Criticism is almost always defined way too casually. It’s lumped in with disapproval and mistakes. It gets traction with meanness and jealousy. Its synonyms are disparage, attack, denounce, and censure.

That kind of criticism will get you nowhere, except maybe a cry-fest. Chocolate included.

And the silly success meme lists it off like something that comes from enemies, or it’s unwanted, or unwarranted, or, well, bad, to be criticized.

However, the kind of criticism that success thrives in, is the kind that forces you to come to terms with your strengths and weaknesses, your choices, and your skill level. It’s the kind you invest in. It’s evaluation, assessment, appraisal, analysis, and judgement.

Does it hurt less? Nope. We even try to fluff it up by calling it “constructive criticism”, but let’s not fool ourselves.

No matter how much we trust the person giving it to us, criticism is like the flu shot ~ twinge-y and painful and leaves us sore for a little while.

That’s why it’s so important to get the right kind. And get used to getting it. Because just like that flu shot, we NEED it, and it doesn’t ever hurt less, but the “suck it up buttercup” eventually comes along, and we are better for it.
We get used to the reality of it, and can handle it with grace.
We can sit down without squirming, or needing a sticker, or crying.
We just let it do its job, and make us healthier, and more polished, and inoculate us from our own foolish choices.

Anders Ericsson is about to release a book called Peak. In it, he’s gonna take to task all the folks who have erroneously spouted about his 10,000 hour rule. And he’ll bring up the need for a Mentor.

To quote Anders:

“They need to talk to somebody that they really admire, a person that is doing something in a way that they would like to eventually be able to do. Have this person help you identify what it is that you might need to change in order to be able to do what that other person is doing. Interview that person about how they were able to do it, and then have that person help you identify what is it that you can’t do right now and what are the steps towards reaching that desired level of performance.”
The right kind of criticism is difficult to process, but necessary.
And getting it from the right people is necessary, too.

P.S.
Are you looking to supplement your training? Or start training? Then find someone who can be a mentor to you, and can criticize you in a voice you will hear. You can call me any time, or shoot me a line, and we can come up the right plan for your goals and training needs.

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