Lesson 32: The Paradoxical Positive Power of Taking Criticism

by | Apr 8, 2017

The Paradoxical Positive Power of Taking Criticism

The Paradoxical Positive Power of Taking Criticism 



Criticism Can Be a Good Thing


Criticism.  The very word often makes people cringe.  As I have previously shared seeking and receiving feedback is way different than criticism.  Criticism is rarely invited and is often done not directly to one’s face or even in earshot.  Ironically enough, there is paradoxical positive power in taking criticism.  Really?  Can good ever come from it?


For the person who delivers the negativity, it certainly says something about their character.  But understand that no one ever does anything worthwhile for which they are not criticized.  Think about it.



Steve Jobs Was Criticized


Steve Jobs was the founder of Apple.  His vision, his hard work, his passion and ideas created the foundation for that amazing company.  Yet, Steve Jobs was not well-liked.  His employees criticized his personality and lack of people skills.  His board of directors attacked his lack of people skills, but more importantly to them, his vision and direction for taking the company.  The board hired John Scully from Pepsi both to keep Steve in check, and to have a backup plan for getting rid of him.

They fired Steve Jobs from his company.  Years later, when Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy and floundering badly; they brought Steve back.  This time no amount of criticism stuck on Steve Jobs because they realized this time that his ideas and vision was worthwhile.


See Related Blog:  3 Perfect Paths to a Tenacious Life


Movement Always Creates Friction


This is a simple but very meaningful example of the paradoxical positive power of taking criticism.  People love the idea of making great sweeping changes, until those changes land at their front door.  Change always creates movement and movement always creates friction.

The sure fire way to complete failure is to try and please everybody.  It is a nice thought, but nearly impossible to do IF you are improving and pursuing worthwhile endeavors.

Remember, there is no plateau.  There is no point where you and I can scream, “Yeah!  I have arrived.  I am done.”  Other than, in heaven.  Otherwise, we are either moving forward or backward.  What will it be for you?



Develop a Tough Skin


Nobody likes criticism.  It is not like people go out make sweeping changes and hope that they are cut to shreds by people’s words and deeds.  Leaders of all kinds, understand that criticism is part of life.  Purpose-driven people recognize that they need to have a tough skin, and not let the naysayers and their comments get to their heart.

They also know that criticism is inevitable.  If you are never criticized, perhaps you are not moving forward, pushing hard enough, or maybe, your expectations are way too low?






Homework Points

  1. Consider criticism – are you making changes?
  2. Who gives you good feedback?
  3. Who is helping you be better and move forward?