I used to get very defensive when I heard something unpleasant about me. I always took praise well but criticism with a pinch of salt. I disliked those who had nothing better to say than a comment that would infuriate me.
Recently, I have started to open up and take criticism in a different way altogether. When we are in the Tennis courts, there are many observers who often pass comments about the players, their technique or shots. Many times their comments are negative. Naturally, while I was playing, if someone made a bad comment about my shot, I would feel angry.
My tennis partner has had a different approach in life. Whenever someone passed a judgement on his bad shots, he would walk up to that person and say, ‘I know backhand slice is my weakness, can you please show me the correct way?’ I observed them from across the court and realized that he could’ve easily changed this conversation into an ugly argument, instead he simply asked for help.
Later he came back to me and said ‘You know I was trying to learn that shot by watching videos but I just couldn’t get the technique right. That uncle right there just helped me out. Now I know the right way and I’m going to practice it more.’ He seemed happy.
The moment I heard this, I thought to myself. It’s so easy to change criticism/problem into an opportunity. We should not be so closed-minded that we get offended by anything others say. We should look at disapproval as an challenge to become better. I used to easily beat my tennis partner in singles. Now it has become difficult to beat him as he’s become really good learning from every opportunity he gets.
I know its not easy and one may have to step out of comfort zone for a second but it is for the best. I have changed myself now. I know I am a great Tennis player. I also know that my Service sucks. The next time I heard an uncle say ‘Your service is so poor’. I smiled at him and said ‘Yes uncle, I’ve been trying to work on it, but it’s just not getting any better. Could you please show me when you’re free’. He offered to help me straight away and demonstrated the way he does it and also gave some free tips.
Videos are not enough for us to learn the technique properly. If someone is kind enough to show us exactly how to do it, its so much easier to learn. I thanked him and we walked away with a smile.
Recently, on my birthday, I wrote,A Better Mewhich was all about trying to become a good human being. The reason we get offended by people’s negative comments is that deep down, we know they’re right. We just don’t want them to say it. Fact is that no one on this earth is perfect so what’s the point of getting offended in someone pointing out our weakness which we already know. Instead of getting all angry/hyper we should take it as a challenge to improve our weaknesses.
“Do not seek praise. Seek criticism.” – Paul Arden
There are some tiny moments like these which make us ponder about life. I had a little moment right there. Thought I’d share it with you. Would love to know your thoughts. Have you ever thought this way? Would love to know. Here is an awesome article called ‘Six reasons why criticism is a good thing’. Do read it. It covers this topic well. Stay blessed!