We have all heard of the fear of failure as well as the fear of success. However there is another fear that may be more crippling.
Human beings are essentially social creatures and the fear of ostracism is hardwired into us. Although actual banishment is a rare event in modern culture, the fear of being criticized is a strong one for most.
For example, in my professional and personal life I often hear of people who will procrastinate about going to a gym because of the fear that someone may openly or privately criticize their current poor physical conditioning. Still others may not start their first independent business venture because they are afraid what others will say, especially if it is not initially successful
Here are some ideas that may help you deal with criticism more comfortably and elegantly.
Distinguish whether the critique was asked for or not. Getting feedback from people who are already successful at what you want to do can be invaluable. And yes, some of that input will involve pointing out what needs to be improved. If your fitness trainer says you need to dedicate more time to strength training, he or she is probably right. However, if someone approaches you out of the blue and starts giving you unsolicited advice, consider that that individual may have questionable intentions based on inflated ego or a need to be manipulative. If a critique wasn't asked for, you should feel free to ignore it.
You'd be surprised at how self-absorbed other people are. The fear of criticism is fueled by the belief that others notice everything you do. The truth is that most folks are too caught up in their own dramas to pay you all that much notice. There once was an experiment done where a travel information booth was set up at a park. When people came to request information, the original person manning the booth would bend down behind the counter as if to pick something up off the floor. Another man hidden beneath the counter who looked totally different would then stand up in his place. Believe it or not, only about half the visitors noticed the switch!
Mistakes are not failures. It is amazing how easily we can allow a single mistake to transform us into an complete failure. Does that mean that successful people never say the wrong thing or get off on the wrong track? Hardly! If someone else catches one of your errors, be grateful you've been given the opportunity to improve.
Trust yourself. Did you know that at one time the earth was flat? Well no, it wasn't but if you believed differently you were considered crazy or worse. Sometimes innovations great or small require going against popular opinion, which invites criticism. There is a wonderful quote that goes:
"None of us is as dumb as all of us!"
James Malone is the author of Secrets from the Hypnotist's Field Manual, a free ebook you can download at http://www.njhypnotist.com/contactus.html