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How to Effectively Handle Criticism

Criticism is one of those words that seems to cut most people like a knife. Although the knife doesn’t seem as sharp when we put the word “constructive” in front of the word criticism, nonetheless the word still seems to pierce.

When I was growing up, my mom would always tell me: “Son, you can’t control or worry about what people say … you can only control what you say and what you do.”

Later on in life, as a young leader, I had a mentor that would always say, “If you’re doing something worthy of people taking shots at you … they will. I would much rather have a leader that people don’t always understand and who is occasionally criticized than a “leader” that no one ever talks about.”  

I’ve heard one of my old pastors say something like, “If you want to find the leader, look for the one with the arrow in their back!”

I tend to view criticism as neutral.

As a matter of fact, I view it from the perspective of the phrase that no one likes to say or hear, and that is this: “It Is What It Is!” 

I prefer to “eat the meat and spit out the bones”! When you are chewing on the meat of life, you might find some pieces that are not cooked to your liking, tough, salty and that simply don’t taste right. Although they are not cooked to your liking, it may be beneficial to go ahead and consume them. It’s called life lessons and learning experiences.

Again, “eat the meat and spit out the bones”!

If you don’t want to be criticized, I have some advice for you: Say Nothing, Do Nothing and Be Nothing!

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” —Theodore Roosevelt

I don’t ever want to find my place with those “cold and timid souls.”

Criticism: “It Is What It Is!”  

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Scott Williams served as a key leader and Campus Pastor for LifeChurch.tv. He is the Chief Solutions Officer for Nxt Level Solutions, a consulting company he founded to help businesses, non-profits and individuals with both internal and external growth. Scott is speaker, strategist, consultant and developer of leaders. He is an avid blogger at BigIsTheNewSmall.com, and leverages Social Media to make a Kingdom impact. Scott is passionate about leadership development, organizational growth and diversity. He is the author of “Church Diversity – Sunday The Most Segregated Day Of The Week.” Scott is married, a father of two, and lives in Oklahoma City, OK.