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criticism and advice

updated fri 28 sep 07


Elizabeth Priddy on thu 27 sep 07

criticism is something I long for these days.

I have done many things in the last two years,
some in haste, some a long laborious process that is

The opportunity to have an uninterested observer
give you an honest opinion is not readily available
outside of school.

In design school, 4 years of crits and mainly the
"you should have done this" kind, the crits were
the fun part. I never tired of it, as I always walked
away from it with a new tool in my pocket.

I am the type, though, that has always danced to my
own tune, so when given criticism to delete something
I cared about, I usually kept it in some altered form,
usually managing to answwer the criticism and include
the thing they said didn't work in the new thing, that worked.

But I live in the real world, and the criterion for whether
it works depends on market forces and competition,
not the opinions of a few people. I am not sure that the
opinions of a very small number of people would matter
to me for very long, perhaps only for a reason.

A very bright friend of mine offered me this advice on taking
advice and knowing people:

Some people are in your life for

a reason

a season

or a lifetime.

You have to adjust your feelings according to the
purpose of a person in your life, and only give them
the time and attention they are due. As in, "Ok, I am
going to do this this way for 8 months and then it will
be MY decision whether I continue to do it." This mantra
is good for focusing on the task at hand, it puts an end
date on an experience in a good way.

You can't assume everyone will matter forever.
And a good life is peppered with people from each
category at any given moment. I am lucky that I have
people in it for a lifetime that really love me and have
only my best interests at heart when they give me advice.
I disagree with the post about advice being useless. It
really depends on where the advice is coming from.
Random advice from someone who is just a visitor in
your life is pretty useless, but seeking out that kind of
advice or criticism is your own fault to deal with.

Ever since I got that good advice, I have evaluated people
I deal with on that basis and in the end, I have been
much happier. Very good advice from a person who has
been there in the sidelines of my life for a long time,
a recurring reason friend, maybe a lifetime, but there's a
lot of living to do before that evaluation can be made. So
in the mean time, I will listen with both ears when she
speaks up.


Elizabeth Priddy
Beaufort, NC - USA

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