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Why Criticism Is Better Than Compliment

Why Criticism Is Better Than Compliment
From Lifehack - January 19, 2018

Think back to the last time you received a compliment and the last time you were criticized. No doubt, when you received the compliment, you felt goodand when you received the criticism, you felt upset and wanted to reject it.Think back to the last time you received a compliment and the last time you were criticized. No doubt, when you received the compliment, you felt goodand when you received the criticism, you felt upset and wanted to reject it.

You shouldnt be surprised by your reaction to the negative comment, as its a humans survival mechanism to avoid being criticized. Clearly, we dont want to be seen as failures, so wed rather shut our eyes and cover our ears than have to take any criticisms from others.

However, theres a serious problem with this approach. Namely, by doing our utmost to avoid being criticized, we allow ourselves to travel on a never-ending highway of mediocrity.

Without receiving negative feedback and criticisms from others, our growth and opportunities become stunted. And in the long term, were not only liable to failbut to fail badly.

The Microsoft KIN is an example of how lacking criticisms leads to a great failure. Launched in 2010, this smartphone was a major failure despite its $1 billion development and marketing costs. Unbelievably, the phone only lasted on the market for 48 days. The problem? Microsoft failed to do comprehensive testing of the smartphone with the target demographic. It was only after the phone went on sale that it became blatantly obvious that most 15 to 30-year-olds preferred Androids, BlackBerrys and iPhones to the Microsoft KIN.1

If criticism and feedback had been received by the target demographic while the phone was in development, Microsoft could have avoided the huge embarrassment and financial loss that occurred. As the story above demonstrates, early criticism is a necessary factor for future success.

Excessive praise weakens your motivation

I believe that criticism is better than compliments. But why do I think that? Well, let me give you a metaphor that will explain my rationale.

Picture in your mind praise being a type of health food. Now, no one would argue that healthy nutrition is a bad thing. However, whats good for you in small or measured dosages can be bad for you if you take too much of it. You may be surprised to hear this even applies to your water consumption.2 And your fruit consumption too.3

Clearly, too much food or drinkno matter how healthy they may becan make us ill. For optimum health, we need a balanced intake of healthy food and drink.

Its the same with compliments. Receiving them from time-to-time is a good thing, but if theyre all you ever hear, then theyre likely to have a negative impact on your ability to achieve things in life.

Excessive compliments take us away from our original motivation of simply enjoying an activity. We start doing the activity purely for the sake of receiving ego-satisfying praise.

However, enough time being stuck in the latter, means we become imprisoned by praise. Without the expectation of praise, our motivation to complete things begins to be lost.

As an example of this, think back to a time when you were learning a new sport. If your coach only praised you, then youd have missed out on being shown what things you were doing wrong. And as a consequence, your ability to learn and refine your techniques would have be diminished.

Criticism encourages growth

Just to be clear, Im not talking about trolls or abusive comments, Im talking about constructive criticism, which I like to think of as healthy criticism. Feedback that helps to make you stronger.

If you always think youre right but dont get feedback from anyone else, how do you know for sure that what youre doing is any good? Listening and acting on honest views will tell you precisely what youre doing welland what you can do better.

Grow strong through the power of criticism

Criticism is generally more actionable than compliments.

Actively seek criticism by asking for feedback.

Take criticism with patience.

Rapid feedback is important.

Seek criticism instead of praise

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