Whether you are just starting in the art of woodworking or you have years of experience there is always that one aim you are always striving towards, “perfection” and as you strive towards that goal one thing is for certain depending on which forum you go to you will face a certain amount of critique. Not always is this accepted amongst woodworkers and for those who do not develop a thick skin for it will not benefit from the constructive criticism offered.
Original insight, guidance, a fresh look at your work – those are all valuable benefits of having your art critiqued.
Negative comment is tough, hard on our ears, our egos get in the way and a defense mechanism kicks in, preventing us from accepting criticism at its face value.
How can you approach a critique of your work with open ears and embrace it with a positive attitude when your ego is in the way. You have to ask yourself; Do you want to elevate your skills, if so then listen and grow by throwing that ego away.
The number of people who refuse to accept feedback is staggering, they are only hurting themselves. You don’t exist in a vacuum and you absolutely need the input of others. You can’t sharpen your skills and if you keep them hidden away because you fear what others will say. Just put yourself out there and have thick skin.
You need the opinion of other people to see how it can be improved, even a layman has something of value to offer.
Feeling the urge to argue with a negative critique? “The rule of thumb is: if you’re finding yourself getting defensive against feedback, you’re probably wrong. You’re likely defending your work for the wrong reasons, like your pride. That is not how you become a better woodworker.
“This is just something I threw together quickly, I know it sucks.” or ” I really stuffed up here, here and there.”
A self-depreciating, overly-modest attitude is a way to shield ourselves from criticism. Unfortunately, it does our work a whole lot of injustice. In fact had you not pointed out those mistakes the chances are nobody would have seen them.
If you’re ready to put your project out there and share it with the world (as you should!), why not put your best foot forward and present it with confidence and a positive attitude. After all, if you don’t stand up for your work, others won’t, either. However don’t misunderstand this for pride and ego.
Sugar coating someones work, giving credit to where it’s not due will not help them develop in their craft. Constructive criticism as I mentioned in the earlier post and accepting negative critiques learning from them and if they apply, applying them in your next project will help you become better woodworkers.
Ultimately the choices in life are your own, changing a fixed personality is a difficult task if one needs changing at all.
My master has repeatedly told me “it’s always about the journey and not the end.” There is great wisdom in these words.