The Best Way To Criticism

Once upon a time, there was a young painter who had just completed his course under disciplehood of a great painter (Master). This young artist decided to assess his skills. He decided to give his best strokes on the canvass. He took 3 days and painted beautiful scenery.

He wanted people’s opinions about his caliber and painting skills. He put his creation at a busy street-crossing. And just down below a board which read, “Gentlemen, I have painted this piece. Since I am new to this profession I might have committed some mistakes in my strokes etc. Please put a cross wherever you see a mistake.”

While he came back in the evening to collect his painting he was completely shattered to see that the whole canvass was filled with Xs (crosses) and some people had even written their comments on the painting.
Disheartened and broken completely he ran to his master’s place and burst into tears. Sobbing and crying he told his master about what happened and showed the pathetic state of his creation which was filled with crosses and correction remarks.

This young artist was breathing heavily and the master heard him saying, “I am useless and if this is what I have learned to paint I am not worth becoming a painter. People have rejected me completely. I feel like dying.”
Master smiled and suggested, “My Student, I will prove that you are a great artist and have learned a flawless painting.” The young disciple couldn’t believe it and said, “I have lost faith in myself and I don’t think I am good enough. Don’t make false hopes.”

“Do as I say without questioning it. It will work.” Master interrupted him.

Young artist reluctantly agreed and two days later early morning he presented a replica of his earlier painting to his master. Master took that gracefully and smiled.

“Come with me.” the master said.

They reached the same street-crossing early morning and displayed the same painting exactly at the same place. Now master took out another board which read, “Gentlemen, I have painted this piece. Since I am new to this profession I might have committed some mistakes in my strokes etc. I have put a box with colors and brushes just below. Please do a favor. If you see a mistake, kindly pick up the brush and correct it.” Master and disciple walked back home.

They both visited the place the same evening. The young painter was surprised to see that there was not a single correction done so far. The next day again they visited and found the painting remained untouched. They say the painting was kept there for a month for no correction came in!

This story is one of many life instances that portray how much people prefer to criticize rather than improve a person or situation.
It’s so easy to criticize other people, and so hard to give a single honest compliment. It’s so easy to see yourself in a good light and at the same time focus on the imperfections of other people.

Have you ever noticed how some people don’t think twice before criticizing someone else? Or how their tolerance level for ideas that are different from their own is practically non-existent, making them argumentative and easily angered?

Have you been in a situation where you spend a considerable amount of hours on a task thinking that you pulled a good one, only to have your work flimsily thrown back at you with a derogatory remark from your boss or supervisor and even friends? And, when you ask them to give opinions on how it could be better they go blank?

That’s how much people prefer to criticize rather than improve. Most critics only know that a task or situation can be better but can barely pinpoint how to make it better.

As a boss, supervisor, parent, team leader, or expert, there’s probably been times you discredit and make your subordinates feel they haven’t done enough.

Whatever you hope your critic statements could positively impact the lives of the person you criticize, you need to understand that people’s ability to handle criticism differs and you may never ascertain for sure the mental strength of the person you have overly criticized.

What if your harsh criticism makes them give up or pushes them over the edge? What if your derogatory remarks were the reason a person never trusted their abilities anymore?

Rather than criticize, you could give feedback. If you want to help people improve their behavior, it is worth investing your effort in learning how to help people change their behaviors, attitudes, and skills.

Criticizing people is a complete lose-lose situation that only creates distance, spreads negative energies, and causes tensions. Criticism is one of the worst kinds of negative thinking, talking, and acting.
If positive thoughts are creative thoughts of connecting, including, sharing and loving, then negative thinking is composed of thoughts and words (and consequently actions) that disconnect, exclude and spread hate.

Practice giving constructive feedback rather than criticizing. Both criticism and feedback involve evaluation. However, a key difference between feedback and criticism is that criticism involves judgment and fault-finding, where feedback evaluates and then passes on corrective information.

