As someone who has studied journalism and worked in the editing world, I am very much used to constructive criticism, and I have learned not to take any criticism so personally when it comes to my work. It took me a while to get to this point; I remember very clearly how discouraged I felt when I started my career in videography.
Norman Vincent Peale, an American author, said, “The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” When it comes to our work, I am sure everyone wants to do everything perfectly and no one wants someone else’s opinion, especially when it comes to something you worked your butt off for and are very proud of. However, it is very important to understand that the criticism we get is for the better and is not personal. Naturally, these opinions can change our moods for the worst, but I have learned to accept the criticism and move on.
I remember the first project I did in my Intro to Media Production class. Mind you, I had never produced, directed nor edited anything before — it was my first time ever doing something beyond my skills. Our professor told us that we needed to produce any kind of video: a documentary, an interview, a music video, you name it. Since I am a very creative person, I decided to do a music video without thinking about all the steps I needed to do. This project was 80% of our final grade, it was a huge deal. The entire thing was very nerve-wracking, but I finished it.
I was so proud of myself and very happy with the final result. When it came to showing my professor, he had all these opinions and pretty much destroyed my video. I went home crying, and I just knew I was going to fail the class. How could he be so mean to me, I thought, does he not realize how much I worked on this? I spoke with him the next day and while speaking with him I understood the criticism I received from him. He obviously has a lot of wisdom, and he is making me see what I can do next time to get better. I actually ended up getting an A in the class. Definitely, after the conversation I had with my professor, I understood that his honest criticism was necessary for my improvement.
So don’t feel discouraged about critical criticism. It usually is for the better and you get to learn a lot. It is important to not take anything personal. No matter what, there is always going to be someone else who knows best. As I said, constructive criticism is for the greatest outcome that there can be for our work. It is important to understand the underlying message behind it.
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