Finding the flaws in others comes as naturally as breathing to some people (myself included, admittedly). However, trash talk and gossip don’t just strain relationships, they make it harder to improve your own work.
Photo by Tambako the Jaguar
As productivity blog 99u explains, having a hypercritical mindset with others makes it a lot easier to focus on your own flaws as well. You can find yourself throwing away good ideas simply because they’re not up to the unrealistic standards you’ve set for others. Or, worse, you could be motivated to inaction because you don’t want to feel like the people you despise:
Perhaps the most common example is the freelancer disdaining self-promotion because they see so many others doing it in ways that lack integrity. The problem isn’t with their scruples; it’s that their dislike of sleazy marketing tactics stops them from doing any marketing at all, or even exploring what good, creative, and valuable marketing might look like.
Once they’re able to disentangle the threads of “sleaze” and “marketing,” however, they can find ways to promote themselves and their work that actually work for them.
Getting off the cynical arsehole bandwagon is a process, but it’s one that’s worthwhile. This doesn’t mean you can never criticise something or have high standards. But if you’re trashing ten people’s work for every one person you like, the problem may be that you simply have trouble seeing the value in things.