Criticism Is A Cheap Thrill – Are You Looking For Attention, Or Furthering Growth?

In Cycling by Cynthia LouLeave a Comment

It’s easy to stand on the outside and criticize a person, a business, a CEO for decisions made. Even for those with a small scope into the inside world of a person’s mind, a business’s operations, and a CEO’s thought process make wild assumptions about what is thought to go on internally, based on the external “show”. Yes, I understand that as professional teams, the external show is ever more polished, finely tuned to share precisely what is meant to be shared, and stories do get bent to favor the authors.

However, I still believe that criticism is cheap, easy, and generally forwards no growth or action.

“_____ is a jerk.”
“What a stupid decision! He’s throwing it all away!”
“What a stupid decision! They’re ruining their team!”
“What a complete moron! A pompous jerk who is ruining something beautiful!”

Go ahead, spit your fire, fill your commentary with “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”. After all, it’s what we humans like to do, right? Band together in agreement against a common enemy, in hopes that we may strengthen ourselves, seek acceptance, be “rebels” in small sects when in fact it is our rebellion that makes us homogenous.

I’ve had an opportunity to observe two professional cycling teams up close. One perhaps more controversial than another, but each controversial in their own right. Were they as effed up, crazy, obnoxious, arrogant or dumb as they might be made out to be? Both surprisingly and not-surprisingly, No!

I don’t know the inner workings of everything that can go on inside of an individual human’s mind, nor the collective mind that forms when people align for a common cause and goal.

But this I do know — before being so fast to criticize, I dare you to consider other points of view first. Why? What you learn may surprise you more than you think. Consider that what angers us about someone else is often the very thing something we dislike about ourselves. What we admire about another, is a characteristic that we have already cultivated within ourselves, or is something yet to be developed into our strengths.

What this can open up — taking in another’s view before quick criticism — is an opportunity for constructive conflict. There will be no conflict-free world, however, we can strive towards a world of constructive conflict.

This is the difference between spitting fire, and furthering a cause.

Next time you feel yourself wanting to take an acidic stab at someone, something, some company, a family member, stop. Understand that emotions are a hormonal reaction to a mental thought, hence the idea of “cooling off” or “walking it off” for at least 20 minutes to burn off hormones coursing through our bodies. Give yourself the opportunity to make a clear-headed assessment.

This is not to say that we should become homogenous, bland, unemotional robots. Instead, step back and see things from a centered and growth-oriented place. Oh wait, does that mean taking responsibility for our words? Yup, sure does. Are you up for the challenge?

Stand on your soapbox. Shout your opinions from the mountaintops.

Here’s my soapbox pitch: Quit breaking people down for sport, quit blowin’ hot air — create something already! Take the time to get to know people and what they stand for before just mouthing off.

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