“Never pay any attention to what critics say. Don’t forget there has never been a statue set up in honor of a critic.” -Jean Sibelius, 206h Finnish Composer. Finlandia and the Karelia suite, et al.
Which is more likely to gain attention, taking a snot at someone, or saying, “I agree.”? Which is easier, roundly criticizing someone, or coming up with a better plan–then working it while subjecting yourself to criticism?
Given that criticizing is easy and gains attention, it is understandable that so many people indulge in this activity, often to exclusion of getting positive done. Understandable, perhaps, but not acceptable.
“Never pay any attention to what critics say. Don’t forget there has never been a statue set up in honor of a critic.” -Jean Sibelius, Finnish Composer. Finlandia and the Karelia suite, et al.
Which is more likely to gain attention, taking a shot at someone, or saying, “I agree.”? Which is easier, roundly criticizing someone, or coming up with a better plan–then working it while subjecting yourself to criticism?
Given that criticizing is easy and gains attention, it is understandable that so many people indulge in this activity, often to exclusion of getting anything positive done. Understandable, perhaps, but not acceptable.
Let’s take a look at my favorite quote about critics: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore Roosevelt. Medal of Honor winner, 26th President of the United States.
Being a critic allows for what many people see as the best of both possible worlds: It allows one to be involved, to be seen as contributing, but with no responsibility. And we are not only surrounded by critics, but criticism is washing over us almost every time we turn on the radio, TV, log onto certain social media or even hangout in the coffee room at work. Even the family Thanksgiving dinner table is not immune; and isn’t criticism the polar opposite of being thankful? Important point: sarcasm is a form of criticism. While it might have a place when appropriately used in comedy, it never has a place in person-to-person conversations.
When we hear leaders in the major parties speak, what percentage of the time are they slamming the other party’s people and ideas, vs the percentage of the time they are praising the virtues, with some specific proof attached to add credibility, of their people and policies? Personally, I have heard enough criticism of both parties to believe that neither one of them is worth much. In essence, I am believing what both parties are saying about each other. Here’s an analogy. You are shopping for a car, and are considering Toyotas and Hondas. In this example, when you go to the Toyota dealership, the salesperson takes up most of your time telling you how bad the Hondas are. And vice versa at the Honda dealership. You might be inclined to at least somewhat believe both of them and either put off your purchase or look for a Ford or Mazda.
Todays key point: There is nothing wrong with criticism, but a little bit goes a very long way. Let’s use less than 5% of our time and energy criticizing, and the rest planning, implementing and taking responsibility for what we are doing. Sit back for a moment and imagine what our world would be like if we all did that.
It is much harder–dramatically harder–to actually do something than it is to take shots at the people who are doing the doing.
Our communities and our world need about 95% less criticising and more praising, planning and taking responsibility. When was the last time you heard a leader in either party, or a talking head on TV, or a writer for a newspaper, praise anyone from the “other side”? And when was the last time you heard any of these types take any responsibility for a person or policy they promoted if things didn’t work out well? We are being pounded with criticism from both sides, with little praise and no accountability. We must take responsibility for changing this environment, for changing our country, or we will drown in our own juices. We want to be among those who know, “…the triumph of high achievement…” and not be among those, “cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Join with me in using what we know how to do–what we know we must do–to everyone’s advantage. Remember, Revolution 2.0 is coming. Please stand by…
Links and References
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Let’s apply the two Results With Reason main tenets to today’s issues. The two main tenets that we believe in at Results With Reason are:
- Personal Responsibility; practice it, teach it and
- Be Your Brother’s Keeper. Be patient with each other; when people truly need a hand up and not a hand out, be there. Teach and encourage; don’t criticize and reject. Love and lead. Remember, we are all in this together.
Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. It is not enough to be a well informed voter. We need to act. And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.
Remember: Knowledge by itself is the booby prize.
Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.