How to Handle Criticism

Recently, my pastor Josh Howerton has been speaking on the book of Proverbs. Proverbs is overflowing with metaphors and analogies of the wise and the foolish. And one of the difference between the wise and the foolish is how they accept criticism and correction. 

First, let’s look at the foolish. The foolish people are the ones who are most unwilling to accept criticism. When a person corrects you, regardless of the reason, a foolish person refuses to take ownership of the error and change. Sometimes they even scoff at the wisdom that is offered to them and they belittle it. 

However, the wise are those that are willing to take critiques and improve their work. Some of the most successful people are those that were willing to take instruction and improve their craft. Dave Ramsey says that you follow the example of those that you want to emulate. So if you want to get better at saving, you follow the example of the those who have learned how to save and turn their finances into wealth. 

Now, accepting correction has been something I have had to handle in spades recently. As I have been working on my book, the biggest area I have been undertaking this summer has been editing and revisions. So, that means I have to look at my work and see what’s wrong with it. Even harder than correcting yourself, is when others correct it. I have to give my good friend Brian a lot of credit. He has been so overwhelmingly helpful in my writing. He has been very objective in offering feedback. Now, it isn’t easy to hear that something you wrote doesn’t make enough sense or that a sentence could be better this way. However, in light of what I’ve been learning about, I have had to be more willing to accept evaluations of my work. 

Now, sometimes criticism is done harshly or even unjustly. But what I am speaking to is when a friend or a colleague offers you corrections on an area with some validity. Whether it is a boss saying how you can improve productivity, or in my case, how I can improve my book. 

Most bloggers offer some sort of list like, 10 ways to be accept criticism. I am not going to go that route. But I just want to say that in order to be more successful., sometimes you have to accept criticism and grow from it. Sometimes there really is wisdom in learning from our mistakes and improving upon them. We just need to be discerning enough to glean the nuggets of truth from that correction.

L. Danny Valencia