Back to the Basics #8: How Do You Handle Criticism?

Back to the BasicsIn class on Thursday, despite appearing to not be paying attention because I was intensely editing this new theme, I was actually paying attention to what the professor was saying and Alt-Tabbing to take notes from time to time.

One thing, and really only one thing, stood out to me, but I remembered it last night when studying with friends:

It’s not so much what a story says as much as how you respond to a story. You can be appalled and disgusted by a story’s content, but it is more about what your reaction is that gives a story worth and credibility as a work.

That’s probably paraphrasing quite a bit because she rambles along at quite a speed, but that is the spirit of her stance on the matter. That struck me as interesting enough to jot down in my head, but not on paper. Not until last night:

It’s not so much what you are being criticized about — it’s how you respond to criticism.

I don’t handle criticism very good. Sometimes, I do, but not often. It’s more about the delivery than anything with me. It has to come from the right person, in the right way, when I’m in the right state of mind. I’m sure you can relate, unless you are so used to being criticized that everything just rolls right off your back. That’s not me.

Here is what makes critique bearable for me:

  • You must be a friend, preferably someone I’ve at least shared a meal with and have some background to reference their statements against.
  • It must not be for the sake of complaining. I am a firm believer in edifying one another, so if you complain about something, be helpful and offer a solution or suggestion that is clearly intended for the good of all involved.
  • Ask or assertain if I’ve had a bad day first. Not much is worse than having one more piece chipped away at a fragile defense system after a hard day, unless getting an earful is the other option.

That’s what works for me. How do you handle criticism?

  • Mindkiller

    Most times i ignore criticism. Mostly because im perfect in every way and have no need of improving….it would just take more effort then its worth really. Like the cost of keeping a multinational, multiplatform network up more then 80% of the time…each percentage point costs millions of dollars and gains in cost exponetially after 5 percentage points above 80%. So yeah it would cost a whole lot to get me over 100% Pure Perfect and stoof. Hell its costs a lot to keep me here…perhaps i an lay off on the perfectness for a weeka nd save thatg extra cash for a vacation…mmmm coconut beverage containers with flowery condiments and umbrellas….good times.

  • Mindkiller

    Most times i ignore criticism. Mostly because im perfect in every way and have no need of improving….it would just take more effort then its worth really. Like the cost of keeping a multinational, multiplatform network up more then 80% of the time…each percentage point costs millions of dollars and gains in cost exponetially after 5 percentage points above 80%. So yeah it would cost a whole lot to get me over 100% Pure Perfect and stoof. Hell its costs a lot to keep me here…perhaps i an lay off on the perfectness for a weeka nd save thatg extra cash for a vacation…mmmm coconut beverage containers with flowery condiments and umbrellas….good times.

  • http://www.perfectlypetersen.com Perfectly Me

    Mind, you nailed yourself there. I’ve noticed that about you… remember a comment a long time ago about your spelling? LOL. You are very set in your knowledge of yourself, which is refreshing given some environments I’m in, but I would encourage you to remain open to what is referred to ‘edification.’

    You’re a dad, bud, so if you expect your kids to improve their behavior or talents based on comments from others, then you should too. That is no necessarily criticism, but that is a blanket term that covers it quite nicely.

    All the best.

  • http://www.perfectlypetersen.com Perfectly Me

    Mind, you nailed yourself there. I’ve noticed that about you… remember a comment a long time ago about your spelling? LOL. You are very set in your knowledge of yourself, which is refreshing given some environments I’m in, but I would encourage you to remain open to what is referred to ‘edification.’

    You’re a dad, bud, so if you expect your kids to improve their behavior or talents based on comments from others, then you should too. That is no necessarily criticism, but that is a blanket term that covers it quite nicely.

    All the best.

  • Mindkiller

    I wouldn’t call myself set…in any way. Yeah I have few things that will never change, but they are the important KEY things that make me who I am.

    As for “edification”…I Had to look that up to get a better understanding of what that meant.

    ed·i·fi·ca·tion (d-f-kshn)
    n.
    Intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement; enlightenment.

    I know the intellectual part…happens all the time, no help for that. We, as human, are constantly learning…well most of us.

    Spiritual improvement is one of those individual choices people make when dealing with the life we are given.

    Moral…now heres a sticky one for me. I know I’m lacking here. If the opportunity was there for me I would be a pretty immoral person. Good thing it ain’t.

    My kids, (you knew I had to respond to that)I see that as my job and responsibility, no not responsibility: Honor. My Honor to be the one to guide them through to what ever they will be come. Do I lead by example? Yes most times I do. I can’t help thinking about how I viewed my dad when growing up. I know there is a lot of things I got out of him besides what he told me to and not to do. I know my kids are watching. Which is why I am a different person at home then when I’m at work or out and about with them. I know I have faults and as much as I sound like an asshole here, this is prolly the only forum I can really let loose the dogs of war, yet most of the time its ‘reaction’ or ‘devil’s advocate’ type stuff. As much as you open me up and make me look at myself with your excellent writing , I can’t help turn the tables and have you ask yourself: Are you so keyed on improvement in your self that you can’t see whats there that IS perfect? Are you improving yourself to be viewed as such in other people’s eyes? Are you the one that needs improvement or should others improve their perception of what makes you you.

    I know I have one thing that is perfect: My love for my kids. Complete, utter, lifelong rear guard action for my heart. Cept I’m only maintaining the appearance of the fight. The battle was lost along time ago, but they don’t have to know that till they move out at 18 or so. I hope what I give them as examples and words and inferences will build them into people that can function better in the society then I will ever be able to. I know I have this issue with other people, yet I do in fact work to keep it out of what I let them see of me. Perhaps one day I will let them read some of my more dark thoughts that I have written down. Prolly not…..stuffs not PG.

