Earlier that day I was sitting in my class and was eagerly waiting for my test papers. I had done my exams really well and I was confident about an easy distinction. But it didn’t turn out how I expected. I got only in 70s and I was thoroughly upset. I argued with my professor for each mark he deducted from my answers, and he kept explaining why he did so. I gave up and blamed it on my professor that he has no idea about evaluation. The same continued for many more subjects. And though I worked harder and got better marks later, I just learnt those lessons better that were given in the my textbooks and which helped me to get good marks, not the lessons I had to learn from the critics I received from my professors.
The same story continues with my parents, friends and other people. I react furiously to the criticism I receive, the good ones boost my confidence and the bad ones boost my temper. In this process, I stopped learning and all my friends, whom I was considered as idiots once, grew into better people and students than me. What is that factor that had stopped me from learning more in life, why is that I am unable to handle criticism, why do I feel depressed and melancholy.
One of my good friends shared a link to the website which was going to reveal the answers I was looking for. As I was going through their blog about criticism, I read a quote that really hit my mind like the hammer of mighty Thor! And the quote said, “Nothing closes an open mind like ego”. It made so much sense to me and I was forced to leave all my work apart and think, is it why am still stuck where I was a year ago? Is it the reason why am still getting bad criticism about my work and attitude. In a moment, I was able to realize what is my problem. The good criticism not just boosted my confidence, they were growing my ego too.
There were few things that I understood about criticism after reading that website and I would love to share them with you:
1) Criticism can sometimes be a mirror to your attitude, just try to listen to the criticism you receive and look at yourself, how many of them are true and how many of them are just misconceptions, you will understand by yourself.
2) If you receive criticism about your work, if you have enough courage to accept them, you will work hard to improve yourself.
3) They open new perspective to you and expand your thinking. Your boss says the colors in the sketch of the small girl are not attractive and convincing, so why not experiment with new colors. Who knows how close you are in creating a masterpiece.
4) Criticism teach you how to forgive and be strong. It is not easy to talk friendly and think positive about the person who just called you immature and arrogant, is it?
5) It sometimes makes you realize that the knowledge and intelligence you were holding on to maybe needs to be changed. That’s how people learn to live in the world which is happening today, not which existed in the past.
My best friend keeps telling me, “Krishna, you are going to have problems everywhere and with everyone. Its not because you are always right, but you don’t accept your mistakes.” I apologise to you my dearest friend, and I know somewhere he is smiling reading this. But I have realized now how criticism can turn you upside down and how I can use them for my own growth. It’s a beginning of a new development of my thoughts and I hope you have gained something good from this post. Your stories and criticism are welcome.