4 min read

Beware the Unskilled Critic

When you begin to make strides towards your goals and aspirations, people around you will notice.

Some have your best interest at heart, others, not so much.

3 Types of Critic

When you decide to embark on a new project and start to talk about it, 3 types of critics usually arise:

  1. The safe critic

This is usually the people closest to you. They have your best interests at heart but from their perspective, they’d prefer you continue doing what you’re doing to stay safe and avoid the risk of failure. Because of this, they downplay your plans as too risky or not worth giving up what you already have for something not guaranteed.

  1. The doubtful critic

In this corner, we have the critic who has tried what you’re thinking of doing, and it didn’t work out for them, so it most likely won’t work out for you. When I say they’ve tried it before, I don’t mean literally; what I mean is they tried it out in their head, and from this, they concluded that it was not possible, so they shower you with doubt and highlight why it’s impossible.

  1. The jealous critic

Finally, this is the critic who convinced themselves it was not possible or they weren’t capable of doing what you are now demonstrating is, in fact, possible. Your success brings them guilt and shame, making them feel bad about themselves. In response, they attack you, your goals, aspirations and achievements by justifying why you could do it and they couldn’t.

Cynics and Pessimists

Much like filtering through the noise of the internet, you must also learn to sift through the noise of criticism.

Each type of critic has different motivations. One to look out for, in particular, are the cynics and pessimists. Their beliefs are often self-fulfilling.

Cynics believe your motivations are driven by self-interest, and they will happily spread doubt about your intentions. Conversely, pessimists will always see the worst in your actions and believe the worst-case scenario will eventuate.

Criticism from and partnerships with cynics and pessimists should be avoided. These are not the people you want in your corner.

Valued Criticism

Criticism worth listening to comes from someone skilled or experienced in your work.

This is the criticism you should actively seek out, and listen when received. These people understand what you’re trying to do, and why. They’ve been in your shoes before, dealt with the unhelpful criticism and understand the challenges that lie ahead. They likely received some help and support along their journey and would be more than happy to give back by supporting you.

The difficulty arises when the criticism and feedback you receive challenge your beliefs or understanding about your situation. This is part of the struggle; you can take the advice or leave it.

The importance lies in understanding who’s criticism to consider, and who’s to ignore.

Not all Criticisms are Equal
Some criticism is invaluable. It comes from those who have travelled the journey, relates to your vision and feels the fear for you.
Criticise the Work, not the Worker
Constructive criticism can be agonising to deliver, how do you deal with it? One extreme is to turn a blind eye until the last minute, and the other extreme is to come across as blunt or judgemental which can unintentionally create a defensive, disagreeable relationship with the person on the