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Old 06-07-2006, 06:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Criticism

Quote:
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism
My signature... I don't remember where I grabbed it from, but it spoke to me on a week where i was getting nothing but bitching from my mother, customers, coworkers, management, pretty much everyone i came into contact with...

Ignoring it seemed to be a good way to go - though I really am not good with that...

So... Is it a true statement or not? Should other people's opinions matter to us, or should the only opinion that matters, be what we think?

I personally believe that opinions are like assholes, everyone has one... Too m any times i've seen opinions given where none was asked for... If I wanted to know, I'd ask... so ignoring it seems to be a good way to go.. It's not to say that that opinion, or criticism can't be taken under advisement and acted upon later, but to change course based on a criticism is just wrong.
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Old 06-07-2006, 06:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Criticism all has to be taken with a grain of salt. Some people give it to be ass holes, managers and bosses and all that are probably doing it to correct a problem with your work.

I think all criticism just has to be looked at for validity, is the criticism worth thinking about and changing for or is it verifiably a useless criticism that proves nothing? You can't completely discount criticism, but you can't give credence to all of it, eit her.
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Old 06-07-2006, 06:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think Aristotle had it right when he stated "...all things in moderation...."

Criticism for the sake of criticism is worthless. Think of film or art critics. They make a living giving their opinion on things they themselves are incapable of producing.

To me, criticism is like a box of chocolates....no, wait - wrong train of thought. Let's try that again.

To me, criticism is like one of those "Break Glass in Case of Fire" things. It's nice to know it's there when I need it, but other than that, I pay it no attention.
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Old 06-08-2006, 12:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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When prefaced with 'constructive', then it's all right People will criticise, it's inevitable, though if they can't tell you how to improve then it's worthless.
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Old 06-08-2006, 01:26 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I have no opinion on this.......
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Old 06-08-2006, 02:34 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Isn't there something self defeating about opening a thread about whether opinions are important? If the discussion leads you to believe that opinions are not important, then hasn't your own chain of logical contradicted itself? Cue mind bending *woo-ooo* noises.

I'm goal oriented. I focus on goals and care mostly about what goals I have achieved and what goals I'm heading towards. When someone criticises me I assess
- their knowledge of the issue (do they know their shit)
- their knowledge of me and my circumstance
- their reasons for criticising me
- whether the criticism fits within my goals

If my boss criticises me on my work I take it very seriously because he does know more than me about what we do. When my friends do - it depends on the friend. Some know, some have no idea.

I am very much INTJ (Myer-Briggs). The way assess criticism works very well for me because I'm very logical. The fact that you were heavily criticised and decided that you weren't going to take any criticism suggests you are very different from me. My strategy would have been to look at each piece of criticism and try to understand why I'm being criticised, whether it is of any value to me.

In short, criticism is in the ear of the listener. Its normally possible to find at least some people who are aligned with you and whose opinions are not biased by personal interest or false beliefs. If you find that overwhelmingly people's opinions are useless to you you are probably hanging out with the wrong people or presenting the wrong things about yourself to the people you hang around (or both).

I have been in jobs that I have left because I realised I had little to learn from those around me. I avoid some members of my family because I know they will give baseless opinions and will not bother to learn about me or tailor what they say based on relevance. But in the end I have normally managed to find good people in the end, and I have allowed myself to be shaped by them when I find them. That requires a willingness and openness to the fact that with 8billion people on this earth there are a lot of them who are actually better than you at being what you want to be.

Criticism welcome.
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Old 06-08-2006, 03:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The problem with criticism is most people confused it with bitching.
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Old 06-08-2006, 04:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hulk
if they can't tell you how to improve then it's worthless.
Agreed. Criticism without a basis for improvement IMHO is simply condemnation.

Not that there is a right way to criticize, but something I learned coaching kids years ago was offer a praise sandwich. Put the criticism between two things the person does right. Instead of saying “You aren’t making good throws to first base, I’d say something like “You’re fielding those hits to third well, now I want you to work on making the throw to first. Keep up on that hustle, you’re doing great.” I’ve found this works just as well at work and with my kids at home too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maleficent
Should other people's opinions matter to us, or should the only opinion that matters, be what we think?
There are people’s opinions that I value, and some that I don’t. Finding those that I can rely on and trust is important.
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Last edited by Psycho Dad; 06-08-2006 at 04:15 AM.. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 06-08-2006, 05:33 AM   #9 (permalink)
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PsychoDad... that's the key. You have to consider the source of the criticism.

I wouldn't dream of offering criticism (or advice) to someone in real life that either didn't ask for it or wasn't a very close friend or family (that seemed in need).

The Internet is an entirely different matter.
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Old 06-08-2006, 06:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I personally live under the "Fuck em' all" opinion for other peoples negative criticisms towards me.

