“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” – Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie has set the legacy with his golden principle “Don’t criticize, condemn or complain”. It’s a broad minded concept wherein you are taught to treat others the way you want them to treat you. Simply holding an opinion different from others does not give you the right to criticize that person. Criticism is not the solution to the conflict. Condemning your co worker or friend for doing something that you do not approve of is wrong. There is always a strong reason behind someone’s action. And to know and understand those reasons, one needs to approach his friend or co worker with open mind and heart rather than reacting with short sighted and immature behavior.
Not only this, an individual should also not criticize or complain his own individuality just because he/she has encountered a specifically contingent situation. Excessive self-criticism keeps you at bay from making friends. So, instead think of the worst and best possible outcome of the situation, to avoid the annoying looks of your cohorts. People are more interested to learn how you tackled a particular problem, rather than the core facts of your problem.
Do a self-analysis. Notice in yourself, if you are the one who does not think twice before criticizing others or is your tolerance level for ideas different from yours very low? Are you argumentative and easily angered? If yes, then it’s a wakeup call for you to rescue yourself from the negative repercussions of others.
“Criticism is the only reliable form of autobiography.” – Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wild was so right when he quoted these words because criticism really tells you more about the psychology of the person who criticizes than the one who is being criticized. Criticism should never be a resident of your mind and heart because its presence only hampers the valuable relations you hold. If you are a big time critic, your relationships might suffer if your criticisms are related to the following:
- Personality or character, but not behavior
- Blame game
- Not directed towards improvement
- Being judgmental towards something specific
- Belittling (“To belittle, you have to be little” – Gibran).
Remember that there is a big difference between criticism and feedback. Here are some pointers to tell you what sets the two apart.
- Criticism focuses on what’s wrong. Feedback focuses on how to improve.
- Criticism implies the worst about the other’s personality. Feedback is about behavior, not personality.
- Criticism devalues. Feedback encourages.
- Criticism implies blame. Feedback focuses on the future.
- Criticism attempts to control. Feedback respects autonomy.
- Criticism is coercive. Feedback is not coercive.