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Garbage Stinks – How to Benefit from Praise, Criticism, and Failure

Don’t drag garbage from the last thing you did into the next thing you do. Learn and throw it out.

Respond to the present with the future in mind. Past failure teaches you what to stop. The future calls you to try new things.

Any fool can point out failure and warn of danger. Critics matter when they’re helpful, which might be an oxymoron.

Preventing failure only matters if you’re moving forward.

Criticism and correction matter when they:

  1. Teach you from past mistakes. But understand the limits of learning from past mistakes. Failure teaches you what to stop. You touched a hot burner. What’s the lesson? Don’t do that again!
  2. Motivate you to pursue excellence. A critic that sharpens your mind helps you, as long as you release drama. Stop obsessing about the opinions of people you don’t like and don’t respect.
  3. Help you build the future. Critics are good at stopping things. Critics bring value when they add positive suggestions. (But chronic critics don’t know what they want. They just know what they don’t like.)

One harsh critic is louder than ten loud fans. But raving fans aren’t that helpful either.

Affirmation and praise matter when they:

  1. Challenge you. The people who love you tend to agree with you. But that’s the path to mediocrity.
  2. Affirm character and hard work. “You worked hard,” is better than, “You did a good job.”
  3. Look toward the future. Point out the good AND look to the future. “What’s next,” is more powerful than, “Good job.” (Allow time between accomplishment and challenge. Savor victory for a day or two, then ask, “What’s next?”)

How might leaders get the most out of criticism and praise?

How might leaders use criticism and praise to build-up others?

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