The Power of One Criticism

“It’s crazy how 1,000 people can compliment you and you’ll spend all day thinking about the one person who criticized you.”

Hmmm…I can relate.

There is this time I anchored a talk show during an international conference. My performance was simply good, by my assessment. People thought I was brilliant! Though somewhat surprised, I basked in the compliments. Just as I received a compliment from a well-respected leader of our organisation, a friend accused me of bias. He said I put one of the guests of the show on the spot with needless questions and unfair comments, because the guest is not a Nigerian. What?

I reeled back from the verbal assault. That is how I felt it, an assault. One moment I was basking in the warmth of much praise, the next I was enveloped in the chilling cold of a negative comment.

The compliments that came afterwards were like water on a duck’s back. I dwelt on that single feedback long enough for my mind to be so numbed I almost did not gain anything from the rest of the conference. Thankfully, I was buoyed up by the compliments. Dwelling on them dispelled the negativity that clouded my mind.

So I agree with James Clear, it’s crazy to keep mulling and moping over a criticism. Especially, a lone criticism among many compliments.

But why does the average person have a bent for this craziness? Why do we magnify and make a bog

  • Is it because the criticism is so unmistakable and painfully different amidst the compliments?
  • Maybe it is case of the proverbial bad apple that spoils the whole bunch, of compliments.
  • Could it be due to the unattainable expectation to gain everyone’s approval or please everyone. Sadly, ‘you win some, you lose some.’
  • There’s always the chance the criticism is a bitter truth. Maybe it’s the only unpopular, but honest opinion out of the thousand.

Whatever the case may be, constructive feedback or destructive criticism; honest praise or unfair remark, it is futile to allow yourself lose sleep or be bogged down. Evaluate the situation, learn the lesson and move on.

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