Social Question

Zen_Again's avatar

Can one grow without criticism?

Asked by Zen_Again (9911points) March 1st, 2010

Whatever your profession, have you been able to grow despite having been encouraged along the way, sans criticism? Have you only experienced positive reinforcement? Could you grow anyway?

Or does one need a measure of criticism in order to really improve?

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32 Answers

Sophief's avatar

We can grow, but not well. We need criticism to learn right from wrong.

definitive's avatar

I totally believe that if your intention is to grow and develop professionally it is imperative that you are open to constructive criticism and to not take any advise/criticism personally.

belakyre's avatar

I think criticism can be substituted with gentle chiding (not to the point of blatant criticism, if you know what I mean) and positive reinforcement. However, when I read your question…are you talking about constructive criticism or like…criticism?

stardust's avatar

I wouldn’t survive if I wasn’t able to take constructive criticism. I agree that it’s important to not take crit personally. We are constantly changing, growing & adapting to new scenarios. It’s impossible to excel at anything without some constructive crit along the way.

Fyrius's avatar

If one is sufficiently self-critical.
And surely it’s possible just to see other people do a better job and copy them.
I’ve been doing that for years, in an overly supportive environment that seemed to make a sport out of praising me for mediocre non-achievements.

CharlieGirl's avatar

I don’t think so.It takes the bad to help us realize the good and appreciate it more when it comes.

TryAgain's avatar

Sure you can. As long as you learn from your own mistakes. Life is your best critic.

iphigeneia's avatar

I know I thrive on constructive criticism, but there are some things that I do for which I haven’t received much criticism at all, and for those things I have to play the critic myself. If you’re able to take an objective perspective on your own work, the input of others is not essential for growth.

Cruiser's avatar

I think that eventually most people will figure things out through trial and error…think Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day. Criticism will just help you figure things out quicker.

Bronny's avatar

criticism is such a broad word. positive reinforcement and positive criticism go hand in hand….this is a huge factor in what makes someone a really wonderful leader or a downright douchebag. Being able to lead and mentor vs putting down and destroying someone’s confidence in their own abilities and potential…

I wouldn’t say that we need criticism as much as we need mentoring and teaching, and we need to be teachable and willing to learn new ways to better outcomes.

In positive criticism, there should always be the goal in mind of preparing who ever it is you are “giving knowledge to” to be able to one day take over that position as boss, parent, whatever- and do it better. It should never be for self satisfaction because some one screwed up, is incompetent, and it feels good to take out frustration and aggression on them.

Saying stuff like, “What the hell were you thinking? Are you stupid?” seems to be a common reaction to a blunder that maybe we think or know we could have taken care of smoothly and effortlessly…but those type of reactions don’t help anyone grow, they only motivate people to not communicate with you and also demoralizes them from trying again.

lazydaisy's avatar

I’d prefer a critique to criticism

Pandora's avatar

I think it truly depends on the individual. My son never needed my criticism because he was harder on himself than anyone else could ever be. He had a hard time learning at first and I had to push him hard and convince him he wasn’t stupid and that anything could be accomplished with hard work. He began to believe in himself and has succeeded beautifully.
Where as my daughter learned everything easily and could become lazy because things where too easy for her. I had to push her and tell her that doing poorly because she felt lazy wasn’t acceptable. But I couldn’t be too hard on her or she would totally fall apart because she hated to disappoint. She also has succeeded beautifully.
My point is everyone is different and some cannot handle even helpful criticism. You have to look at the individual and see what is necessary.
In 5th grade my son had a teacher he felt hated him and picked on him. He thought she thought he was stupid. I spoke with her and found out she was hard on him because she saw how smart he was and she felt he wasn’t living up to his potential. Once he knew that he grew by leaps in bounds and the teacher learned criticism didn’t work with him as much as possitive re-enforcement.

nisse's avatar

Studies by Tversky and Kahneman suggest that criticism and negative feedback are alot less effective than positive feedback and encouragement.

Criticism appears to have a strong effect because of the return to the norm effect.

Take the example of a fighter pilot doing carrier landings. There are some really good landings, and some really poor landings, but most are just normal landings.

Say he makes a poor landing. The probability is that his next landing will be better is large, just because most landings are ok landings. If he makes a great landing, chances are his next one will be poorer.

Say the pilot was berated for making a poor landing, and the next one is better. It appears as if the critisism was working, when actually all you were wittnessing was a return to the expected quality of landing. Oppositely if he made a great landing, and was praised for it, the probability is still that his next landing will be worse, making the praise appear inneffective.

