Writer | Marketer | Creative

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Criticism Is Lazy If You Don't Do Anything With It


We're very good at finding mistakes. So good, in fact, that we tend to take pride in our ability to find room for improvement. In some cases, we even create a sense of superiority for ourselves. Based on what?

The worst attempt is still better than nothing. There's something we need to respect in these people who've done the work. They've done the work.

They built that startup or that small business. They published that book. They finished that project. They produced that film.

For us to sit back and critique others' accomplishments is fine, so long as we do something with it. It's okay to say "you should have done this in your business," so long as we incorporate that insight into our own ventures.

It's okay to say "your use of adverbs was lacking," so long as our own books do a better job of it. That's just the problem.

If we don't use the criticism we give others' work to improve our own, we're nothing but a bunch of lazy jerks. Ideally, we're all working harder and harder to improve our respective crafts and businesses, which means that we inevitably improve at recognizing where things can be better.

Obviously we're biased towards our own work, so when we come across someone else's, we're finally able to perform the full editorial treatment on something fresh. This is precarious - fine if we keep ourselves balanced; dreadful if we fall off the edge.

It's far easier to criticize than to create something better. You'll notice, however, that those who get caught in this self-defeating trap fail to create anything, certainly not something that puts all their clearly superior knowledge to good use.

As anyone trying to grow, this is the last thing you want or need to happen to you. It's perfectly fine and good to recognize when something could be better, but doing so provides no value to anyone unless we incorporate that advice into our own work.