How To Deal Constructively With Criticism

How do you deal with criticism?  

When criticised, do you take offence?  Ignore?  Defend?

Where most of us dread or avoid criticism, a better option is to choose to welcome it.  View it constructively, as if someone is offering you a gift –  a gift that you can choose to accept or decline.

Think of criticism like  receiving a gift that you may or may not like. When you receive a sweater as a gift, do you stammer awkwardly, unsure of whether to accept the sweater or not?  Or, do you just smile and say, “thank you”?  

I’d recommend taking the sweater into a room and trying it on.  In private, ask yourself, “Does this sweater fit?”  Perhaps ask someone else, say your partner or trusted friend, “does the sweater fit?”  They’ll be honest and let you know if it looks good or if you should swiftly get rid of it.

We need to do the exact same thing with criticism.  When someone criticizes you, they are merely sharing their opinion; positively assume that the person is doing their best. Maybe they don’t have the best grace of delivery, but they’re offering feedback that you could possibly use to improve yourself.  So, you say, “Thank you.” After trying it on in private and you decide for yourself if it fits and if you adopt it, will it make you happy?  If yes, hang on to it and keep trying to improve. If it doesn’t, pack up the criticism and promptly get rid of it.

Are you remembering that criticism is a gift that you can choose to use however you would like?


Send Adam Kreek a message on Twitter @adamkreek. You can also find more tips to improve your body, mind and soul on the Don’t Change Much website or through Adam’s column on CBC Sports.

Adam delivers authentic keynotes, workshops & seminars and executive retreats for corporate, government and not-for-profit organizations worldwide:

For Canadian Keynote inquiries, please contact Andrea at the National Speakers Bureau at .

For US Keynote inquiries, as well for information about our workshops, seminars, coaching & executive retreats, please contact us.