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Developing a thick Skin for Criticism


Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.

~ Frank A. CLARK

When we talk about criticism, it is an act showing disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes. It’s negative and judgmental.

Criticism has a tremendous effect on the person criticized. They may feel hurt, embarrassed, or disappointed. Some may even be in shock or shed tears.

In some cases, some people may even give up on the project they were working on. They may feel they don’t have what it takes to successfully accomplish their goal.

Some people will not take criticism lightly. It is even considered worse if the criticism is coming from a relative, friend or acquaintance. They may think the person criticizing them does not want their welfare and success in life.

Criticisms have created divisions and torn families apart. It has made some people become die-hard enemies.

It has been observed that anyone aspiring for greatness in life must not only accept praise but criticism as well. In my candid opinion, both praise and criticism are essential for growth and development.

President Akufo-Addo has received a lot of criticisms from a section of the public over his recent cabinet reshuffle. He should take it with a pinch of salt and focus on the business of governance. Those he has appointed must see it as a challenge and put forth their best efforts and go the extra mile to support the President to realize his vision of a prosperous Ghana.

When a person is criticized, their immediate reaction is to go on the defensive. Acting from the place of emotion may not be the right way to go. We should rather remain calm and evaluate the criticism.

By pausing and reflecting on the criticism, you may get valuable insights which can help you put things right and move on. Even if the criticism is perceived as negative energy, use it to your advantage. Use your imagination and turn it into a positive energy of determination, enthusiasm and persistence. 

When you see positivity in the criticism, become unstoppable and pursue your goal with grit, fortitude and resilience. This is how to become a champion in spite of the criticisms that have been leveled against you.

Some leaders are aversed to criticism. They therefore surround themselves with fools and bootlickers who sing their praises with skeletons under. They were eventually forced out of office through the barrel of the gun or mass uprising.  Ex-president Iddi Amin of Uganda comes to mind.  Norman Vincent Peale was right when he observed, “The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” Praises could be likened to a long acting poisonous medication. Do not allow praises to ruin you.

Successful people work hard. They focus on their work. They listen to what their critics say. They learn from their mistakes and amend their ways.  They surround themselves with warm, positive people who support their vision.

Strong leaders will not allow praises get into their head. Neither will they allow criticisms to overwhelm them.

Praise can be a catalyst to hard work.  It can inspire the individual to go the extra mile to get all planned activities accomplished. Criticism is also important for our personal and professional development. When you are criticized, it means something has gone wrong. You need to improve your performance. You can also ask the one criticizing you to show which part of the project needs to be improved.

Do not allow criticism to cause you to abandon a cause you believe in and would die for. Do not fall in line or be compelled by criticism to join the crowd. Remain resolute regardless of what your critics say. Let the results silence them. Charles Stanley said it best when he said: “Too many Christians have a commitment of convenience. They’ll stay faithful as long as it’s safe and doesn’t involve risk, rejection, or criticism. Instead of standing alone in the face of challenge or temptation, they check to see which way their friends are going.” Keep your vision in front of you and do not allow your detractors to cause you to lose focus. Broken focus is a leading cause of failure.

If you will ever become successful in life, then you will have no option but develop a thick skin for criticisms. Elbert Hubbard famously said, “The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.” Successful people are driven by the spirit of optimism to endure pain, criticisms and obstacles to launch themselves into their success zone.

Every person who has risen to the top has encountered failure, criticism, disappointment and heartbreaking experiences. They triumphed because they refused to quit. They see every setback as a setup for a comeback.

Faith is a powerful weapon for combatting criticism and other curves life may throw at you. It is also the least used. Faith moves mountains the Bible says. The people who have faith in a positive outcome become winners. They use obstacles as stepping stones to success and achievement.

If someone persistently criticizes you, it can be hurtful. But once you are determined to get through with your plan, kindly and politely ask him to give you a break. Then pour your heart and soul into the job and do not relent until you have achieved the goal.

To draw the curtains on this piece, it’s important to realize that no significant achievement can be made without the one rising above obstacles, disappointments and criticisms. Criticism should be used to advantage. Work hard, believe in yourself and have faith and optimism in a positive outcome. Bounce back after setbacks. Be inspired by philosopher DeMar DeRozan who said, “You gotta be able to take criticism if you want to be anything close to great. Even if it’s not true. You can use that as an advantage for yourself. You can use that negative energy and turn that into an energy that drives you to be something more than you thought you could be. That’s one thing I did.” Thanks for allowing me to be part of your journey to a life you deserve.

Yours in inspiration,

Abundant Robert K. AWOLUGUTU, Writer & Author

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