Are you “Ruined by Praise,” or “Ruined by Criticism?”

“The trouble with most of us is, that we would rather be ruined by praise, than ruined by criticism.” Norman Vincent Peale

It’s human nature to want praise. We thrive on praise. It’s been shown with research that our physiology perks up and works better when we receive praise or in fact give praise or thanks to others. It was considered years ago, that children needed to be punished to learn things, hence ‘getting the strap’ at school. Now they’ve found that corporal punishment does the opposite. Our brains don’t remember anything when in a fearful state. So suddenly it was no longer acceptable in most western societies to hit children, and rightly so I believe. However like so many things, the tide of public opinion swung the other way and criticism was lumped into the bucket of no punishment.

I belong to a Toastmasters group and each speech, whether an organised one, or one ‘off the cuff,’ has an element of critique to it. The format is to sandwich the criticism between two lots of praise or commendation. It is considered that we can only learn if we have honest appraisal from another or in fact from ourselves. Like everything in life, it is important to get the balance, between all praise or all criticism. If the evaluation of another’s performance is asked for, expected, and given in a compassionate way, it can feel quite different than comments that sound like outright condemning judgement. We need constructive criticism to grow! However we also need the praise to put us in the frame of mind to receive the criticism from a place of acceptance.

Enjoy receiving both the praise and the criticism!

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