August 9th, 2006


Three great questions in response to criticism

As a standup comic with an atypical brain, I have a unique perspective on dealing with criticism. Not the best or most accurate, but I dare say unique.

Criticism is more about the critic than you. Therefore, put the responsibility on the critic to explain their criticism of you.

First question: "Why are you telling me this?" This cues the critic to reveal their personal value or goal that they feel your behavior has threatened.

Second question: "What do you want me to do?" Often the critic will respond to the second question by telling you what he wants you to not do, e.g., "I want you to not do X." In this case, ask the follow-up question "What do you want me to do instead of X?" Get the critic to tell you what they want you to do in positive terms.

Third question: "How would you have behaved differently if you were me?" This gives great insight. The critic either has no idea and repeats what they want you to not do, or tells you what they would have done, which can actually be useful advice.

I'm a comic, so I ask, "How have I failed to honor your values and life-strategies?" or just "Thanks for sharing." But I'm 6'1" and 281 pounds, so I can afford a little social indiscretion.