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Criticism: Constructive or Catering

The problem with criticism is that it’s not constructive anymore. It’s a laundry list of all the things that you’ve done wrong, that you should’ve done right in one person’s opinion. To that fact, it’s also no one telling you how to do it right.

Criticism has been so opinionated that everyone can tell you how it should’ve been done by their standards. It’s so opinionated that it has created a complete impossibility to be constructive. People want you to do your things the way they want it done. And then they pass it off as being constructive. That’s not constructive. That’s a person wanting their opinion to be catered to. That’s catering criticism.

I believe constructive criticism points out the good and suggests how to make things better. That’s not the case anymore. And people have a tough time taking constructive criticism because it has become nothing more than an excuse for people to voice the fact that it wasn’t what they wanted.

Criticism is hard. Although we all know we aren’t perfect, the last thing we want is to be reminded of it by other imperfect people. I’ll admit that one of the hardest parts of writing a book was having it edited and critiqued. It was hard seeing how much I got wrong, but it was constructive because it made my book better.

Being imperfect beings, there will always be things we could have done better. It’s human nature. But, when it comes to our critics, we should always be able to be confident in ourselves and our work regardless of critical opinions. The catering critic wants it done his way. The constructive critic wants it done your way, but even better. If you’re receiving criticism that doesn’t improve your work, you may be dealing with a catering critic. They need to be instructed on the “how-to’s” of proper criticism.

In the meantime, I think it’s always important to be your own worst critic. Don’t give that power to anyone else.

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