Na Small Thing Syndrome

Tell me are you ready o. (Ridimacoolayo) Party scatter, As they start am, People yapa, They start to dancia, But as I enter, Omo the party scatter, Party scatter, The party scatter, the party scatter….. The sound from Fireboy, one of Nigeria’s top artists kept banging. Really, the party don scatter. Buzz was coming in from left, right and center and as you will expect. The party no go sweet if girls no dey…. (Another music from Falz and Patonranking)

I was already in another world when I checked my time, it was 4:00 am. It was then it occurred to me that the morning was the finals of our state soccer match. My teammates were camped in a hotel close to the stadium but I got a waiver to stay in town that night as I was having a meeting with the scouts from Germany who came to Europe to see me play and finalize my contract signing to play soccer in Europe. The deal was successful and my agent asked that we go to a nearby pub to celebrate after they all went to sleep. I managed to get out of the club and got to the stadium as early because I never had time to sleep. When the match kicked off, the team and my coach were waiting on my excellent performance and skills to win at the finals. I struggled all through the game without any excellent touch, passes, or dribbles which had always been my best way of thrilling the fans.

My coach would pull me closer and whisper into my ears just after the match, “You are such a disappointment”, as my head fell to the ground in shame. There are several lessons to learn from this story, but one we must not ignore is the implication of overconfidence that leads to a lack of preparedness. The lack of preparation stems from either ignorance or the na-small-thing syndrome.

Na-small-thing syndrome is that undertone disease that makes us feel we can effortlessly excel at a given task even without preparation simply because we have excelled at it before or have gotten accolades for being the best at it in the past. Typically, there are many cons to being an expert. Aside from raising the bar of expectation, you realize that when you have demonstrated a level of professionalism at something, people never give you the luxury of being second best at it. They don’t expect your grease to dry. But, unbeknownst to us, the accolade feeds our ego that we soon begin to feel overconfident and infallible. Have you ever felt 100% confident in your ability to complete a task, and then failed miserably?What do you think caused you to fail?

Overconfidence refers to the phenomenon that people’s confidence in their judgments and knowledge is higher than the actual accuracy of things. Overconfidence has been called the most “pervasive and potentially catastrophic” of all the cognitive biases to which human beings fall victim. It has been blamed for lawsuits, strikes, wars, and stock market bubbles and crashes. One common example of overconfidence is how we often underestimate the time a task or project will take. We’ve all been there, answering “Sure thing!” with a nod and a grin when a customer asks if we can get something done by tomorrow.

In the story, the young man was going to seal a major deal. He was a football expert and thrilled his fans with his creative dribbles and passes. His coach loved him. He was pretty good. Good enough for overconfidence to overhaul his sense of judgment. As he sat at the pub that night, he was roped in everything that he forgot about the football match he had for the morning until it was 4 am. The writer did not express any feeling of anxiety that he had not prepared for the match rather he played it cool and casually went off to the field to thrill his fans. If it was not for overconfidence, he had no business being at the pub when he could have taken the time to practice and mentally prepare for it. That night as he was whiling away time at the pub, chances are that his opponents were aggressively practicing knowing the kind of person they were up against. They probably practiced extra hard thinking that their toughest contender would bring his A-game, new skills, and extraordinary dribbles to the match, but fortunately for them.

A downside to overconfidence is that it can cause you to make more mistakes than you would if your ego was more balanced. Thinking that you’re infallible can lead to poor decisions that cost big bucks or big dreams. The singular thought of being infallible makes you throw caution to the wind without intentionality. Many times, we find ourselves being overconfident. We have the skill. People have praised us for it and we have almost started to think we can never fail at it. A high level of confidence is usually helpful for performing tasks because it can lead you to strive for difficult goals. Overconfidence, however, often makes people no longer feel the need to invest all of their effort. The fourth villain of decision-making is overconfidence. People think they know more than they do about how the future will unfold.

To succeed, you need to learn to draw the line between being confident and being overconfident. Confidence is knowing you can make it through the day without screwing up, overconfidence is thinking you can do it again tomorrow.