Do you get upset by harsh comments? Are you wondering how to handle criticism?
Sometimes criticism can be hurtful, but it helps you grow as a creator. In Show Your Work!, Austin Kleon advises how to prepare for criticism and deal with trolls on the internet so you can learn from your mistakes.
Continue reading to learn how to deal with criticism to be a better creator.
Prepare for Criticism
When you share your work, you open yourself up to criticism, claims Kleon. He suggests five ways to learn how to handle criticism:
- Keep calm: It’s easy to magnify fears about what people might think. Instead, practice calming your mind and body.
- Invite criticism: By courting criticism, you’ll inoculate yourself to it and will learn how to take it better.
- Don’t share anything too sensitive: If you don’t feel comfortable opening up certain parts of yourself, don’t. Wait until you feel ready.
- Keep moving forward: Criticism will come; don’t let it stop you. Just keep doing your work—not everyone will be a fan.
- Remember, you’re more than what you do: Maintain distance between your work and your identity. Be a friend, parent, and companion, not just a creator.
Dale Carnegie’s Advice on Dealing With Criticism
In his book How To Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers a few other tips for handling criticism. Two, in particular, stand out in comparison to Kleon’s suggestions:
- Absorb well-intentioned criticism. This kind of criticism can be beneficial. Often, other people see things in us and our work that we can’t. Take the opportunity to improve if the criticism is justified.
- Frame unfair criticism as praise. Often, this kind of criticism is motivated by jealousy or some other weakness in your critic. This should be a sign to you that you’ve accomplished something worthy of envy.
Dealing With Online Trolls
Online harassment and trolling have grown only more common in the time since Show Your Work! was published. A recent survey found that the percentage of Americans who experienced severe online harassment (including physical threats, stalking, and the like) rose from 15% in 2014 to 25% in 2021. In fact, over two-fifths of US adults have been harassed online.
In addition to Kleon’s advice to block online trolls from your social media accounts, experts have suggested three other techniques to deal with this kind of negative attention:
- Ignore negative, taunting comments.
- Don’t respond to people who behave this way.
- Make sure your social media followers aren’t anonymous.
Regarding this last point, a way to ensure your followers aren’t anonymous is to periodically check on the accounts of all your followers and block anyone who doesn’t use their real name. This may require some sleuthing, but the effort can help keep your online interactions constructive.
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Here's what you'll find in our full Show Your Work summary :
- How to succeed at your creative endeavors
- How to make money off your creative work
- Why you should share your creative process