October 23, 2023

How to handle criticism

Cartoon of hands gold panning

Steven K Scott wrote that every criticism contains water, sand, and gold.

The water is the ‘noise’ in the criticism – the words that carry the message but don’t say much in and of themselves.

The sand is the bit that stings – the part of the criticism you find virtually impossible not to take personally and it hurts to hear, read, or even consider it.

The gold is the nugget of truth in the criticism – the piece that if you really took it to heart, you would be able to change things for the better.

Panning for the gold can be difficult, but it is worthwhile.

Here’s a thought. The nugget of truth for you might not be the core message that the person was trying to give you, especially if they were criticising you to help them feel good about themselves. Look for YOUR message amongst the sand and water.

And remember, in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.

My best wishes, Paul

Paul Matthews

CEO and Founder of People Alchemy

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