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Michael E. Angier

By Michael Angier

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There's an old adage that goes like this: to avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing. If you want to get ahead in the world, you'll have to do all three. So you should expect to be criticized.

The key is to discern what is helpful criticism (most isn't) and what you need to shrug off.

The ability to be unflappable in the face of criticism requires a healthy self esteem, self confidence and a tough outer shell. I call it having a thick skin and a soft heart. The trick is to never mix up the two.

If you're never being criticized, judged or disparaged in any way, you're likely not doing all that much and you probably need to move up a few notches on the "Go-for-it-Scale'.

All criticism should be listened to, but not all of it is valid.

A friend of mine used to say, "If one person calls you a horse, well that's just an opinion. If two people call you a horse, you may want to stop and think about it. If three people call you a horse, you may want to start shopping for a saddle."

Action Point: If you trust the source—or you're getting the same criticism from several people—consider the validity and take corrective action when it's warranted. If it's not, thank the person for sharing, and forget about it.

Recognize that everyone has their opinion and that you don't always have to defend yours. "Let the dogs bark; the caravan moves on."

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Last Updated 10/06/2004