“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” – Norman Vincent Peale
The Cons of Compliments
Some of you may be thinking, “Cons of compliments? There are cons to compliments?”. Well, yeah, there can be actually and if you’re not aware of what those cons may be then you are leaving yourself vulnerable to the possibility of a whole world of trouble.
Let me explain, when we are criticized, we know that hurts. When it’s constructive well-worded feedback then it hurts much less, and that can be used positively to enhance ourselves or our work. Praise might seem like it should almost always be a good thing, but if you’re not careful enough to keep your humility in check you might be walking blindfolded down a dirt path path towards a looming cliff-side.
What the heck are you talking about, Wolf Boy?
Listen! Alright, so maybe you’re not bombarded every day of the week with praise, but if you are… Bravo!
Now, I’m sure you have an amazing blog and can write the shit out of that short story or novel that you’ve been working on, and that’s awesome. You deserve praise and you deserve to feel good about that. Being confident is a good thing, and perhaps just a smidgen of arrogance can help you. That’s going to help you keep pushing forward. 😉
It’s just important to remember that no matter how awesome you become (or think you become) at at a hobby, your career etc. The moment that you start letting it get to your head is when you actually start to slide backwards, and you might not even notice it.
We need to strike a fine balance between praise and constructive criticism. We should not be afraid to look at the product of our own creation in a critical way. There needs to be a balance between being confident and sure of ourselves, and knowing that there is always room for improvement!
Sometimes, the worst thing that could happen to a person, is to surround themselves with a bunch of insincere “yes men”. Those who compliment everything just for sake of kissing some…
Not everyone who enjoys dishing out compliments is straight up kissing butt though, and sometimes we just need to do our best to remain humble in our accomplishments. I’m actually the type of guy who loves to be supportive and to compliment others on what they do right. However, if I’m ever asked my honest opinion on anything, it’s going to be an honest mix of both praise and constructive feedback.
…And on another note, if you are asking someone else for their feedback on something but even their slightest criticism offends you, then you likely have some ego issues to sort out. You may have surrounded yourself with only the kinds of people who tell you just what you want to hear, and this is never a good thing!!! This is exactly what this post is all about actually.
Why, you ask?
Because you’ve just eliminated your ability to grow, learn and evolve.
Now if there are any of you out there thinking, “Yeah this guy is right, I’m going to go out and tell everyone what I really think about their blogs and posts, because it’s being helpful. People should be able to take criticism, it’s healthy.”
No, this is also wrong. Unsolicited criticism is not usually welcomed. We should still focus on building each other up as a priority. There have been a few times where I’ve received unsolicited negative feedback from a blogger who I have no rapport with, and it’s really bugged the hell out of me. Especially if they have no discernible accolades behind them, or work which impresses me on their blogs. Typically, this is not constructive feedback but the signs of an over-inflated ego.
No one cares about your negative opinion on their blog if you haven’t already earned their friendship or respect first. Giving unsolicited criticism is often just social suicide with whomever you’re critiquing, if you don’t already have their trust. It’s important to keep all things as balanced as possible. This doesn’t just apply to the blogging world, but to the real world as well. The criticism that is best able to sneak past another’s guard is the criticism that is diplomatic, timely and sensitively produced.
If you want to give constructive feedback, it’s important to talk about what you believe the other person got right as well as what they could have improved upon. Wording is everything, and so is a proper balance. A compliment, no matter how small, often takes the sting out of a criticism. Most of the time this formula works, unless someone has really fallen of the deep end in some way. Everything needs to be sincere, honest and careful.
Let’s just all remember that as dangerous as criticism can be at times (particularly the hurtful and insensitive type), too much praise can also be dangerous too. A healthy ego is a balanced ego. Stay humble. It’s the number one way to avoid being humiliated.
We are all imperfect creatures. We all make mistakes, and as long as we believe that there is always room to improve, then we are going to keep growing and keep evolving for the better! Believing that we’ve already mastered something is only going to cause us to stagnate and regress. It’s all about balance, humility and quiet confidence, with perhaps just that smidgen of over-confident self-belief. Just enough to keep you going when the world feels like it’s overwhelmingly against you.