How To Accept Criticism (Without Using Your Your Middle Finger)

angry...I wanted to flip someone off today for criticizing me. I mean, it was over email. Still.

I’ve been working for a mentor of mine recently. He owns this super-awesome company that I want to work for some day. He asked me to write some articles for him, which I said I TOTALLY WOULD.

But, I didn’t.

It took me a long time to finish the article. I finally finished it and emailed it, and it was just today that I heard back from him about what he though. His response?

You didn’t turn it in on time. And I had to ask you for it. 

Holy hell.

Well, just about every excuse, every possible scenario, jammed out of my mouth when I read that – some of them very reasonable.

  • I’ve been super busy – I work 50 hours a week!
  • I’m planning a wedding! I don’t have time to for everything
  • He should have KNOWN that, it’s HIS fault, I couldn’t do the work
  • He wasn’t even PAYING me, it’s not like I HAD to turn it in


Well, here’s the thing. He wasn’t mean about it, he wasn’t emotional about it. He said it for what it was. And he was right. I didn’t turn the article in on time. And he did have to ask me for it.

Our natural response to many of the criticisms we receive – at work, with friends, from bosses/teachers/coworkers – is to deflect the blame SOMEWHERE ELSE. Because it’s the WORST thinking that it’s YOUR FAULT. “Well, it’s because of this, so it’s not my fault. I had to do these things first, so it’s not my fault. The work was too difficult, too time-consuming, too much. It’s not my fault.

Well, it is. You don’t have any excuse, and making excuses only makes you look worse.

So what did I do? I thought of every excuse to shift the blame from me onto something else. Criticism cuts you – it’s up to you to decide if you’ll complain about how much it hurt, or realize that your shortcomings are being confronted and therefore removed.

At least, it gives you the opportunity to cut them out.

Do you have a hard time accepting criticism without wanting to give someone the finger? Me too. But today, I swallowed that bitter bite of truth and realized that if I want to be a credible, reliable, trustworthy person, I’m going to need to follow through on my promises from now on.

How do you effectively deal with criticism?

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  1. Daniel Moore says:

    Accepting criticism is difficult man.

    Sometimes it’s good to hear other people’s feedback — but the worst is when the person giving you a critique totally isn’t qualified to say so.

  2. I see all criticism as a chance to grow. Either it’s constructive, and I can learn from it. Or it’s not, and it’s a test in how I took it. The people at the top of their industry are always taking criticism…Manning(s), Obama, Lebron (especially after last night)!….the apostle Paul, Jesus. Especially in any leadership role, you will face opposition. If you see your whole life as an education (that doesn’t end when you graduate from college), you will have a much better attitude towards the constructive criticism.

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