I have this one friend who every time garunteed will ask you a question that warrents a very opinionated answer. Then gets all pissy and defensive because we all answer it with the truth. Every time I see her get like that I think, why would you ever let some petty words influence your emotion that much?

Maybe its me being a guy, insensitive, or just being able to take in what I want.
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Old 06-08-2006, 06:32 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The purpose and spirit in which criticism is given is what makes all the difference.

Constructive criticism from even a stranger is useful. Say for example you see someone coming from the bathroom at the library. You see TP stuck to their shoe. Some people could laugh and criticise her for being so oblivious or someone could quietly point out the mistake, helping her in the process.

Negative criticism's purpose is to demean. Example: a woman is quietly nursing her baby at the park with a light blanket over her shoulder to hide anything. Another woman walks up and comments "That's just child abuse to make your baby suck on a sex object!" (I was that nursing mother btw) That kind of comment/criticism serves no useful purpose and is degrading, selfish and harsh.

If the opinion does not apply to you or is not useful to you, Ignore it. If it is useful than USE it. Take criticism in the spirit in which it is offered.
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Old 06-08-2006, 06:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MechCow
Isn't there something self defeating about opening a thread about whether opinions are important?
I don't think that opinions = criticism.

Constructive criticism is great. Criticism from people who know what they are talking is good.

I also think that it can be worthwhile to pay attention to criticism that may not necessarily fall in those categories. For example, I often work as an Event Planner/Coordinator/Producer. It is not unusual for me to hear complaining/bitching/criticism on aspects that I cannot really control. However, by listening and evaluating I:

-Make the other person feel like their input is valued

-Can assertain participant's priorities

-Can work on thinking creatively and "outside the box" on seeing if there are any opportunites or alternatives to resolve the issue.

I always work on not taking any criticism personally. My goal is to learn. There are a lot of companies who pay big money for "feedback", and here I'm getting it for free! Now what I do with it assigns the value.
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Old 06-08-2006, 06:59 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I'm going to go against the grain on this one. I personally value others' criticisms as one of the most important "forces" in my life. In my experience, it's not very difficult to determine if their criticism is self-serving or intended to hurt me. In most cases, it's not.

I think the "hold your friends close, and your enemies closer" motto is very true -- my "friends" are mostly yes-men who wouldn't dare criticize me. My best friends (and my enemies, too) are the ones who'd feel free to tell me what I was doing wrong.

I think it's the easiest way to elicit change.

The question, however, is whether you want to change. I think the people with the most difficulty taking criticism are those who don't want to change. And that's fine. You really shouldn't criticize someone who doesn't feel the need to change, because then it becomes self-serving criticism.
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Old 06-08-2006, 10:16 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JumpinJesus
Criticism for the sake of criticism is worthless. Think of film or art critics. They make a living giving their opinion on things they themselves are incapable of producing.
I've never liked this reasoning. It is flawed and pretentious...

Most of us have no hope of engineering a car. Does that mean we're not qualified to hold an opinion on how well it drives? In exactly the same way that this is ridiculous, you don't have to be a great film maker to recognize a good (or bad) movie when you watch one...
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Old 06-08-2006, 10:18 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I think my opinions on criticism coincide with my opinions on praise. While my parents didn't praise me alot, they also never criticized much either, at least not in a positive way that would help me learn. I believe that criticism can be both positive and negative, depending on who is giving it, the context it is given in, and the tone of it.

I agree with this statement:
Quote:
Originally Posted by JinnKai
The question, however, is whether you want to change. I think the people with the most difficulty taking criticism are those who don't want to change. And that's fine. You really shouldn't criticize someone who doesn't feel the need to change, because then it becomes self-serving criticism.
I used to take criticism way too personally and get extremely upset. I have learned over time to listen and learn. Some criticism is worth listening to if it means improving myself.
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Old 06-08-2006, 02:28 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KnifeMissile
I've never liked this reasoning. It is flawed and pretentious...

Most of us have no hope of engineering a car. Does that mean we're not qualified to hold an opinion on how well it drives? In exactly the same way that this is ridiculous, you don't have to be a great film maker to recognize a good (or bad) movie when you watch one...
No, it doesn't mean we're not qualified to hold an opinion, but it also doesn't mean that just being able to drive a car is sufficient enough to be paid to tell everyone else how good or bad a car it is and not only that, but have millions of people consider you an expert on the subject because you drove around on an oval track with a helmet on and a checklist by your side.


Flawed and pretentious? Are you criticizing me?
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Old 06-08-2006, 09:04 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JumpinJesus
No, it doesn't mean we're not qualified to hold an opinion, but it also doesn't mean that just being able to drive a car is sufficient enough to be paid to tell everyone else how good or bad a car it is and not only that, but have millions of people consider you an expert on the subject because you drove around on an oval track with a helmet on and a checklist by your side.
Being able to watch a film doesn't qualify you to be a film critic, either. In case you don't already know, film critics are paid to be read by millions of people because they are able to articulate what they think of a movie beyond "I liked it" and "it sucked."

