Anyone doing a great work will be faced with a major roadblock. That roadblock known by many different names could be summed up in one word – Criticism.
Criticism, it’s the killer of mighty men. Criticism, it’s what will keep you from doing your greatest work.
We often think that fear is the greatest enemy of progress.
We’re fearful we’ll fail. We’re fearful we won’t be fast enough to market. We’re fearful we’ll look like fools.
Fear is a great killer of progress, yet it’s not the greatest enemy. There’s something far more sinister.
That something is our ability to take criticism.
Why Criticism Is Worse Than Fear
Fear holds us back. Fear tells us we can’t do something. Fear is scary.
But it’s not as bad as we think.
Once we begin to work on our fears, we can quickly overcome them. The fears we believe break down in the face of reality.
Criticism, on the other hand, is much worse than fear. It sticks with us even in the face of praise.
Jon Acuff talks about hater’s math. His equation goes something like this –
1,000 positive comments and 1 negative comment equals 1 negative comment.
We give criticism more weight than anything positive. We are crushed by the criticism we receive.
This is why criticism is worse than fear. It cripples us underneath its weight.
How To Battle Criticism
There’s good news, though. We can learn to fight back against the criticism we receive. It’s quite simple.
In fact, honest Abe, Abraham Lincoln, has given us the blueprint on how to overcome the criticism we face.
If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.
I absolutely love this Abraham Lincoln quote. He tells us in plain language what to do when faced with criticism.
We are to –
Not respond to the criticism
Do the very best we know how
Let the results play out
That’s how we battle criticism.
It’s a very simple process but one we fight and resist against. We try to argue the criticism. We try to respond to the criticism. We try to win over the critic.
According to Abe Lincoln, that’s wasting time. Time that could be spent on our business. Time that should be spent doing the best work we can. Time we are meant to spend doing what matters.