Thursday, December 15, 2011

Sacking Armchair Quarterbacks: How to Keep your Critics from Ruining your Day

Critic: "One who tends to make harsh or carping judgments; a faultfinder."  That is not my definition.  That is one of three definitions one can find on my favorite dictionary source. (I have downloaded about five apps for my phone.  I'm halfway embarrassed and halfway proud to say that one of them is  I'm embarrassed to say one of them is Pumpkins v. Monsters.)

A faultfinder.  Remember this term for a few minutes. 

Undoubtably, you've been the victim of critique.  Undeniably, you've been the subject of carping judgments.  Unquestionably, you've been the target of harsh and mostly unwarranted faultfinding.  It probably didn't feel very good did it?  You know what?  I know a secret.  I know how to make those feelings go away.  I didn't say I know how to make those PEOPLE go away.  They're like the mythological Hydra.  You chop off one head and three more pop outta the nasty stump . . . Anyway, I do know how to make sure you don't have those feelings anymore.

Remember to roll your Rs.  Like the Hydra, these three heads will repopulate as you implement them.

Recess - When you get criticized (and I mean unwarranted, unconstructive criticsm), just take a break.  Stop what you're doing, sit down, let the unsavory feeling of defeat sink in.  (Now don't over do it!  Don't throw yourself a pity party!)

This break will give you two distinct opportunities you need.  The first, and most ideal, purpose of this recess is for holding your tongue.  Critics love drawing you out.  Critics LOVE ratling you.  Don't let them!  Critics love making you squirm.  So don't squirm.  If you take a short recess, you'll find that you won't say something you regret.  And you get to gather your thoughts for a response (which I don't advise doing!)

Second, this recess will give you exactly enough time to determine if the critique has merits.  Even if the critique is from your most notable enemy, remember that they probably see you differently than you want to be seen.  In any case, take note of the critique long enough to evaluate your actions in light of your beliefs and morals.  If they check out, move ahead 5 spaces to "Recast." 

Recast - Recast means to reorganize or build up.  This second stage is vitally important.  You won't be able to move to the third step without it.  You should think about the critics and the event being critiqued.  Also think about the direction you're headed in and the purpose for your actions. 

What I've found is that MOST critics are only critics.  I mean THAT'S ALL THEY DO!  They aren't really progressing like you are.  They aren't going for it! They aren't putting their reputation on the line like you are!  They aren't really attempting anything! That's why they have the time to critique you.
A lot of them are armchair quarterbacks that won't make a decision.  But then they'll degrade everyone after someone does finally act.  (Remember MOST.)  Some actually are just grumpy that won't be happy at all.  But that doesn't take away the fact that you're still doing something.

Maybe you did mess up.  Remember, the word faultfinder? We all have faults. Your critics have faults. And to be honest, your critics are probably really good at identifying their own weaknesses . . .

Once you've realized that your critics don't have any REAL bearing on you or your situation, then you're ready for the next step.  If you are now smiling about your critics lack of drive and initiative, move ahead 2 spaces to "Release."

Release - This step is when the unsavory feelings go away.  Once you have evaluated yourself to determine if change is needed, and recast the situation to understand that you're progressing, now you must know that this criticism won't hold you back.  The only thing that is holding you back is hanging onto the upsetting words.  If you're bitter towards someone, I'll guarantee that they've moved on.  They don't care that you hold a grudge.  Chances are, they don't even know. 

So draw out your confidence and get moving.  Keep progressing! And know that you'll get criticized again.

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