We all love being praised. We all love when other people say that we did a great job. Sure, we do. That’s who we are. But haters, people who criticize us, can do much better work for us.
Yeah, we all love to hear “you’re great!”, “proud of you”, “what you did is damn’ good!”.
Sure, that’s nice when people show us that they appreciate our work.
But there is one big problem with such a thing. With praises.
It doesn’t teach us anything
What did you learn from someone who just said that you’re freaking good at what you do?
Probably nothing. Sure, you can feel like you’re on a top of the world. You can feel great.
For a moment. And then… nothing will change.
You will be in the same place.
With the same knowledge.
With the same experience.
With the same people around you.
With the same perspective.
You will still be the same person; with the same flaws you have had before.
Criticism is good
And I mean really good.
Let’s imagine you have a YouTube channel and you just published a new video there (just like I did recently). The very first comment someone published under this video is:
“Everything’s nice, but audio sucks.”
Is it nice? Sure, it’s not. But it teaches you something. That you need to do something with the audio. That you need to buy a mic or learn how to speak in front of camera, or learn how to improve the audio in some dedicated app. Or whatever else… but you can clearly see that you need to work on something. You need to work on something to be better at it. To be better overall.
Haters gonna hate
Sure, there is also some other type of criticism. There are haters. There are also people who say:
And nothing more.
What should you do with such comments? You can delete them (I don’t recommend that!). You can also pretend that they do not exist and do nothing with them (I don’t recommend that either).
What I truly recommend is to answer to those comments. Answer by asking for them to be more specific.
If someone says: “You suck!”, reply to this comment by saying:
“Thank you for your comment. It means a lot to me. Could you please be more specific and tell me a little bit more why you think I suck? It’s important to me to improve my skills, so I could create better content and help more people. I truly believe that your comment may help me with that, so I’ll be more than happy if you could share your thoughts with me. Thank you in advance.”
How does it sound? Nice, isn’t it?
Now, the ball is on their side. You may receive a comment like “fuck you, you suck” (in this scenario don’t reply again, that’s a waste of time), you may not receive an answer at all (that’s fine, you did your best) or you may receive a specific answer (e.g. you need to work on this or that). And if you receive such an answer, we have a win-win game here.
Their win: you just made them feel special and important (their comment is important to you). And if you’re smart, you will improve next time, so they will gain better quality content.
Your win: you just gain some free feedback. Someone just spent a minute, two or even ten saying what they (really!) think about your work. For free.
Criticism helps us improve
Forget about praise. Sure, such things are great. They’re nice, kind… call it whatever you want. But they don’t teach you anything. They are just… words. And nothing more.
Kindly thank them and look for the opposite. Look for criticism, look for haters. Talk to them, listen to them, ask them about being more specific.
And learn from them. As much, as you can.
That’s how you can improve. That’s how you may become better in something.