Criticizing Yourself

“To my younger self, I would say unless you’re literally in danger, ask forgiveness instead of asking permission.” — Jonathan Van Ness

You don’t know what you don’t know. That sounds like an obvious statement, but it’s true. Making mistakes from a place of ignorance sucks, but we shouldn’t harass ourselves about it.

There are only three things we can do:

  1. Learn from it and do better next time.
  2. Prioritize knowledge and wisdom so that we are more capable, going forward.
  3. Surround ourselves with wise and thoughtful people who have our backs.

Blaming our younger selves for their dump mistakes doesn’t help us now, nor gets us where we want to go.

Don’t be too critical to your younger self.

You didn’t know what you know now.

He/she didn’t know what he/she was getting into. Even if you’re still paying for it (in dividends) now, you can’t change what happened.

When you criticize yourself, you are just getting in your own way.

Forgiveness starts with forgiving yourself. Give your younger self a get out of jail free card and move forward.

Everyone thinks they are invincible until they fall. That’s when the real journey begins.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1081 ☕️

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Advice vs. Criticism vs. Critiques

“The best advice comes from people who don’t give advice.” — Matthew McConaughey

Advice is what you get from people who you know andor admire. It’s something you ask for or it’s built into the DNA of y’all’s relationship. Candor and honesty are words that come to mind. Advice comes from an inner place of wanting to see the other person succeed and be happy.

+Criticism can sometimes be from people who you know, but it usually comes without you asking. It lives in the same apartment as negativity and complaining. It could be incredible advice—perhaps the best advice you’ve ever heard—but it usually comes from an inner place of fear and worry. Combine that with the fact you didn’t ask for it, you likely want to listen to it because of how it’s being given. And if you do listen to criticism and it turns out to be not true, it can be easy to jump to anger and resentment.

Criticism can also come from people we don’t know and don’t admire—this type of advice should be quickly ignored and discarded.

+Critique is advice you receive from your colleagues and peers. If you’ve taken an art class of some kind, then you’re likely all too familiar with critiques of your work. Another word we use is feedback. Having good clean feedback from people who are playing the game (or who have hands-on experience with the game) can help you improve and create better work. Critiques come from a place of mutually desired growth.

There can also be critics who judge your work by their own personal perspectives and standards. Sometimes critic feedback can be good, sometimes it can burn. There’s a lot of variables, so use your best judgment on what advice/feedback you deem worth listening to.

Which goes with advice, criticism, and critiques. Good advice should make you pause and consider yourself and your options. At the end of the day, you are the one that gets to decide what actions to take.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1071

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Advice Mired in Fear Vs. Advice Rising From Love

There’s advice and then there’s “advice.” (Note the quotation and the italics.)

The two separate pieces of advice might be equal sound. But the problem is advice is coming from different places— one from a place of love and “advice” is coming from a place of fear.

“You shouldn’t take that job because it doesn’t pay enough.” Is different from “You shouldn’t take that job because you are worth 5x more than what they are offering.” Can you tell which one is coming from love and which from fear?

It’s really all about the packaging. Packaging and presentation make all the difference. I could give you the same birthday gift but wrap it in a garbage bag or wrap it in thick clean paper and tie it with twine in a nice bow and you’ll feel the difference.

There’s a book called Words that Work, that has a great subtitle: “It’s not what you say, It’s What People Hear.” I haven’t read the book, only that title. But I completely agree with the subtitle.

I could give you the best damn advice in the world—advice so good that it would light your ears on fire—but it wouldn’t mean a hill of beans if I said it with criticism and fear. You would likely listen, say “okay Josh” and then throw it in your new garbage bag gift wrapping and leave it on the side of the road for the next trash pickup.

I can think of many mistakes that I’ve made (you know, 20/20 and all that jazz) and advice I was given but didn’t take because of the way it was given.

It’s hard to override this. I’m not even sure we should override it most of the time. But perhaps if advice is coming from someone we know or even someone we admire then despite the packaging, maybe we should try to take a moment and listen objectively.

I have found it helpful to identify where a piece of advice is coming from. “Is this advice that I’m getting coming from a place of fear or love? Is this person saying this because he or she has personally experienced this too or are they saying this—subconsciously or not—out of envy or embarrassment or failure or conformity?”

The worst kind of advice is advice we didn’t ask for from people we don’t know. This type of advice should be thrown in a dumpster fire. This is different from the advice we receive from people we know or admire or advice we seek out. For example, consider all the content you consume—podcasts, articles, books, videos—whether you are looking for it or not, sometimes little tofu nuggets of insights will pop out at you. The other day I was listening to a podcast with Jason Fried and he said something that I wish I had learned five years ago, it was something along the lines of “You can’t make a sandwich out of equity.” Meaning, its good to work somewhere and have a stake (equity) in the company but it’s also important that they are paying you enough for what you need to live. You can’t eat a sandwich made out of equity. Brilliant! I wish I had learned that sooner!

So advice is good. Seek out insights like they are your full-time job. But be wary of advice that comes from fear. Even if it’s good advice, going with your intuition instead is usually a better choice.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1063

P.S. If you enjoyed this article, consider buying me a coffee ☕️.

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