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Handling Criticism: The Art of Keeping Your Dream Alive

The moment you embark on a journey to accomplish something, criticism becomes part of that journey. Not everyone, including your spouse or c...

The moment you embark on a journey to accomplish something, criticism becomes part of that journey.

Not everyone, including your spouse or close friends, may understand your calling. Don’t be discouraged, it has happened before, and it may happen to you.

By @Comic24Derick

To overcome this, first, develop a thick skin because you will need it. Accept who you are, pursue your passion to reach your destination.

Accept criticism

Despite how hard you try to steer away from criticism, it will always come. So don’t act to please people by avoiding your critiques.

Be careful, your chosen advisors might lead you astray, far away from your path towards success. Other negative opinions directed at you, are not about you but for your critiques.

It’s about their past, shortcomings, and fears. But be ready for them, and know they will pounce. Stay alert to handle criticism when it comes.

What does criticism mean to you?

“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” – Franks A. Clark.
“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” (Image:

As a lawyer and politician who served in the United States Congress for 20 years, Clark understood what it meant to be judged, whether you are right or wrong. In his chosen career, he had to face it daily, sometimes trying to please everyone.

He, however, says criticism should have a clear objective and be packaged in a deliberate way to build a person’s reputation rather than destroy his motivation and purpose. When criticism comes from a respected person, it has a high chance of being accepted.

Don’t be misled by bootlickers

Choosing to hear your name being praised, even when you have accomplished nothing is a self-defeating exercise done by praise singers. This will not make you grow. Leaders often fall into this trap, when their subordinates are afraid to tell them when they have erred.

Being praised is good but when it becomes a daily routine, it will ruin you and make you stagnant in life as observed by Norman Vincent Peale. “The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”

Everyone needs correction

Willie Mays played professional baseball for 22 seasons and is regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Despite his documented success, including being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, the oldest living Baseball Hall of Famer allowed criticism in his life.

“In order to excel, you must be completely dedicated to your chosen sport,” said Mays. “You must also be prepared to work hard and be willing to accept constructive criticism. Without one-hundred percent dedication, you won’t be able to do this.”

Humble yourself

It only takes a humble spirit to accept that they are also human, and they also need correction to become great. From the above statement, Mays was one such player, leading him to become a celebrated sports personality. Being successful doesn’t make you immune to correction.

LeBron James is often compared to Michal Jordan on who is the greatest player between the two. The NBA player has not allowed this comparison to spoil his game, or get into his head.

Rather, he has stayed focused on his demanding role, focused on winning more accolades for his team and make history. To show his humility, he said, “I like criticism,” said the player, selected a record 13 times to the All-NBA First Team. “It makes you strong.”

Selfish people hate correction

While others, especially politicians take criticism as a threat to their reign, 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature winner, Wole Soyinka believes otherwise. “The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism,” the Nigerian playwright said.

Soyinka’s outright attack on tyrant governments has made him many enemies. The majority of his writings highlight the oppression of citizens, earning a death sentence “in absentia.” But Soyinka believes that if uncensored, governments can become a liability to their people.

Not everyone is a critique

If you know something about a subject, it doesn’t qualify you to offer correction. The opinion of the masses, even when it is positive, doesn’t mean that it is the right path to follow, because the crowd may lead you astray.

According to Johannes Kepler, only the input of highly regarded people should be taken seriously. “I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses,” mentioned the astrologer.

Regarded as one of the greatest musicians of his generation, Prince was a smart artist. The late performer was comfortable across multiple genres and often played most or all instruments on recordings. 

“I like constructive criticism from smart people,” he commented.

How to shield criticism

Richards, an industrial and safety engineer, and environmental chemist understood animal behavior. He proposed a way to steer away from criticism. “If you keep your feathers well-oiled the water of criticism will run off as from a duck’s back,” Richards suggested.

You can’t please everyone

“You have to take criticism with a grain of salt because you’re never going to please everybody. – Yolanda Adams.

The entertainment industry can be brutal. When you are convinced that you have written a masterpiece, critiques will offer a negative review of your work. And if you are not strong, you will prematurely abandon your career.

In Adams' reasoning, creating music that will please every ear is impossible, so you need to have a target audience, who will appreciate your talents and urge you on.

Don’t be your own enemy

“Do not let yourself get in your own way. Don’t judge yourself and knock yourself down. There is enough of that out there already,” Valerie Azlynn stated. 

“Remember: you are an artist, and you bring something special to this craft. Take in notes and criticism, but don’t let them define you. Don’t try to become a watered-down version of yourself,” added Azlynn. 

The American actress knows that people can become their worst enemy, downplaying every move that you want to pursue, sometimes feeling you are not good enough. Artists must accept criticism but should not take it to heart for their benefit and progress.

As you ascend the ladder of greatness, you will encounter intense disapproval. “With a lot of attention comes criticism, but I’ll take that,” said American rapper, Saweetie. “I’m reaching all the goals I’ve set for myself, so you can’t say anything bad about that.”

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