Dear Past Me, Your Stuff Sucks

I hate to be the bearer of bad news (not really), but the stuff you're doing sucks. You should be ashamed of yourself. Are you an embarrassment to your family or do you just lie and tell them you dig ditches for a living?

Wait. What are you doing? C'mon, don't cry... I didn't mean it! Well, sorta. I'm no fan of the stuff you're producing back then, but that's just because I'm a lot better at it than you.

Toughen up, Buttercup!

My point isn't to insult you -- it's to remind you that you should value criticism, even if destructive (as opposed to constructive). Of course you want feedback to be thoughtful and well articulated, but it doesn't always come out that way. Sometimes people just have a hard time communicating (or even forming) their thoughts.

Put aside any reactions for a minute and ask yourself what they might be trying to say or where they're coming from. Still can't figure out what they're thinking? ASK THEM QUESTIONS! You'll be surprised by the kind of input you can get from a person when they see you're genuinely interested.

If you're lucky and willing to listen you might learn something in the conversation. You might find another way of looking at a problem, how to avoid similar exchanges in the future or, chances are fair, that the person you're dealing with is a total jackass. Yeah, that last one is pretty negative but it's important to learn how to deal with the occasional jackass. Just because you're not serving tables or working behind a counter doesn't mean you don't have to deal with self-entitled jerks.

Remember:  everything can be a learning experience and be sure to let your critic know that you value their input. (Generally, most people like to be helpful and everyone wants to be appreciated.)