You Can Beat Your Critics

April 16, 2008

Image by Sean A O’Hara

One or two people tell you your work sucks. So, you let it go over your head. What do they know anyway? But how do you feel when hundreds or even thousands of people are telling you they don’t like what you have to offer?

Sometimes, it’s a case of your critics not knowing a good thing when they see it. Other times, maybe you just need to perfect what you’re doing until it’s right.

Stephen King’s work was rejected for four years before he was published. Had he given up, he’d never have gone on to publish more that 40 novels and over 200 short stories.

James Dyson first came up with his idea for a bagless vacuum cleaner in 1979. I took him 4.5 years and 5127 prototypes to develop the technology. Then, when he finally came up with the goods some big company tried to steal his idea. And it wasn’t until the early nineties that he was able to sell the machine. That’s a lot of years of persistence.

And I bet you’ve heard the stories of Thomas Edison’s thousands of attempts to invent the lightbulb. And that Colonel Sanders, founder of KFC had his chicken recipe rejected over 1000 times.

The truth is, you have just as much chance of success as these people, if you remember these points:

Rejection, or not getting it right the first time isn’t failure. You don’t fail until you give up trying.

Every single rejection takes you one step closer to success.

It doesn’t matter how many mistakes you make so long as you learn from them.

Often a rejection isn’t about you, or your work - critics have their own fears too.

Every single one of the people mentioned above went on to achieve far greater success than those who rejected them.

Is fear of rejection preventing you from achieving your potential? Can you see how rejection can help you to achieve success? Do you have any tips to help others overcome their fear of rejection? Please share in the comments section.

Share This StumbleUpon It!


13 Responses to “You Can Beat Your Critics”

  1. Lillie Ammann on April 16th, 2008 5:50 am

    Excellent advice on an important topic. I’ve written several posts on dealing with rejection, as writers have to face a lot of rejection.

    Lillie Ammann’s last blog post..What I Learned from Door-to-Door Sales

  2. Akemi - Yes to Me on April 16th, 2008 9:58 pm

    Rejection hurts. I am quite a feeler actually. Or just being ignored. Or being ridiculed. I often wonder why some people can’t just say no when they mean no . . . (and yes, I know how hard it is to say no. . .)

    I am not sure if I can ever get skin thick enough to endure these negativities. I just do what I need to do with all the fears, etc. Because I sense I need to do it. I call it my life purpose, maybe others have different names for it.

    My hope is that, because I know how it feels in these difficult situations, I can help others who are stuck with the same issues. It helps me to be less judgmental.

    Sorry if my comment reads like it’s in a loop today. I had to fire my property manager and still in quite an emotional pain that I had to do this.

    Akemi - Yes to Me’s last blog post..Can Our Inner Child Become An Entrepreneur?: Kim & Jason Kotecki

  3. Barbara Swafford on April 17th, 2008 5:54 am

    Great post Catherine.

    Rejection is something many don’t take into consideration when they enter into business. It happens to all of us, and hopefully we can learn from it and become better at what we do.

    And, on the flip side, we too reject things/ideas/people. If we can learn to be compassionate, hopefully our words won’t scar another person.

    Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..Blogging - Year One - Lesson 3

  4. sterling | bizlift on April 17th, 2008 6:44 pm

    Good message. I remember seeing Donald Trump on a financial news show and the host asked him what was the most important advice he could give for financial success. Trump replied “Never, never, never give up”.

    Thanks for the inspirational examples here Cath.

  5. cathlawson on April 19th, 2008 6:04 pm

    Hi Lillie - thanks. I particularly loved a post you wrote a while ago:

    Hi Akemi - those situations are tough to deal with aren’t they? I think you have to remember it’s not about you, it’s about the other person, then it doesn’t get to you so much.

    Firing people sucks. I hope you’re feeling better about it now - it was no doubt for the best.

    Hi Barbara - that is a good point. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not always kind to salespeople, but only when they’re rude or patronising first.

    Sterling - that is excellent advice. Trump isn’t the most loveable guy but he does seem to know what he’s talking about.

    Did you get to Costa Rica yet? I’m keen to hear all about it.

  6. JEMi | Tips for Life, Love, You on April 20th, 2008 3:51 am

    I remember when I wrote about this topic it was because of harsh criticism on a message board
    I know.. I’m sensitive.. but it hurt me deeply

    I realized that for all the hopes and dreams I intend on cultivating, these kind of things come with the territory as you come up

    I really appreciate this post Cath because I can’t have too many reminders

    I work on being confident in myself and my work daily as I work to genuinely improve myself with a strong foundation

    that way I wont take comments and secretly agree with them causing me to be incredibly offended and hurt

    Fear of rejection has halted me before..More than I care to admit

    But in learning more about myself and this stuff.. I catch myself nowadays
    growth feels good :)
    JEMi | Tips for Life, Love, You’s last blog post..An InMyHeels Note: Thank You Kelly of!

  7. Joanne on April 20th, 2008 3:17 pm

    Good post Catherine. Yes, being rejected hurts but if we can learn to get past it, we can still follow our dreams. It’s something I try to live by and show my children.

    Joanne’s last blog post..A Birthfather’s Story

  8. Sunday Post-Wedding Link Love on April 20th, 2008 5:01 pm

    [...] Lawson encourages us to beat our critics by plugging away. Constructive criticism can be useful, but sometimes those who reject or discourage us are just [...]

  9. cathlawson on April 21st, 2008 1:46 pm

    Hi JEMi - Sorry - Askimet marked your comment as spam. As good as it is, it can be a nuisance sometimes.

    There are some real idiots on message boards who go out of their way to pull others people to bits. And I know their comments can be hurtful, but you’ve got to feel sorry for them if that is how they chose to live their lives.

    Thanks Joanne - that’s a great lesson to teach your children and inspire them not to give up.

  10. Tim Brownson on April 21st, 2008 2:51 pm

    One of the pre-suppositions of NLP is there is no failure only feedback. As pre-suppositions go it’s right up there with the best in my opinion.

    We all ‘fail’ on a daily basis. I failed this morning by putting the bread in the toaster but forgetting to turn it on and also by foregtting my phone was still on silent. I guess I’ll get over both.

    If you want to be a real success in life you need to fail, fail fast and fail often.

    Tim Brownson’s last blog post..I Know You Better Than You Think

  11. My “Top Ten” Articles for this week (Video and Links) | One Man's Goal on April 22nd, 2008 3:27 am

    [...] Article by Cath of [...]

  12. cathlawson on April 22nd, 2008 7:10 am

    Hi Tim - that is definitely a better way of putting it. I think if we’re always seeing mistakes as failures - the words alone can make us feel bad.

    I hope you got your toast eventually.

  13. Toxic relationships - Does Blood Matter on July 14th, 2008 2:55 pm

    [...] From PTSD To Success - Is It Possible? You Can Beat Your Critics [...]

Got something to say?

E-mail It