A number of years ago I heard a preacher say that there is no such thing as constructive criticism. I firmly disagree with this sentiment.. even the bible contradicts that attitude when it says:
Only a fool despises a parent’s discipline; whoever learns from correction is wise. (Proverbs 15:5)
I think that it takes a lot of wise humility to accept criticism or correction when it is earned and shrug it off when it is not. Here are a few quotes that speak to the topic of criticism:

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. -Winston Churchill

He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help. -Abraham Lincoln
These quotes remind me of that time in early 1975 when I was changing jobs and cities.. I was moving from Newark to Houston.. I had spent the past three years working hard in Newark but my reputation was marred because of my trouble-making union activities. A few days before I left a supervisor pulled me aside and told me how, even though I was a top technician, my attitude had stifled advancement opportunities.. he simply told me not to make trouble in Houston.

Well, when I got to Houston I could not shake his criticism.. it was true.. I had a chip on my shoulder when it came to management. I changed. I was still involved in union leadership but with a totally different attitude. One and a half years later I was promoted to a computer programmer position in Kansas City. It was amazing.. by simply accepting criticism I had achieved a goal that had eluded me for many years.

How about you? Do you have any good or bad criticism stories?


  1. Good post Bob...

    When my long time friend and I were about 8 years old, we decide to have a "Constructive Criticism" Club ~ She began by telling me my teeth were yellow, and I responded that her hair was greasy...we both left crying and my mother gave me a spanking, and made me go and apologize to Kristi..... We never tried it again.

    In is a very necessary ingredient in life when done in love and grace and accepted the same way.


  2. "Constructive Criticism" Club.. now that was just funny Wanda!

  3. 'Club' has two different definitions - sounds like the girls chose the wrong one :)

  4. To say there is no such thing as constructive criticism is bizarre. Sounds like someone who just doesn't want to be criticized.

    I can't imagine where I would be without constructive criticism. I have had to learn a lot both willingly and unwillingly that way.

  5. I could not agree more that criticism is a necessary part of success. Almost every good and helpful thing I am today, everything of which I am proud, I am because somebody rejected something about me and I listened.

    Too many to list, but I'm with you.


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