Many people suffer from a critical spirit. The manager of the Cleveland Indians, Tris Speaker, said of Babe Ruth: “He made a great mistake when he gave up pitching.” Jim Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after a 1954 performance and said, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.” The president of Decca Records said of the Beatles in 1962, “We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out.”
If you tend to be critical, here are four things to consider.
1. Pray before you criticize.
Instead of turning it over and over again in your mind, turn it over to God. Would your criticism honor God? When you are contemplating criticism, you would do well to talk to God about what is troubling you. Chuck Swindoll wrote, “You are never more successful than when you are on your knees in prayer: The saint who advances on his knees need never retreat because prayer provides an invincible shield.”
2. Ask: Will my words encourage or discourage?
Critics demoralize. Leaders encourage. Calvin Coolidge wrote, “Press on. Nothing can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are overwhelmingly powerful.”
3. Realize that criticism will motivate the strong to continue.
Strong, passionate people use the criticism as a motivation to bigger and better things. Our criticism may intend to dissuade someone when in reality it will propel them to action. Winston Churchill wrote, “Kites rise highest against the wind.” The wind of criticism enables some people to rise to new heights, new potentials, and new strengths.
4. Time answers all criticism.
Time and success has a way of erasing a lot of criticism. Remember, they don’t build monuments to the critic.
The next time you are prone to criticize, carefully consider your words first. You will be glad you did.