Thoughts On Criticism

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 0 Comments A+ a-

After graduating from high school, I went to Kent State University to study Visual Communication Design. It was a rigorous program, and only about 25% of the students who enter the program graduate from it. I remember freshman year a lot of students having a tough time with their work being critiqued.

I would spend hours on end working on a project, show it to the teacher, and essentially be told, in a nice way, that is was garbage, and that I needed to try again, and put more thought into it next time.

On critique days, we'd hand our projects up for our classmates to give constructive criticism, pointing out everything they thought was wrong with it. And, sometimes it WAS everything that was wrong with it. And, you know what? I never once cried. I was never once upset. I appreciated every comment. I wasn't the best student in the class, and this was how I learned. This was how WE learned. This was how we got better.

Upon graduating, I recall my boss tiptoeing around a way to sweetly tell me he didn't like something I was working on. I laughed that he thought I couldn't handle that sort of criticism. I was handling worse criticism than that every day for the past 4 years at school. In fact, I had missed it. My work had grown stale since leaving college. What was this odd new reality in which you couldn't tell people what they were doing wrong? Where they could improve?

When it comes to criticism, I welcome it with open arms. I know that's the only way I get better, and I want to get better. 

I wish everyone would see criticism this way. I think too often we get stuck in the "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all," which isn't always good to follow. Sometimes people need to be criticized. Political figures? You better criticize them. Individuals running for public office? It's CRUCIAL to criticize them. It's your duty as an American citizen to criticize them. As part of a democracy, the people you elect will represent you. Failing to question them means allowing democracy to fail.  

Do you welcome criticism or would you rather avoid it? Leave a comment below. As always, I read and respond to each and every one. :) 
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