How to Think About & Accept Criticism - Stoic Matchmaker

Accepting Criticism

Accepting Criticism

August 1, 2022


It’s your big day today. You’ve been asked by your company to give a presentation on a project you oversee. A project dear to your heart. You’re almost through the presentation and note that several in the audience start giggling.  “This is a serious presentation”, you think to yourself. “What’s going on here?”

So you take a break and ask, “Any questions?” One person bursts out laughing and says, “Don’t take this wrong, but didn’t you check your slide show for errors?” “If you did, you apparently don’t know how to multiply”. “That last bullet is way off”. Most would be ashamed and embarrassed. Are you?

For you, when facing such criticism after making a mistake, instead of feeling inadequate, you refocus your mind on what you did right. You tell yourself that your mistakes are not the only thing that define you. Your mistakes are simply learning opportunities. All you have to do is see them as such.

And regarding that presentation, how did you handle the multiplication mishap? You responded by saying,  “Well, … I presented 10 bullets. Because I missed one out of 10, my multiplication says I get a 90% on the presentation – which is an A, correct?” Several among management shook their heads in agreement.


Now using My S-T-O-I-C STORYTELLING method:


(S) I can’t accept criticism without getting upset.
(T) You don’t have to turn this into something.  It doesn’t have to upset you.” Marcus Aurelius
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Book of James 1
(O) I decided to refocus my thoughts on what I did right.
(I) I realized that by responding with what I did right when being criticized, …. allows me to get passed any feelings of inadequacy.
(C) The character trait I improved is being open minded by taking a different perspective – MY perspective – when being criticized.


The Stoicess’ Secret?
While being criticized, focus on what you did right.

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