bits from bob....


by Robert J. Young
©, 2001, Robert J. Young
[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

A great article about criticism recently crossed my desk. Unfortunately most of the article and the name of the author had been detached. This is not an entirely original article, but I do not know how to give appropriate credit.

How do you react to criticism? The truth is that most of us waste more time, energy, and thought in responding to criticism than we should.

One may who had been slandered by a newspaper sought advice as to what he should do. The advice was superb: "Do nothing! Half the people who bought the paper never saw the article. Half of those who saw it did not read it. Half of those who read it did not understand it. Half of those who understood it did not believe it. Half of those who believed it are of no account anyway!"

I couldn't help but chuckle. One member of a church where I formerly served was always offering "constructive criticism" (his description). His question was unchanging: "Would you like a little constructive criticism?" I'll never forget the honesty of one visiting preacher who simply responded, "No thank you."

Even the best of criticism with constructive intent is seldom that constructive. Most of receive enough negative messages during our day to blow our quota. Some psychologists say it takes at least seven constructive messages to undo the damage of one negative message. If that is so, I think I'll just keep on trying to accentuate the positive. Would you join me this week in that commitment?

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Last updated December 2, 2001.