5 Reasons to Embrace Criticism

In recent months, I have experienced more outside criticism than at any other point in my life. While I have always known, in the back of my mind, that people will always ’say what they will say’, it has been brought to the forefront of my attention recently as I have been made acutely aware of my critics through a variety of means.

I admit that it has taken some getting used to. Our natural reaction to criticism is to defend ourselves, our positions and our opinions. We want to try to convince other to see the merits in our cases. However, the successful persons reaction to criticism must be non-reaction. It has been told to me by several successful people whom I hold in high regard that: “successful people are immune to criticism.”

Well, in order to build up an immunity you must first have exposure. Therefore, this week I wanted to throw out 5 reasons why one should embrace criticism:

1. It means you are taking risks and putting yourself out there

You won’t have much personal growth if you aren’t taking risks. Risk taking, whether small or large, forces us outside our comfort zones (which are often outside the comfort zones of most other people, too). When you step out and do things that other people are too scared or too lazy to do, it makes them want to tear at you. I take comfort in the fact that I do things in business and in life that most other people are either too scared, too lazy or too risk averse to do.

The more things you do that others won’t, the more things you will have that others don’t.

2.It means other people are thinking about you when you aren’t around

For me, it is pretty flattering when someone is thinking about me when I am not around them. For someone to criticize you, it means that they are thinking about you in their spare time. You see, they have to come up with their words at some point in time and most of them don’t say the same things to your face that they write anonymously on the internet.

If you don’t have enough going on in your own life that you have to think about someone else (and negative things at that) then you must not be in that good of a place.

3. It means you are hitting above average

If others are openly criticizing you, relax: those at the top of their profession are almost always under attack.

Think about professional athletes. They are almost always under an absolute barrage of critical media attention. They don’t get a break. Think about the executives that run major corporations: they are probably criticized on a daily basis by everyone from their peers to shareholders and especially from employees.

4. It means you’ve caused someone to think

If you are doing things right and driving as much value as you can, then you should probably be thankful when someone criticizes you because you have pushed all thoughts of Dancing with the Stars, American Idol,and their upcoming weekend activities out of their head and replaced it with you.

This should be good news for anybody. After all, as a business person, you are competing for customer attention and dollars from marketers and information sources from all across the world. If you’ve managed to put your brand, your opinion or your information in front of someone in light of other competing factors then you have just won yourself a big victory.

5. It is a healthy reminder to stay focused

Focus is one of the most important elements of success. The human brain will only allow for so many inputs and outputs in its algorithm before it gets thrown off track. If you are focusing in and keying on the right areas of your business, then criticism should serve to galvanize that focus even more for you. It should confirm that you are on the right track: thinking, talking about and doing the right things.

So, there you have it: another Tuesday Top 5.

I know that neither you (or I) will be able to turn our feelings on and off like a light switch. It takes time and practice. I am willing to be that it took Michael Jordan a couple of seasons in the NBA before he got used to all of the media spotlight and negative comments that other players and the press were making about him. He simply went on to become the greatest player of his generation (at least) and revolutionized the game of professional basketball.

Embrace and become immune to criticism or get eaten up by it. The choice is yours.