Matt Gemmell on negative criticism:

I still struggle with that type of feedback, and anyone who says they don’t is deceiving themselves. It’s all too easy to take it to heart, without trying to assess the validity of the remarks first. You have to cultivate an attitude of being open to pushback, without letting yourself be destroyed by it. The assessment itself must be assessed. If you can manage to do that, you’ll live longer, and you’re a wiser person than I am.

I get a lot more negative emails than most of my blogger buddies do — it’s the nature of the way I write, and the way I speak about things. I speak more in black and whites than in grays — that’s my personality — and that causes more furor.

Matt is right here, though, every time I get negative feedback I feel my skin flush just a bit. It’s not a lot, and I quickly quell it see what the true complaint it. The hardest thing for most people (including me) is to ignore the personal pain of such feedback and instead try to see the merit. Negative feedback cuts, and sometimes you heave to step away to let the red fade from your face.

If the complaint is about my “crazy anti-Google stance” then so be it, why not see if they have a point. Most criticism has a good point masked by personal attacks, and just because it is a good point doesn’t mean you have to agree with it. I’ve gone back and forth with many readers who initially seemed furious, but after a few emails realize that we do have a lot of common beliefs, but we apply those beliefs to the world differently.

It’s old and annoying to say, but learning to agree to disagree on some things will do you a world of good. I can respect most of the criticism I get, and sometimes it does make me change, and I think the most anyone can hope for is to remain open to admitting you were wrong.


Posted by Ben Brooks