The word “critical” stems from the word, critic. The job of the critic is to judge.
The critic judges whether or not something is good or bad, and why.
If you’re a creative, you’ve probably experienced judgement on your work before.
There are two major critics we face and those are:
1. Other people. Everybody talks, but who’s voice are you going to listen to?
2. Yourself. The one responsible for doing.
Both of them offer valuable insight and critique, and only one of them can stop you from creating any of the work altogether.
Which critic matters?
It’s important to know which voices we listen to, because when the work is for others we can’t be the only ones who decide if it gets shared.
When someone’s doing something wrong we can say, “There’s a better way of doing this.”
Unfortunately, this occasionally gets translated into a crude version that says, “You’re stupid.”
When we’re encouraging, we show caring and respect. When we’re disparaging, we lose all emotional connection necessary to want to do better.
Everybody needs to feel understood, and so we have to meet people where they are first before diving into where “better” needs to be.
On a bad day at the restaurant, you treated a customer wrong.
She retaliates by giving an endless scathing review on Yelp. Not only does she do it once, but she does it again, and again, and again because she wants the world to know the pain she felt. She wants to spread the news.
She doesn’t know you personally, but she does know you from the 60 seconds of fiery hot debate you had for getting her order wrong.
What the customer probably doesn’t know, is that the staff on the other end hasn’t had a break from work in over six months. She has absolutely zero time for herself, and she’s never went through any form of formal education to get here.
Obviously, neither parties cared to emphasize with the other. None of them wanted to understand where are the other was coming from. Both of them were playing the narrative of: I’m right, you’re wrong.
Conflict thrives here.
This is the result when we don’t seek to understand. It’s painful, and it’s hard. Everybody believes they’re right (because they are). It’s our jobs as creatives to seek understanding by seeing how the other side might be their own version of right.