It’s a mistake to listen to the negative criticism of others.
It’s tempting to let them into your world. The critics are giving advice. At least they are paying you some attention. But listening to the negative critics is a mistake.
Sometimes the criticism is in your face. But many critics have learned the art of giving criticism in subtle ways.
You may have heard comments like these:
- What makes you think you can do that? (Translation: You don’t have the needed skills to succeed.)
- I’m not sure you will be able to make that happen. (Translation: You lack creativity.)
- You’ve tried that before and it didn’t work. (Translation: You never learn from your mistakes.)
- It’s a great goal but that’s going to take a lot of work. (Translation: You are too lazy to get it done.)
- That will take an Einstein to accomplish that goal! (Translation: You are too dumb to figure it out.)
Negative criticism hurts. It kills dreams. It can cause you to cave in and prevent forward movement. It threatens to make you a permanent resident in the Land of Mediocrity.
If this describes you, then you are not free from the negative criticism of others.
One of the core principles of the ReFIRE process reminds us we must be FREE to live our own lives. This includes being free from the negative criticism of others. Last week I wrote an article titled “Stop Worrying About What Others Think: Get a Tattoo.”
This present article explores the 5 reasons it is a mistake to listen to the criticism of others.
1. People who give you negative criticism don’t want you to succeed.
When I lost a lot of weight people began to tell me how sick I looked. I even heard a few say it made me look much older. It shocked me to realize they weren’t happy with my success. Why not? I believe my success made them feel like failures. They wanted me to remain like them: overweight and unhealthy.
Negative criticism from others might be a sign you are on the right track. It might mean your success is making those around you who are not successful, feel uncomfortable. Keep on going. Refuse to give in to those who try to hold you back to their level.
2. People who give you negative criticism don’t have all the facts.
People are quick to jump to the conclusions. They examine a few facts and rush to judgement. This is one reason why people hand out negative criticism like politicians kissing babies during the campaign. Your critics simply do not have all the facts.
Why would you allow someone to stop your forward progress with “advice” based on only part of the facts? They might be good people but their criticism is flawed because of a lack of information.
3. People who give you negative criticism don’t have their own lives together.
Imagine a hack writer like me giving prolific writer Stephen King advice on how to improve his writing. Ridiculous! He is a master writer and I struggle to avoid the use of the passive tense.
Do you see how the analogy fits when you think of your critics? Many of them are struggling to get their own life on track. Their life journey is riddled with miscues and bad decisions. Why would you allow them to give you direction on how to run your life?
When you receive negative criticism consider the source. If the one criticizing you has a terrific life and a track record of making good choices you might want to pay attention. But most of the time you will discover the criticism is coming from someone who ought to look in the mirror and give advice to themselves.
4. People who give you negative criticism are not required to live by the criticism they give.
Critics have the luxury of giving advice which doesn’t impact their lives. They can tell you to stop trying because the goal is out of your reach. They can let you know you didn’t do good enough. They say any negative thing which crosses their mind. But at the end of the day they can go home to their own life.
The negative critic has no skin in your game. They can try to destroy you or bring you down but it’s YOUR life, not theirs. You are the one who must make the right choices. You will live with the consequences of your decisions, not the negative critics.
Make the decision to allow the negative words of the critic to fall harmlessly to the ground. Change nothing. Keep dreaming. Keep believing. Keep striving. Live your life.
You can never make the rest of your life the best of life unless you are free.