Three Reasons to Listen Up

We all know the saying, “Everyone’s a critic,” and to be sure, people do love to make their opinions heard, whether they’re an expert on the subject or not.  At times, we may even begin to tire of being, what seems, constantly criticized.  But there are three great reasons why we should take a breath, step back and listen up each and every time.

Number one, criticism will always, no matter who it’s coming from, give you another perspective on your work.  Sometimes what we really need is an outside perspective, whether we realize it or not.  Think about it this way, why do you think that there are movie critics and food critics?  The greatest value they can give a director or a chef is their unique perspective.  That director or that chef can then take their perspective and incorporate it into their work.  It brings a whole new dynamic to what they do.

Number two, criticism gives you the full picture of what your work means to other people.  It is only through a truthful critique that you can really know whether or not you’re doing a good job.  Isn’t that important?  If you really care about your work, if you have a passion for what you do, then criticism should be a vital part of what you produce.

Number three, criticism teaches you something.  It teaches you about your audience, what the public thinks.  It teaches you about the impact your work is or isn’t making.  It teaches you to take a second or even third look at your work.

With an open mind, criticism can truly improve your work, making it stronger and more meaningful.  Take any person in history who has made a huge difference in the world, the Wright Brothers for example.  If they didn’t study and critique the work of those who came before them, it would have taken them a much longer time to get a plane off the ground!

Here’s a challenge for you.  The next time your work is criticized, say thank you to that person and really mean it!  Remember all the amazing things he or she just did for you.  You just gained knowledge.  You gained insight into the public’s view of what you do for a living.  Then take that criticism and find a way to make your work better because of it.  Ask yourself what you learned because of that critique and then find a way to apply it.  Do your best not to let any criticism affect you negatively, because it’s you who will be missing out.

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