Criticism is part of life. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and that is a fundamental statement especially in American culture. Unfortunately, some people have much more fun with having negative opinions. Aiming at younger people correctly, you will be told how to act and what you should do for the vast majority of your adult life. You will be advised on your career, your style, your personality, and just about everything in-between. Criticism isn’t all bad; sometimes, it can point to something that needs improvement, or it can drive you to not rest on your laurels. However, I’m going to give you just a few examples of why criticism and negative reviews often isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.
I don’t know how many people love heavy metal music reading this article, but I certainly am a slave to it. Black Sabbath is often considered the first and the most influential heavy metal groups of all time. However, Black Sabbath was completely ripped by critics as not only a bad band, but a shift toward the end of rock and roll. Rolling Stone Magazine never gave them more than a one-star review for any of their now classic albums. This didn’t stop them from becoming one of the biggest bands in the world. This caused Rolling Stone to change their stance on the group from Birmingham. Rolling Stone has done several lists of the greatest hard rock bands and albums, all including items from Black Sabbath’s discography. The reviews calling them sophomoric and bombastic have been replaced with ones citing their massive influence on the heavy metal genre. However, this article isn’t here to sell you Black Sabbath albums. This proves that sometimes even influential critics miss the mark and will later backpedal to avoid being those people who didn’t get something so widespread and culturally significant. Never let these reviews get to you because they have no weight on how the world will see you. Regardless of the career you choose, people will have opinions about your work. Don’t let it influence you, take it all with a grain of salt, and they may even take back what they said.
Those Who Can’t Criticize
It takes a lot of guts to pursue something; it takes nothing to give an opinion on someone else doing so. Remember that when you hear a negative review about performance or discouragement regarding your choices. Anyone can get drunk at a comedy club and yell at the performers. It’s a much shorter list of people who will get up in front of the crowd and bare their soul to them. Many individuals who criticize writers have never written a book. Many people who criticize athletes can’t throw a ball. And many people who say you will never succeed have never even attempted to do anything outside of their comfort zone. Remember that it doesn’t matter if you succeed or not, taking the leap is more than the vast majority of people will ever attempt to do. Usually the most vocal of these are the ones afraid to do it themselves.
Critics will often say they have a right to say that something you do isn’t any good and are just exercising their views. They can do this in print, vocally, or online in a forum or chat room. However, you have the same right to your opinion. And often, critics don’t know what they are talking about. Qualifications to tell someone that something isn’t good is a slippery slope at best, and a person reading a book telling you it stinks just as likely just to have a crummy opinion than for the book to be bad. This goes for critics in any area. Just because people are vocal and make their voice heard, doesn’t mean these thoughts hold any weight. Some critics make a living by being loud enough that people seem to believe what they say. If someone is so passionate about it, then it must be based on truth. Don’t let these people yell their way into relevance; if an idea is strong enough, it will stand out from the crowd.
Enjoy the Challenge
Don’t let critics make you bitter. Enjoy the challenge of trying to convert these people and prove them wrong. If someone doesn’t think you’ll make it as a professional dart player, just have fun practicing and sending them a picture of your giant trophy when you win it. Life isn’t about having the world give you a thumbs up all the time because anything worth having comes at a price. Struggling to win people over can be a great thing. While winning over your critics is a great motivational tool, it is the journey to your goals that is most important.