Be The Archetype

“Public working leads to public criticism, and developing and articulating the etiquette around providing feedback is now a necessity to develop thicker skins and more eloquent tongues.”

Frank Chimero

If there is one thing we know for sure, it is that we find it hard to receive and accept criticism. When we build things, design things, operate things and craft things, we’re subject, no matter what, to present our work for others to see, as proof that we’ve done something, evidence that we’ve shed enough of our blood, sweat and tears1 to create something for everyone to see. And when our work is staged, we instinctively wait for the pat on the back; the praise that tells us we’ve done a good job.

However, when the work we’ve so caringly made is criticised — yelled at — we turn to ourselves for comfort, and knee-jerk into the fetal position. When that happens, we experience dejection, and in this state, we innately lose our sensibility. We turn into children. And children, so desperate for comfort, will stop at nothing to get it.

It’s basic psychology: our brains are wired to do this. But of course, what kind of people would we be, if we’re all poised to be this irrational?

There are two kinds of people in this world2: the ones who believe they can succeed all the time, and the ones who believe they fail every time. The former describes the praise-hungry; the ones who can’t accept criticism. The latter, on the other hand, are the kinds of people who strive for perfection; they always know their work isn’t finished, and they always believe they could’ve done better. These are the kind of people that know how to pick themselves up, acknowledge what they’ve done wrong, and learn from their mistakes. These are the kind of people that, when their work is staged and criticised, act upon what’s given. They’re the geniuses that can accept failure, and they’re always willing to try again.

While we associate these kinds of people to ourselves, know that there’s always the chance to interchange between them. Remember, our work will be staged, no matter what, and it is our job — an obligation — to set an example. If we’re not willing to accept criticism, then our own criticisms towards others shouldn’t count.

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”

Sir Ken Robinson

  1. Okay, so I may be exaggerating it here. [return]
  2. There’s an actual joke that continues like this: “There are only two kinds of people in the world: the ones who seperate people into two groups, and the ones who don’t.” (via Sir Ken Robinson). [return]