One act of beneficence, one act of real usefulness, is worth all the abstract sentiment in the world.
-- Ann Radcliffe



Saturday, September 21, 2002

Positive response

The best way to handle criticism from others is not to respond with criticism of your own. The best response to criticism is to seek true understanding. Sometimes others may have a valid reason to criticize you, and sometimes they may not. Simply returning a criticism of your own will not help in either case.

Sincere criticism is almost always an indicator of some kind of misunderstanding. Either the other person does not adequately understand what you are doing, or you don’t adequately understand their perspective, or both. So the most appropriate response to criticism, the most positive and productive response, is to seek understanding. Seek to better understand, and seek to sincerely make yourself better understood.

Sometimes those who criticize you simply want to pick a fight, but a fight is rarely going to do anyone any good. Certainly there are exceptions, yet in most cases understanding will bring you much more valuable results than fighting.

Like most other challenges, criticism from others can represent a positive opportunity. Take that opportunity to create more understanding, and you’ll be responding to criticism like a winner.

— Ralph Marston


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