It’s Easy To Criticize
July 29, 2021
There was once a novice painter who painted what he thought was a beautiful landscape. He was proud of his creation, but he also wanted to know what others felt about his painting.
So he displayed his landscape painting at a busy street junction with the following message.
” I am training myself to be a painter. Please take a moment to see this landscape I have painted and give me some feedback. Also, if you notice any mistakes, please feel free to mark them out on the painting.”
By the end of the day, the painting was full of cross marks, with people taking pleasure in pointing out the mistakes.
Crestfallen, the young painter, went to his master and asked. “Oh master, am I such a bad painter. Should I give up my training?”.
The master was a wise man. He advised the young painter to do something different the next day.
As advised by his master, the young artist painted the same landscape again and put it up at the same street junction for display, but with a slightly different message this time.
” I am training myself to be a painter. Please take a moment to see this landscape I have painted and give me some feedback. Also, I have kept a palette with all the colors and brushes. If you notice any mistakes, please feel free to correct the mistakes using the colors as you feel appropriate.”
At the end of the second day, the novice painter was in for a surprise. There was not a single mistake pointed out in the painting !!!
Whenever I catch myself and anyone else falling into the habit of criticizing others, I make it a point to relay this story.
It is always easy to criticize, but very DIFFICULT to correct and guide someone to improve. No one is perfect, and therefore it’s very easy to point out faults in others. Unfortunately, criticism is a lose-lose approach. It adds no value. You expend energy pointing out the faults of others, and it makes the other person defensive and resistant to change.
The next time you feel like criticizing anyone, remember this story. Correct the mistakes and add value if you can. Otherwise, keep your counsel to yourself and don’t criticize.