December 6, 2009

Turning a Blind (Side) Eye to Your Critics

How do you react to criticism? Do you use it positively - channeling the ideas and comments from others to develop your services or skills? Do you ignore it, continuing to do what you do? Do you react negatively to it, causing you to get distracted and off focus from your goals and plans?

Critics come in many forms. Some are just bystanders, looking to get in some "cheap shot from the peanut gallery" while others are just doing their job. They are paid to be critical of others work and efforts. Sometimes criticism can come in the form of "constructive criticism" where the critic is aiming to help you. It seems to me that today's society has made being a "critic" easier than ever.

People can comment on blogs, web sites and chat boards, often doing so anonymously. When their is no accountability for their actions or comments, it allows for a bit of a "take no prisoners" approach. Facebook now has a "Like" button so people can share when they concur or enjoy your post or update without engaging in too much input or commentary. There's even a push going around for the social networking site to add a "Dislike" button so it is easier to disagree with people or make them feel that they are least from one person's standpoint. Is that really necessary? People would be afraid to post anything anymore.

Can you imagine posting pictures of your child and having someone opt to "dislike" them? Ouch!

I recently saw the movie The Blind Side. It's a motion picture version of the true-life story of football player Michael Oher. Oher overcame a life of poverty and neglect when he was welcomed in by an affluent Memphis area family and developed into a college star and eventually a first round NFL draft pick. Oher now starts on the offensive line for the Baltimore Ravens.

I really enjoyed the movie and it seems that many others have as well. It continues to deliver good box office results and most people I know who have seen it seem to have enjoyed it. So it came as a bit of a surprise to me when I found out that many critics really disliked this movie, some to the point of writing scathing commentary and articles. maybe these reviewers are bitter over getting cut from their high school football teams?

Oh well, what can we do about our critics or those who don't share our feelings or thoughts? Ignoring them is certainly one option. Listening to them with an open mind is another. Perhaps asking ourselves why would this person have such a different viewpoint on the same product?

As we get ready to turn the page on the year (and decade) it might be a good time to ask yourself this question - How do you react to the critics in your life?

Will you choose to listen to them, learn from them or just let it go?

Fot those of you who haven't seen the movie, enjoy this short trailer for The Blind Side. If you get a chance to see it in theatres (or on DVD), I think you'll like it. I know I did.

If you don't like it, don't blame it on me. I'm not a professional critic.