How to Receive Criticism without Becoming Cynical

Preventing criticism

Engage people early and often. Avoid isolation. It’s difficult to criticize the plan you had a hand in making.

Choose teammates carefully. Don’t give persistent critics a seat at the table.


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How to Receive Criticism without Becoming Cynical

How to Receive Criticism without Becoming Cynical


Key Ideas

5 dangers of criticism

  • Losing yourself. 
  • Isolation.
  • Self-justification.
  • Bitterness.
  • Revenge.
  • Transforming criticism

    Criticism, even done poorly, transforms leaders. The sting of criticism given years ago can still cling years later. Most often, criticisms humble you.

    Preventing criticism

    Engage people early and often. Avoid isolation. It’s difficult to criticize the plan you had a hand in making.

    Choose teammates carefully. Don’t give persistent critics a seat at the table.

    Inviting criticism

    Criticism is desirable and useful, even if it stings.

    Take criticism to a useful place by asking:

    • What do you suggest?
    • How can I be better?
    • What do you want?

    "Thank you," points criticism toward useful ends.



    Why We Give Criticism
    • To help someone improve. Sometimes criticism is actual honest feedback.
    • To see a change that we would like. If we regularly read a magazine or blog, for example, there mi...
    Why Criticism Hurts or Angers
    • The criticism is mean-spirited. If you use insulting or degrading language or put down the person in any way, they will focus on that, and not on the rest of the criticism.
    • If you focus on the person instead of their actions, you will make them angry or defensive or hurt.
    • They assume you’re attacking them. Some people can’t take criticism in a detached, non-personal way. 
    • They assume they’re right. Many people don’t like to hear that they’re wrong, whether it’s true or not.
    How to Deliver Criticism Kindly
    • Don’t attack attack, insult, or be mean in any way
    • Talk about actions or things, not the person.
    • Don’t tell the person he’s wrong.
    • Don’t criticize at all. Give a positive suggestion instead.

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    It is a school of philosophy founded in Athens around 300 B.C., and focuses on our psychological and emotional control we have on ourselves when faced with life’s different colours.


    Grit and Stoicism

    Grit is a form of perseverance and resilience mixed together, and helps us move forward in times of adversity. Grit is essential to achieving big goals and to handle the seemingly never ending obstacles and tough terrains of life.

    Combining Stoicism with Grit makes your mind invincible as you focus on the right thing no matter what happens, improving your performance and results in all aspects of life.

    Count Your Grit

    When an obstacle, a mental block, or a difficult situation presents itself, we need to pay attention to that moment and power through it with awareness, counting the grit as a +1 credit on your grit counter. This is a mini-success in itself.

    It is easier when done slowly and steadily increasing your Grits daily.

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    Coping in uncertainty
    Coping in uncertainty

    Whether you are a manager, teacher, or physician, you are a leader in your organization or community. In times of distress, it can be difficult to know how to help others best and motivate them to ...

    Coaching with compassion

    In the face of uncertainty, it is natural to hold on to the status quo and stick to as-normal-as-possible routines and tasks. This can work when the context is predictable, and the goal is clearly defined.

    However, during periods of volatility and stress, a taskmaster mode could be a mistake. The individual can feel pressured or obligated, which will make them negative. It is more important to prioritize your team's needs and create an environment of trust and support. It will unleash positive emotions, and the person is likely to feel more confident, hopeful, and willing to consider new ideas.

    How to coach with compassion

    We can follow six steps to help others, using the acronym “REACH”:

    • Resonance. Check in with each person without discussing a list of tasks. The goal is to create a supportive and positive relationship.
    • Empathy. Shift your concern from wanting to be understood to understanding others.
    • Awareness. Be aware of your mindset and emotions. Emotions are contagious.
    • Compassion. Try to focus on the needs of others and encourage caring and warmth to help another person in their development.
    • Hope. Spreading positive emotions will uplift others when you help them to picture a brighter and better future.
    • Humor. Stress shuts us down to new ideas and experiences. By keeping things light, you remind others to keep smiling. In turn, it will reduce stress and increase satisfaction, productivity, and performance.