I don’t ask for criticism nearly enough. I get myself into situations where I think I got it all under control. And then I find out I don’t. Then I start to wonder how all of that happened. And it occurs to me that if I asked for some criticism every once in a while, it would fix all of these out of control situations.
I used to play golf competitively. My dad was my coach. It was complicated. I used to complain to him that every time he criticized me, it felt like he was breaking me down. He was my dad, I argued, he should be giving me confidence. And so I made it a big deal that my dad was my coach. It became a challenge that other kids didn’t have to deal with. But the truth was that the hard part wasn’t having a dad that was a coach, it was learning how to take criticism. If someone else had coached me, that coach would have criticized me too. Then I would have been able to come home and have my parents build me up and tell me how great I was already. And I probably would have never gotten better. Instead, I had to learn to take criticism from someone who loved me.
The truth is that when we talk about things that are important to us, we don’t like hearing the problems with those things. We don’t like hearing we are bad at getting people excited when we are the leader of an organization. We don’t like hearing that we are too clingy when we are in a relationship. We don’t like hearing that we don’t spend enough time studying or that we aren’t thrifty enough with our money. But we need to hear it.
Think about how efficient our social interactions would be, how much happier we would be if, instead of meeting over coffee with friends to complain, we asked them what we were doing wrong. Because our friends would tell us lovingly, and they would help us get better. Sure, we might have to bite the bullet and let them start seeing us as people rather than superhumans, but it would be worth it. Batman isn’t happy.
And in the end, it’s our decision what to do with the criticism. Sometimes it just makes you explain more what you are doing. Several people have told me they hate the question at the end of my posts. And I told them that it is standard practice for blogs, and eventually there will be a payoff.
What am I doing wrong? How can I make my blog better?