Quote:
Flawed and pretentious? Are you criticizing me?
Constructively, I hope...
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Old 06-08-2006, 10:37 PM   #18 (permalink)
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There are TONS of jobs that are dont require you to do be able to "do" before you can "assess". Software Assurance, for example. You don't have to program a day in your life to know what appeals to a customer (GUI / Error Messsages, etc). It requires no knowledge of the underlying code, but only an eye for quality.

Likewise, someone who is a studies marketing or even pyschology might be better versed to "critique" whether a car is good. Not whether it's got the horsepower or the torque, but whether people will like it. And they don't have to know anything about the car itself - only if people will like it.

In the same way, an art critic doesn't have to know anything about how the art was made, or even be able to make the art - as long as they're good at deciding what people will like and what they will not like.

The list goes on..
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:58 AM   #19 (permalink)
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If I may criticize… When someone is critiquing something like a movie, artwork or automobile, they are usually basing opinions on personal taste for the most part not authority or experience. Despite what a critic may feel about a Jennifer Lopez movie, feces on a canvas or a Pontiac Aztec, someone else may very well like it. OK, I may be wrong about the Jennifer Lopez movie.

In criticism of our personal lives, what authority do these criticizers have? How much stock should we take in their opinions?
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Old 06-09-2006, 04:44 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KnifeMissile
Being able to watch a film doesn't qualify you to be a film critic, either. In case you don't already know, film critics are paid to be read by millions of people because they are able to articulate what they think of a movie beyond "I liked it" and "it sucked."

Quote:
Originally Posted by JinnKai
There are TONS of jobs that are dont require you to do be able to "do" before you can "assess". Software Assurance, for example. You don't have to program a day in your life to know what appeals to a customer (GUI / Error Messsages, etc). It requires no knowledge of the underlying code, but only an eye for quality.

Likewise, someone who is a studies marketing or even pyschology might be better versed to "critique" whether a car is good. Not whether it's got the horsepower or the torque, but whether people will like it. And they don't have to know anything about the car itself - only if people will like it.

In the same way, an art critic doesn't have to know anything about how the art was made, or even be able to make the art - as long as they're good at deciding what people will like and what they will not like.

The list goes on..
Okay, points well made and taken. I still don't like the idea of a professional critic but I see where you're both coming from and will concede the point that my earlier comments may have been a bit overly critical.
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Old 06-09-2006, 11:05 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I don't take criticism well. I'm actually better than I used to be. Growing up, it seemed like criticism was given to me as an attack. It's taken me a long time to realize that criticism may be helpful and doesn't mean that what I'm working on is junk/stupid/wrong, it just might need a little fixing here and there.

I have a hard time ignoring any criticism, even though I know sometimes it's the way to go. Some people have opinions on everything when they know nothing about that which they speak of.
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:57 PM   #22 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eweser
I don't take criticism well. I'm actually better than I used to be. Growing up, it seemed like criticism was given to me as an attack. It's taken me a long time to realize that criticism may be helpful and doesn't mean that what I'm working on is junk/stupid/wrong, it just might need a little fixing here and there.
It sounds like you strongly believe in the notion of perfection. A proverb that I learned when I was young is that "perfection is a road, not a destination." It has been very influential for me. I take it to mean that, no matter how good we think something is, it can always be made better. In other words, "there's always room for improvement." If you think of things this way, whenever anyone criticizes something of yours, it obviously doesn't mean that it is junk/stupid/wrong. It only means that it can be improved upon and, since this is always true, it is never insulting...
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Old 06-09-2006, 07:08 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Criticism is for people who understand exactly what they are being told and then remiss for not understanding why in the first place

Last edited by percy; 06-09-2006 at 08:50 PM..
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Old 06-12-2006, 07:01 PM   #24 (permalink)
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The way I look at criticism is that the person being critical must have seen something in me of which to be critical. It's my job to examine myself to see whether that criticism is a legitimate one and to what degree it is accurate. In most cases, I've found that there's at least a seed of truth to what's being said. For the same reason, I try never to offer unsolicited criticism of another. If they ask for it and I'm actually in a place to be a reasonable judge, or if it's part of my job to offer it, sure, I'll give what I believe to be a fair and reasonable assessment. Otherwise, it's not really my place.

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Nor any unproportioned thought his act.
. . .
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment"

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Old 06-12-2006, 07:07 PM   #25 (permalink)
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You should be able to take something away from all experiences, even and especially criticism. Look past the hurt feelings and objectively decide if what the criticizer is saying is accurate and decide if there is anything you can do. The worst case scenario is that you go away knowing how not to talk to or treat someone else.
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