Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Positive Side of Criticism

Now before I continue the story let me show you what I have posted as the VERY FIRST THING in my profile: "**WARNING: BRUTAL HONESTY ALERT! If you can not take brutal honesty then please do NOT ask my opinion." I added this to my profile over a year ago when I was banned from a sim simply for answering a question honestly..... that THEY asked of me.

Today I was flying around at Outpost Alpha in my new Autogo Tardis by Novatech. Some guy sat on it without my permission (something I really hate) so I decided to take him for a ride. I flew around a bit then teleported to a space station in that sim. We chatted for a little bit and then I showed him a Bike I had made. He decided to show me a bike based on the same concept that his "friend" made. The bike he showed me was not very good at all and I said so. He flipped out.... told me to get off my high horse and to F#ck off, then he TP'ed away. I instant messaged him and asked "You tell me to F-off then TP away?" and what he said next sounded like the angry ranting of a child throwing a tantrum. To be honest it was slightly amusing and I just ignored him and went about my business.

So the question is..... "Am I a bad person for criticizing his friends bike?"

Now some might say yes without hesitation and I kind of agree with them...... however..... it is my true opinion that criticism is a good tool from which to learn from if we think of it as a positive thing.

So how do we learn to use criticism positively?

For starters you can learn to Think Before Reacting. Stop yourself and take a moment before reacting. Give yourself a moment to cool down. When you are upset you act on emotion and that can make you say and do things you'll later regret.

Second, Look For The Positive. Ask yourself "Are they right?" They may be just telling you what they'd like to see. Something they want. After all..... they might be your customer, so what is it that they want and can you help them get it? What is it about their criticism that will help you improve? Ask yourself the right questions and you will get the right answers. Ask yourself the wrong questions and well... you know the rest.

Third, Rise Above And Show Gratitude. Now this one is a hard pill to swallow for most of us. But.... are we enlightened enough to be the better person? Of course we are right? I often try to thank the person for their idea. After all... it just might be a good idea! When you are thankful you will make a new friend because they will feel good that you listened and actually valued what they had to say without negative emotion. These people in turn will often refer you to others in a positive light.

To summarize: Criticism is what real life successful companies use to help better their products and customer service. If you are in business for yourself then you have to develop a thick skin and learn to take criticism. If you are going to get angry and snap at every person that doesn't say what you want to hear then you most likely wont last long or be very successful.