"Criticism never killed a career, quitting does." - Bukani Duba
I recently had the opportunity to be criticized for the content we put out as the Dynisty Team. And I say opportunity because that's how I view it. It is an opportunity to test my character and resolve for our intended end game and desired goals.
A "public opinion bath" is a phrase that was once used by President Abraham Lincoln. He allowed the White House to receive letters and visits from everyday citizens so that they can tell him (the President) what they thought of how he was running the country and share their issues and concerns. In a time Pre-FaceBook and Twitter, this was pretty revolutionary. It highlights a critical skill of any leader to correctly filter opinions.
At South by Southwest (SXSW) a former recording executive at Def Jam recounted the story of Kanye West wanting to rap. They, along with Jay Z, kept telling him to stick to making beats. According to them his rapping was just not good enough. He didn't listen to them and now here I am also retelling the story. They were wrong! And he knew it then as he still knows it now.
History is littered with stories of heroic figures that pushed beyond their comfort and leaned into, not away from, the criticism of others. Are you ready join them or will you shrink back because of what other people say about you and your art?
Here are some of the lessons I've learnt from criticism I've received over the years.
1. Know why you are creating your art in the first place. If you don't know why you are doing what you are doing, it can be easily undone by the slightest wind blowing or foolish comment. Knowing gives your cause a greater resolve.
2. Take the good with the bad. If you are truly creating art, know that not everyone is going to like it, and that's a good thing. Focus on the ones that do and not the ones that don't.
Disclaimer - if it's only your mom who likes it. Maybe you should consider another vocation.
3. Separate yourself from your creation. Because people don't like a piece you created doesn't decrease your value or worth as an artist.
4. Comb through the criticism and if there is any value in it, learn from it. If not, throw it away and out of your mind.
5. Use that criticism to create more art.
6. Understand where the criticism comes from. Some people are just mean. Some people really care. And some people just like to feel superior. Know the heart behind the words.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST:
7. Keep creating ART!!
Question: How do you react when your work gets criticized?
Leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you