How often do you say to yourself something like “I can’t believe how stupid I am” when you find yourself doing something... well, stupid. How often do you find yourself telling others, like your kids, spouse, or friends that they are stupid? In either case, you are verbally reinforcing a negative belief that will interfere with your success and the success of those you care about.
When you do something dumb, idiotic or stupid, realize that it was your performance, or what you did, that deserves the criticism and not you. Perhaps more important, use your positive mental attitude and criticize your action by telling yourself “That didn’t work. Now I know better for next time.” An action you take is just one of the millions of actions you will take in your lifetime. Is it fair to put a label on yourself just because of one, or even several of your actions? Successful people radiate self-esteem, not self-disgust.
Criticizing others is an art in itself, and one that will be explored in this program. For now, the most important aspect of criticism, especially when criticizing others, is to separate the performance from the performer. Do not criticize the doer but criticize the deed. Nothing does more to hurt the self-esteem of a person, or knock them off their path to success than poorly delivered criticism like name-calling. Sticks and stones may break bones, but for most people, names will do even worse—bones will heal by themselves.
If you want to be successful in parenting and raise kids with high self-esteem, be a successful coach with a confident team, be a respected manager with confident employees or if you want success yourself, remember and practice this one simple rule of criticism: separate the performance from the performer.
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