    As always…you get me to write a whole lot more then I was expecting to. I dub you “Enabler”.

    Oh and I worked on my spelling here cept for the obvious ones. 🙂

  • Mindkiller

    I wouldn’t call myself set…in any way. Yeah I have few things that will never change, but they are the important KEY things that make me who I am.

    As for “edification”…I Had to look that up to get a better understanding of what that meant.

    ed·i·fi·ca·tion (d-f-kshn)
    n.
    Intellectual, moral, or spiritual improvement; enlightenment.

    I know the intellectual part…happens all the time, no help for that. We, as human, are constantly learning…well most of us.

    Spiritual improvement is one of those individual choices people make when dealing with the life we are given.

    Moral…now heres a sticky one for me. I know I’m lacking here. If the opportunity was there for me I would be a pretty immoral person. Good thing it ain’t.

    My kids, (you knew I had to respond to that)I see that as my job and responsibility, no not responsibility: Honor. My Honor to be the one to guide them through to what ever they will be come. Do I lead by example? Yes most times I do. I can’t help thinking about how I viewed my dad when growing up. I know there is a lot of things I got out of him besides what he told me to and not to do. I know my kids are watching. Which is why I am a different person at home then when I’m at work or out and about with them. I know I have faults and as much as I sound like an asshole here, this is prolly the only forum I can really let loose the dogs of war, yet most of the time its ‘reaction’ or ‘devil’s advocate’ type stuff. As much as you open me up and make me look at myself with your excellent writing , I can’t help turn the tables and have you ask yourself: Are you so keyed on improvement in your self that you can’t see whats there that IS perfect? Are you improving yourself to be viewed as such in other people’s eyes? Are you the one that needs improvement or should others improve their perception of what makes you you.

    I know I have one thing that is perfect: My love for my kids. Complete, utter, lifelong rear guard action for my heart. Cept I’m only maintaining the appearance of the fight. The battle was lost along time ago, but they don’t have to know that till they move out at 18 or so. I hope what I give them as examples and words and inferences will build them into people that can function better in the society then I will ever be able to. I know I have this issue with other people, yet I do in fact work to keep it out of what I let them see of me. Perhaps one day I will let them read some of my more dark thoughts that I have written down. Prolly not…..stuffs not PG.

    As always…you get me to write a whole lot more then I was expecting to. I dub you “Enabler”.

    Oh and I worked on my spelling here cept for the obvious ones. 🙂

  • http://www.perfectlypetersen.com Perfectly Me

    A-HA! Got you to write more than you did in English class again. 🙂

    As much as you open me up and make me look at myself with your excellent writing , I can’t help turn the tables and have you ask yourself: Are you so keyed on improvement in your self that you can’t see whats there that IS perfect? Are you improving yourself to be viewed as such in other people’s eyes? Are you the one that needs improvement or should others improve their perception of what makes you you.

    Fair question. Fair ‘nough for government work, at least.

    I have a really hard time battling between perceiving my strengths as perfect and truly gifted rather than remaining moldable and likeable. We all know a pompous jerk or two who know everything about something (or everything) and has yet to do something wrong with a certain area of expertise.

    I would rather not be the guy with the big head at the office. I’ve noticed something about that when I let my true feelings of “superiority” out of the bag: people don’t like it and look for every opportunity to cut you down to size. Around here (and there are a lot of us in this building), I am the Office Master. If something isn’t working, they come to me to fix their file. That’s a lot of opportunity to get a big head. Sometimes I can’t fit through the cube opening to go to the bathroom, and then I have a whole new problem to deal with. Conversely, no one really wants to be around a self-depreciating nobody.

    To be honest (*gulp [but then again, when am I not here?]), I think it is probably mostly that I think that people need to change their perception of me, even though they don’t have a negative one to begin with. I have a lot of schoolground/team sports/dorkboy issues to overcome, but how many people know me as the old dorkboy now? I’ve moved across the country from my first school, anything that happened my first year of college has rolled off my credit history, and I’m taken and accounted for by a beautiful woman.

    I guess I have it made. Thanks for the reminder.

  • http://www.perfectlypetersen.com Perfectly Me

    A-HA! Got you to write more than you did in English class again. 🙂

    As much as you open me up and make me look at myself with your excellent writing , I can’t help turn the tables and have you ask yourself: Are you so keyed on improvement in your self that you can’t see whats there that IS perfect? Are you improving yourself to be viewed as such in other people’s eyes? Are you the one that needs improvement or should others improve their perception of what makes you you.

    Fair question. Fair ‘nough for government work, at least.

    I have a really hard time battling between perceiving my strengths as perfect and truly gifted rather than remaining moldable and likeable. We all know a pompous jerk or two who know everything about something (or everything) and has yet to do something wrong with a certain area of expertise.

    I would rather not be the guy with the big head at the office. I’ve noticed something about that when I let my true feelings of “superiority” out of the bag: people don’t like it and look for every opportunity to cut you down to size. Around here (and there are a lot of us in this building), I am the Office Master. If something isn’t working, they come to me to fix their file. That’s a lot of opportunity to get a big head. Sometimes I can’t fit through the cube opening to go to the bathroom, and then I have a whole new problem to deal with. Conversely, no one really wants to be around a self-depreciating nobody.

    To be honest (*gulp [but then again, when am I not here?]), I think it is probably mostly that I think that people need to change their perception of me, even though they don’t have a negative one to begin with. I have a lot of schoolground/team sports/dorkboy issues to overcome, but how many people know me as the old dorkboy now? I’ve moved across the country from my first school, anything that happened my first year of college has rolled off my credit history, and I’m taken and accounted for by a beautiful woman.

    I guess I have it made. Thanks for the reminder.