How to Keep Criticism From Killing Your Dreams.
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticised anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.
Criticism is something we have all experienced in our lives at one point or another. I know I certainly have. We can be criticised for just about anything – from the relationship we are in, to the friendships we keep, to the clothes we wear, the colour or style of our hair, the work that we do, for speaking up about something we feel passionate about…the list goes on.
Aristotle once said “There is only one way to avoid criticism. Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” I would be inclined to take this a step further and say you will even be criticised for doing nothing. So if we are going to be criticised irrespective of what we do (or don’t do), we may as well do what we want.
In this article, I share 3 key strategies to keep criticism from killing your dreams.
1. RECOGNISE YOU ARE NOT ALONE
As human beings, we often fall into the trap of thinking that our problems are unique to ourselves. But this could not be further from the truth. We face remarkably similar problems and challenges – they may just be disguised or dressed up in different ways.
Here are some examples of people who refused to let criticism kill their dreams:
- The Beatles were rejected by multiple record labels. Some notable responses included “Guitar groups are on the way out” and “The Beatles have no future in show business.”
- Vincent Van Gogh was not only verbally criticised, but shunned for his work. He only managed to sell one painting during his lifetime.
- J. K. Rowling received a letter whilst seeking to be published that claimed, “Children just aren’t interested in witches and wizards anymore.”
- Marilyn Monroe was told by a modelling agency, “You better get secretarial work or get married.”
- Henry Ford was told that “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad.”
If these individuals had listened to all the criticism, they would not have gone on to be the artists, authors, performers, inventors or change-makers that we know today. Recognise that criticism comes when you try to do just about anything. You are not alone.
2. CHOOSE HOW YOU WILL RESPOND TO IT
It’s apparent that criticism is something that can’t be controlled. It is a fact of life and something that we must learn to deal with. Whilst we cannot control criticism from occurring, we can choose we respond to it.
Create a strategy for how you are going to deal with criticism as you work towards your goals and your dreams. Here are some suggested strategies you can adopt:
- Verbal criticism: Politely say “thank you for sharing your view on __________ . I appreciate your feedback, however ___________ feels more closely aligned to my brand / vision / goals / the direction I want to take this in etc.”
- Social Media Comments: Either don’t read the comments, or implement a ‘block and delete’ policy. I personally do not feel the need to engage or give my time or energy to keyboard warriors.
- Criticism from friends, family and others: Be careful who you listen to. Don’t accept any criticism from people who aren’t living the life you want to be living. Instead, ask for feedback from people who you aspire to be like. Listen to those who are in a similar position to the one you want to be in, in say the next 5, 10 or 20 years from now.
3. LIVE FOR YOURSELF, AND NOT FOR OTHERS
Criticism can be completely debilitating, and prevent us from living the life we are capable of living. I know it may seem easier than it’s done, however start by considering how you can start to live more for yourself, and less for others.
Start by taking action. This is your life and it is time for you to start living it. It’s time for you to shine. To do the life-changing, passionate work that you were destined to do. To fulfil your dreams, your goals, your aspirations. If you never take that first step forward, you’ll always stay in the same place.
KEEP CRITICISM FROM KILLING YOUR DREAMS
What are some methods or practices you’ve adopted, or would like to adopt to prevent criticism from killing your dreams? I would love to hear your thoughts, please leave your comments below!