Treat Criticism Like A Hat And 'Try It On' Before Rejecting It

Treat Criticism Like a Hat and

When someone criticises you, your first instinct is almost always to toss it. Haters gonna hate, right? Except even haters are right sometimes. Before you disregard criticism, writer Seth Godin suggests trying it on to see how their advice fits on you.

Picture: MTSOfan/Flickr

As Godin notes, having a dismissive attitude by default results in a lot of good advice being ignored over the long run. Instead of spending your energy rationalising why they're wrong, or worse, explaining in great detail the error of their ways, give it a try. Imagine things from another perspective. If it's something simple, try doing it before you disregard it.

When a friend says, "you'd look good in a hat", it's counterproductive to imagine that she just told you that you look lousy without a hat, and that you then have to explain why you never wear hats and take offence at the fact that she thinks you always look terrible. Nope. Try on the hat. Just try on the hat. Put on a jacket that goes with the hat. Walk around with the hat on. Take a few pictures of yourself wearing a hat. Then, if you want to, sure, stop wearing hats.

Not all advice can be tried immediately -- for example, it's easier to try a new food than it is to change careers -- but if the advice is something you can do, it couldn't hurt to try it. If it's something more complex or ambitious, at least take a moment to imagine your life if you followed the advice. Would you be happy if you changed in the way your critic is suggesting? Just the thought experiment itself can be enough to open your mind to better ways of thinking.

Advice or criticism? [Seth Godin]

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