“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.”
I have been thinking about criticism lately. Over the years I have occasionally gotten defensive and even angry when faced with criticism but fortunately I have learned just how valuable the critics are. In fact if the truth be known we are probably hurt more by those who only tell us what we want to hear than by those who tell us what they think. For example far too many people who are looking for employment have friends who tell them that their résumé is great when they really don’t think it is. I often recommend to friends that they search for a truth teller who may see things they don’t and then hear what they have to say. That does not mean the critic is always right it only means that they provide you the opportunity to see things in a different light.
Sure there is a difference between constructive honest criticism and unfounded disapproval based on false observations, but even those are worth hearing. The best salesmen I know love to hear the customer’s objections for then they can overcome them. It is the same with criticism, perception is realty to the beholder and if they don’t share their negative perception we have little hope of changing it. If I am doing something that creates a negative impression I want to know what it is so I can consider changing what I do.
Now comes the part that explains why this has been on my mind. I have been concerned about how poorly some of us handle criticism. At one extreme we have those who are totally crushed not understanding that the criticism is a gift that gives us the opportunity to overcome obstacles. On the other extreme are the people who’s ego needs them to feel they are never wrong and who not only don’t want to listen but who get angry that anyone one would think less of them, sadly many of these folks use superiority as a mask for their own insecurity. Fortunately the rest of us are strong enough to stop, listen and examine what others tell us. Each criticism that we accept and even those we discard help us to know ourselves better and to move on with our lives.
So thank you for being honest with me, I hope I thanked you for it when it was offered.
“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing”
** KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS! **
HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHOM TO MARRY?
You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming. – Alan, age 10
HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?
You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids. – Derrick, age 8
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MOM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?
Both don’t want any more kids. – Lori, age 8
WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?
Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough. – Lynnette, age 8
WHEN IS IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?
When they’re rich. – Pam, age 7
IS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?
It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them. – Anita, age 9
HOW WOULD THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT IF PEOPLE DIDN’T GET MARRIED?
There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there? – Kelvin, age 8
HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?
Tell your wife that she looks pretty even if she looks like a truck. – Ricky, age 10
I was strongest when I laughed at my weakness.
A co-worker asked if I knew what to do about a computer problem that was preventing her from getting e-mail. After calling the help desk, I told my colleague that e-mail was being delayed to check for a computer virus.
"It’s a variant of the I Love You virus, only worse," I said.
"What could be worse?" my single co-worker asked wryly.
"The Let’s Just Be Friends virus?"
"There are two types of people–those who come into a room and say, ‘Well, here I am!’ and those who come in and say, ‘Ah, there you are.’"
"Why are you so upset?"
"My wife introduced me to her psychiatrist this morning."
"So she said to him, ‘Doctor, this is my husband. You know, one of the men I’ve been telling you about’."
A seminar on Time Travel will be held 2 weeks ago.
"What happened?" asked the hospital visitor of the heavily bandaged man sitting up in bed.
"Well, I went down to Six Flags over the weekend and decided to take a ride on one of the roller coasters. As we came up to the top of the highest loop, I noticed a little sign by the side of the track. I tried to read it but it was very small and I couldn’t make it out. I was so curious that I decided to go round again, but we went by so quickly that I couldn’t see what the sign said. By now, I was determined to read that sign so I went round a third time. As we reached the top, I stood up in the car to get a better view."
"And did you manage to see what the sign said this time?" asked the visitor.
"What did it say?"
"Don’t stand up in the car!"
An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.
These four rabbis had a series of theological arguments, and three were always in accord against the fourth. One day, the odd rabbi out, after the usual "3 to 1, majority rules" statement that signified that he had lost again, decided to appeal to a higher authority.
"Oh, God!" he cried. "I know in my heart that I am right and they are wrong! Please give me a sign to prove it to them!"
It was a beautiful, sunny day. As soon as the rabbi finished his prayer, a storm cloud moved across the sky above the four. It rumbled once and dissolved. "A sign from God! See, I’m right, I knew it!" But the other three disagreed, pointing out that storm clouds form on hot days.
So the rabbi prayed again: "Oh, God, I need a bigger sign to show that I am right and they are wrong. So please, God, a bigger sign!" This time four storm clouds appeared, rushed toward each other to form one big cloud, and a bolt of lightning slammed into a tree on a nearby hill.
"I told you I was right!" cried the rabbi, but his friends insisted that nothing had happened that could not be explained by natural causes.
The rabbi was getting ready to ask for a VERY big sign, but just as he said, "Oh God…," the sky turned pitch black, the earth shook, and a deep, booming voice intoned, "HEEEEEEEE’S RIIIIIIIGHT!"
The rabbi put his hands on his hips, turned to the other three, and said, "Well?"
"So," shrugged one of the other rabbis, "now it’s 3 to 2."
"In the perspective of every person lies a lens through which we may better understand ourselves."
Ellen J. Langer
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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