Benefits of Criticism

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The roughness of criticism can be used to sharpen our own skills and abilities, allowing us to become a more effective individual.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

Although it may not seem so at the time, criticism can be valuable despite the initial discomfort that it may cause. In fact, a number of studies have demonstrated that people actually want criticism; they want to know what they do well, what they need to improve, and what others believe their strengths and weaknesses are.

Most people expect their bosses and others in certain positions to provide criticism. If the criticism is accurate and you are capable of change, it can serve to motivate you to grow, recover, improve, prosper, and excel. Though many critics are not as skilled at delivering criticism as we would like, we cannot discount their message. Amid the seeming assault to our self-esteem,  there may lay a kernel of truth that can allow us to better ourselves.

Similar to the roughness of a whetstone that is used to sharpen a dulling knife, the roughness of criticism can be used to sharpen our own skills and abilities, allowing us to become a more effective individual.

Criticism can provide positive and productive motivation for change. Athletes benefit from the criticism of their coaches and children benefit from the productive and constructive criticism of their parents, teachers, and others.

The benefits of criticism are realized most when the recipient recognizes and interprets that the comments are not rooted in malice or spite, but are directed at helping them perform better. When the recipient is confident that you have their best interest in mind, the criticism is more positively received.

Although the absence of criticism may seem appealing on the surface, it often indicates a lack of regard or concern by those around you—this can be especially true in the workplace. If you are considered by others to be ineffectual or not worth the effort, you may not receive the benefit of productive criticism.

Who are the truth-tellers in your life and for whom are you a truth-teller?


Written by Randy Garner

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