenticity of someone else’s work. Let’s take a food critic for example. The only way they get that job is by proving, through years of hard work, that they would be a superior judge of food quality and taste. So if you’re a chef in five-star restaurant and you receive a bad review from one of these critics, you have a choice to make. You can get angry and write them off as an idiot, or you can find something positive in that review. Now with the first option, you really don’t learn anything, and honestly, you just look like an arrogant snob.
But with the second option, by looking for the positive in a negative, you will be able to gain knowledge based on that critic’s experiences; experiences that are different from your own. You will also develop as a chef and as a person. Not to say that everything the critic writes is 100% truth. There could be several points that you do not agree with and rightly so, but if you can train yourself to take a deep breath and pull at least one or two positive aspects from their criticism, you will be amazed at how much you can learn. So bring on the criticism! And who knows, with enough criticism, maybe someday you will become the critic, and think about how much knowledge you would be able to share then.