It's always easier to be a critic than to be a creative.
Truer words were ne'er spoken.;)
There is a LOT of creative work that goes into what I do. I shoot my own videos, direct the editing, create my own advertising campaigns and product copy, and edit images in Photoshop to try to get the truest color representations -- not to mention the fact that I created an entire website, semi-automated help desk, and large knowledge base full of articles from scratch and completely on my own. Oh yeah, and I do ALL of this while I simultaneously operate a fully functioning store and answer customer service requests. I am basically She-Ra. I am not perfect, but it would be super difficult to make me feel insecure about any of it because I know what I've accomplished...and I know darn well that most of my critics would never be able to do half of it. Their ignorance of this fact allows them to attack me from the casual comfort of their glass houses. I, however, am fully aware of this dynamic and it brings me a substantial chunk of peace.
Below you will find a GREAT speech. Please listen to the whole thing if you have the time. Brené Brown discusses the importance of emotional resiliency in creative work. Great stuff, whether you work in a creative field or not!
Here is her take on a very famous Teddy Roosevelt quote, and it's fantastic!
Click below to watch:
Some key quotes:
It's not about winning. It's not about losing. It's about showing up and being seen. This is who I want to be. I want to create. I want to make things that didn't exist before I touched them. I want to show up and be seen in my work and in my life. AND, if you're going to show up and be seen, there is only one guarantee: YOU WILL GET YOUR ASS KICKED. That is a guarantee. That is the only certainty you have. You have to decide at that moment, if courage is a value that we hold, this is a consequence. You can't avoid it. If you're not in the arena ALSO getting your ass kicked, I am not interested in your feedback. PERIOD. If you have constructive criticism to give me -- I'm an academic; I am hardwired to wrestle with stuff like that -- I love that. If you're in the cheap seats, not putting yourself on the line, and just talking about how I could do it better, I am in no way interested in your feedback. -- Brené Brown
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
-- Teddy Roosevelt, from his "Man in the Arena" Speech, 1910
I see you. I hear you. But I'm going to show up and do this anyway. Things could go really wrong. I could really screw this up. BUT, if courage is my value, then I have to show up and do this. Whether or not it succeeds is irrelevant. -- Brené Brown
In this speech, Brené Brown also discusses the importance of focusing on the people who DO like what you're doing and want more of it, rather than the critics, who may always dislike you, and often for kind of silly reasons. This is also a great philosophy for regular day-to-day interactions, too.
My take on things:
You shouldn't completely disregard critics, but instead, take what they say with a MASSIVE grain of salt. Anticipate their criticism before it's even lobbied. Usually you will find that most of it is just...well...petty.
I choose to focus on the people who matter: my customers. I focus on the people who DO like me and DO want me to succeed. Life is too short to invest tons of energy on the people who may never like me. I choose to devote my time to support those who do. :)