That’s why critisim appears to have a positive effect and praise to have a negative effect, when in reality, praise is much more efficient when trying to make someone perform better.

I always try to remember that when someone is performing poorly and i feel like dishing it out.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Without criticism from some source, we cannot move forward. If one is sufficiently observant and objective, the criticism can come from within. The key is constructive criticism, aimed at correction and improvement.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Critisicm can be very helpful depending on who is doing it.If it’s my mother-in-law,I treasure it like a rare meatloaf.

Just_Justine's avatar

I love criticism. To me it clearly points out where I am needing to grow, or where I am going wrong. Of course I weigh the criticism from whence it comes too.

davidbetterman's avatar

Of course we can grow without criticism. It is absurd to think otherwise.

john65pennington's avatar

No. constructive critism is necessary for normal growth in a human. its like a train thats come offtrack and needs to be put back on track. all humans make mistakes, some, more than others. this is where critisim comes into play. i was a police training officer for a while and critism came into play just about every minute with the new rookie officers i trained. teaching them right from wrong…......critism, we all need it.

john65pennington's avatar

Lucy….....rare meatloaf?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I grew more because of how supportive and not critical my supervisor is.

thriftymaid's avatar

We all grow, with or without it.

Fyrius's avatar

@davidbetterman
Here’s some constructive criticism for you: it’s not very helpful to assert that a serious question is absurd without giving any support for that judgement. If you take some time to point out why it’s absurd, then maybe the asker could use your criticism to learn something about how else personal growth can work.

This post is both a gentle reproach and an ironic tongue-in-cheek meta-remark.

mattbrowne's avatar

No. Introspection and self-criticism do have limitations. We need the critical view of others to grow. We even need crises to grow significantly.

Fyrius's avatar

@mattbrowne
Criticism from other people has limitations too. But having limitations doesn’t mean it’s not good enough.
I’d say introspection an self-criticism on their own do allow you to grow, but getting some feedback on top of that does help a lot.

davidbetterman's avatar

@Fyrius The answer is self-explanatory with no need for further explanation. For those who do need further explanation will not understand. Those who don’t need further explanation already get it.
There are those of us who live our lives according to our own ideals grow quite well, thank you very much. Paying heed to naysayers is laughable and ludicrous. I will grow regardless of such silliness from someone whose very criticism shows s/he is unworthy of my concern.
I hope you have grown some with this critique of your criticism.

Fyrius's avatar

@davidbetterman
I wouldn’t say you’re wrong, but you back up your point in all the wrong ways.
Derision, ridicule, refusal to support your views, pretending they are too obvious to need any support, assuming those who disagree just don’t understand, will never understand and are unworthy of your time. The hallmarks of bigotry.

Please pretend for a moment that I’m worth listening to, and hypothetically consider how the above critique might address a real problem if I were not self-evidently wrong.

ratboy's avatar

Who the hell could be in a position to criticize my work?

davidbetterman's avatar

@Fyrius I have pretended that you are worth listening too.

The answer remains the same. For those of us who live our lives unconcerned about what others think, criticism is wasted…
For the others who are so concerned about what others think that they cannot function without said feedback, criticism feeds them.

Of course, if I am wrong, I will listen to positive suggestions as to possible changes in my attitude or the area of my error. In that tiny tiny micro instance, I suppose I will have grown from criticism.

Carol's avatar

It takes a very secure person to not get defensive when criticised. However, its a very good way to hold a mirror up to yourself. In order to grow developmentally, we need criticism AND support. If you don’t care at all what others think you’re a schizoid personality. At the other extreme, there’s dependent personality….those who look only to others for self-definition and are too fragile to look in the mirror.

davidbetterman's avatar

“If you don’t care at all what others think you’re a schizoid personality.”

That is so not true…well, maybe it is…No it isn’t…well, but…I said it isn’t…

mattbrowne's avatar

@Fyrius – Yes, it does. But people need both.

Fyrius's avatar

@davidbetterman
Thank you.

@Carol
Maybe one just needs to decide whose criticism to listen to and whose to ignore.
Surely being completely dependent on other people’s judgement or never caring what anyone else thinks are just the two extremes. The cliché shades of grey come to mind.

@mattbrowne
Oh, I agree – although “need” is a bit subjective. You can certainly stay alive without criticism, and indeed develop in some way or another.

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