Musthafa Ebadi
The Best Response To Criticism Is No Response!
by Musthafa Ebadi on May 25th, 2014

Taking criticism well is a trait that is not easy to come by. While a lot of people will tell you that they take criticism well when they are criticized majority of them don’t take it well. They get defensive, they respond with without thinking, and start pointing fingers.

However they are a small contingent of people out there that respond very positively when criticized.

You can divide those who get criticized in three distinct groups:

1.  Those who receive criticism well:

About 10% of the people that I have dealt with are those who receive criticism well. They genuinely believe that they only way to improve is by receiving feedback. While they will not alter their personality or how they do things based on every feedback, they listen to criticism well and if warranted make the necessary changes.  Even if they respond to any criticism they do it not to defend themselves but to paint an accurate picture of a situation.

2. Those who respond to and defend every criticism:

 Majority of people defend and respond to each criticism within a nano second of being criticized. This behavior is a function of two factors; either because they don’t want to let someone down and try to defend an action or situation so others aren’t disappointed in them, or they believe that they can do nothing wrong and hence have answers/arguments for every feedback. This behavior is one of the factors that separates them from being average instead of great. As much as they believe that by responding to criticizing they get an upper hand it often is the cause of their mediocrity.

3. Those who will point finger at you:

Then there are about 5% of people that if criticized instead of taking it well or responding to it they will immediately point to a weakness or mistake of yours without any relevance to topic of discussion. My advice about these people would be that unless they are your immediate family you are much better off to ignore them. They can never learn, and you trying to invest your energy in them is a perfect definition of insanity – doing same thing again and again and expecting different result.

The best way to respond to any criticism is to listen to the critic. You don’t have to agree with them but try to listen, process why they are criticizing you, and respond only to clarify a situation. And when you do respond ensure that you understand the difference between clarifying a situation and defending yourself or your mistakes.

If you come across someone who takes criticism well I bet the adjectives that people use to define them are classy, successful, educated, smart, bright, methodical, meticulous etc

One of the reasons they have achieved the above traits is because they have listened well to the criticism. How you see them isn’t how they were born but rather have become who they are by investing in themselves using the feedback provided by others.   They are a perfect example of the saying “use every rock thrown at you to build a master piece wall”

Feel free to agree, disagree, or share your perspective using the comment section of this post.

Thanks for reading!


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