The topic of this week’s post is something we usually look up to with much reservation. One usually feels that to be criticized means facing disapproval on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes. And it is mistaken for nagging. Some try to avoid it as they feel that it takes away the peace. Criticism or open discussion equals to friction for them. Winston Churchill had said,
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” And it sure takes courage to listen to ones intentioned and unintentioned actions that may have brought upon some criticism.
But criticism is not nagging and definitely not a way to pull the other person down. It is a way of bringing the issues that plague a system or a person to notice. It is a positive feedback that helps one better ones own self, actions, and abilities. Criticism from a strong and intelligent Opposition and a responsible media can help a country achieve much better by not letting a ruling party go wayward. It can help a sportsperson or a student outdo his/her performance. And it can help one see and think with more clarity at instances that may have been overlooked. Winston Churchill very succinctly told the role of criticism when he said, “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
Teaching, performing arts and sports are some fields where criticism is a part of life. Pupils may take their teacher’s advice or voiced concerns as criticism but what they are usually trying to convey is the ways in which the child can better his/her performance or do better in life. It is to the benefit of the student to pay heed to what the teacher is saying. Since, most often it is the child’s well-being that is the teacher’s prime concern and nothing else.
Same applies to performing arts and sports, actors and sportspersons are often criticized for their actions. They often get unsolicited advice from all quarters. In such cases it is important to know to whom to listen. There can be a sincere suggestion which can help one do much better if s/he pays heed to the criticism that comes their way or could be a layman’s outburst about things he himself does not understand. I have often heard people finding faults with the system, the cricket team, telling how a particular policy should have been framed or a particular match should have been played without the proper knowledge of its merits and demerits. One should not give into such kind of comments. “Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” said American Politician Frank A. Clark. One should pay attention to such a positive criticism and accept that such a criticism is always better than no criticism.
And if one does not want any criticism then do what Aristotle said, “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” But then be ready to be criticized for not doing anything because in a social setting, there’s no escape from criticism.