Sunday, November 18, 2007

Who said what?

“Shelly said I was ugly,” my eleven year old daughter said when she came home from school. “Who did?” I asked. “A girl in my English class, do you remember her?" was her reply. "I don't, Why would she say that, and more importantly, do you think it’s true?” I asked. She thought for a minute , “Not really, but it wasnt very nice of her.”
I agreed, told her how pretty she is, and then we spoke for a few minutes trying to decipher the root of Shelly's criticism. (Shelly liked a boy, who liked my daughter, nothing more... )

“You want critics in your life,” I said to my daughter. “really?” she questioned. “ Yes, trust me on this one.”
Although it’s hard to comprehend for an eleven year old, everyone who has ever accomplished anything significant in life has a loyal following of critics. You can start with the president, then work backwards from there. Find any successful person or worthy cause, and I can point you at a person, a writer or a blog that despises them.

We know that the higher you climb the ladder in life, the more your rear end is exposed. On the Free the IBO blog, the author said “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
To put it differently, ” If no one is shooting at you, you're not doing enough.”

Critics are a part of life and are not necessarily a bad thing. We can listen to what is said, then sort through all the noise to see if any of the points are valid. If I were to internalize ALL the criticism I have received over the years, I would be in a homeless shelter somewhere, sucking my thumb, rocking back and forth in the fetal position.

Criticism can be very helpful if it’s coming from a good source with the right intentions. It can help by;
1. Identifying flat spots in your thinking.
2. Making you aware of others’ perspective.
3. Keeping you accountable for your words and actions.

I gave my daughter an outline I have used for years to cut through most of it.

“First, you need to weed out jealousy, bitter people, or those with a different philosophical or moral compass.” I said. “If an atheist criticizes me for being a Christian, personally, I take that as a compliment.”

“Next, you have to figure out the relevance. I have always based the weight of any criticism on three factors. My relationship with them, their knowledge of the events, and their personal track record. "

I add them up as follows;

Their relationship with me
None 1
Acquaintance 2
Friend 3
Relative/Good friend 4
Mentor 5

Their Knowledge of the events
None 1
very Little 2
Some 3
knowledgeable 4
Expert 5

Their Track record
None 1
Minimal 2
Average 3
Good 4
Successful 5

"Add up the three, and this is what you should do," I explained.

3 - 6 Flush it ( Not worth thinking about )
7 - 9 Acknowledge it ( Look at facts to verify )
10 - 12 Consider it ( Most likely some truth in it )
13 -15 Respect it ( Look again at your beliefs and validate them or change)

When a critic scores a 3, you are wasting your time even thinking about it.

Conversely, if one scores a 15, and you don’t listen, shame on you!

This is why the decisions being made up in Ada the last few months have been so baffling to many of us. Can you imagine having a group of critics show up at your door with the following score?

Relationship 5 (Good friends / Mentors to 1000's, combined total of 150+ years partnered with you)
Knowledge 5 (The best and brightest you have )
Track Record 5 ( Speaks for itself )

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome article! Besides being incredibly insightful in the Q/A situation (did any of the "leaders" at A/Q even evaluate this???). It is a powerful way for anyone to evaluate criticism!

Thanks Jefe!