April 19, 2022 5 min read

We've all heard the phrase: "constructive criticism"…

But how many of us actually know how to give or receive constructive criticism?

Or how to differentiate between what is constructive criticism ... and what is just flat-out poor advice?

If you want to build a better life for yourself and the people around you…

These are two things you must understand very well.

You have to give and take constructive criticism for the progression of yourself and the people around you.

So … what is constructive criticism?

What is Constructive Criticism?

Constructive criticism is a way of giving beneficial feedback with specific, actionable suggestions.

But, in order for it to actually be beneficial to the person receiving the criticism ... you have to take it a step past just telling them what to do or what not to do.

You have to explain the WHY.

Without the why, you’re not helping the person understand the reason for your feedback.

This is where most people mess up, and is a huge reason why most people are poor leaders.

True constructive criticism follows a simple formula: What, How, Why … and Why not. I will explain this in-depth later.

For now, all you need to know is this…

Constructive criticism is a tool you can use to help the people around you improve.

Constructive criticism directed toward you is a tool you can use to improve.

It’s something we could all use more of.

You Also Need to Understand This…

Everybody wants to get defensive when somebody tells them something they don’t want to hear, but need to hear.

You have to fight that instinct.

Nothing will get in the way of you receiving good advice more than taking offense to it.

…and here’s the truth…

If the criticism did offend you, it’s because it’s the TRUTH.

You can’t be offended about something that isn’t true.

So push your ego to the side.

On the flip side of this, people you offer constructive criticism to will get defensive as well.

Oftentimes, this is because you’re doing a poor job of explaining why it’s important for them.

If you do explain the why, and they still don’t get it … they’re a lost cause.

Don’t let that keep you from giving out constructive criticism.

The right people will always appreciate you for it.


When is Criticism Not Constructive?

There is a fine line between constructive criticism and bad advice.

Consider a few things when somebody criticizes you…

Do they have your best interests in mind?

Is this person an example of the kind of person you’d like to become?

Are they telling the truth ... the real truth?

If you can’t say yes to all of these questions, don’t listen.

When criticism is out of spite, or out of ignorance to the actual truth, it’s never worth listening to.

In fact, it may even make you laugh.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve had friends and family tell me to get a real job in my early days of business.

While they may have had my best interests in their mind … none of them knew what it would actually take for me to reach my goals.

So I didn’t listen.

Make sure you can identify these differences as well.

There is nothing worse than taking bad advice, only to find yourself in a worse situation than before.

Either way…

If you want the life of your dreams…

You have to be receptive to constructive criticism, and ignore all other forms of criticism.

What To Do With Constructive Criticism

This is simple…

When you receive criticism that is constructive…

Take it, and apply it.

Yes, it’s as easy as that.

You should ask questions as well…

Find out the why behind their criticism, unless they explicitly state it…

Find out why they think their advice will help.

Find out where they learned about this.

Having a better understanding of why they gave you the criticism will only help you better apply the lesson.

Make sure you’re offering the same help when you give constructive criticism to others.

Every single time.

Giving Constructive Criticism

For you to understand how to give out constructive criticism, you have to follow these simple steps…

This is explaining the what, how, why, and why not.

Let me give you an example of how I do it so you can understand this better…

If you and I are walking into a grocery store, and you walk directly over a piece of trash you see on the ground…

I’m going to call you out for it, and offer some constructive criticism.

I’ll start by asking if you saw the piece of trash and why you walked over it to make you aware of the situation. This is the WHAT.

Then, I’ll pick up the trash and dispose of it properly to show you HOW to handle the situation next time.

After that, I’ll explain to you how the piece of trash is an opportunity you missed to strengthen your discipline and attention to detail. Both are skills that will translate into every area of your life including the money you make, the opportunities you create, and much more.

I may also mention that picking up trash you see is just the right thing to do, and how it also sets an example for everyone else who sees you pick up the piece of trash.

All of these are reasons as to WHY you should pick up trash off the ground.

The WHY NOT is as simple as helping you understand the negative repercussions to not picking up the trash.

How they are not making an investment in their discipline…

How they aren’t encouraging others to be better humans…

How they aren’t building their skill of attention to detail…

How their life will be a direct reflection of their inability to care for these details and build this discipline.

Get it?

Get to the Point

There’s a lot of talk about “feedback sandwiches” in management circles.

Go ahead and google it if you want to learn more about it.

While they may work for some people...

Others might think they sound condescending.

So know the person you're giving criticism to…

...and talk to them in a way that they’ll respond to.

If that means taking more time to explain your point...

Then take more time.

If it means taking less time…

Then take less time.

Either way…

Get to the point.

That’s how constructive criticism is done.

Need More Advice?

Looking for some constructive criticism?

Need some life advice?

Listen to this podcast and get the advice you’re looking for.

There’s nothing I like more than helping other people win and discover their true potential in life.

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