There are two kinds of criticism:
(1) Unfair criticism. There’ll always be people who love to rain on your parade; people who try to build themselves up by tearing others down. Mark Twain said, ‘Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.’
(2) Constructive criticism. Solomon said, ‘Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.’ (Proverbs 25:12 NIV) There’s a major obstacle you must overcome in order to reach your highest potential. What is it? Our natural reluctance to discover anything unflattering about ourselves. When you erect defences against your inadequacies and try to hide your faults, you close the door to a vital source of self-knowledge. And in so doing, you deny yourself the joy of growing.
Every one of us can improve what we’re doing or the way we’re doing it. In fact, if you’re still celebrating what you did last year—you’re not making enough progress this year. After winning his third world championship, instead of having a big celebration, bull rider Tuff Hedeman moved on to Denver to start a new season—the whole process over again. His line of reasoning was: ‘The bull in Denver won’t be impressed with what I did last week.’
Whether you’re an untested rookie or a veteran, if you want to be a champion tomorrow, you must be teachable today. Or as Solomon puts it: ‘Whoever learns from correction is wise.’ (Proverbs 15:5 NLT)