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On criticism

April 21, 2016

The best way to complain is to make things.

James Murphy

Making things is hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. Criticizing is easy. All you have to do is talk. That’s why there’s always going to be more people criticizing the work of others, than people building things. It takes guts to build something. It means you believe enough in the thing you’re building, that you’re willing to take the criticism. But who wants criticism? Well, avoiding it is easy — just don’t create anything.

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt

Not creating anything is comfortable. Criticising other people’s work makes us feel important. Makes us think we know better, we could do it better, when in reality — we haven’t even tried.

Remember, misery is comfortable. It’s why so many people prefer it. Happiness takes effort. It’s incredibly comforting to know that as long as you don’t create anything in your life, then nobody can attack the thing you created. Whatever you try to build or create — be it a poem, or a new skill, or a new relationship — you will find yourself immediately surrounded by non-creators who trash it. Maybe not to your face, but they’ll do it. Your drunk friends do not want you to get sober. Your fat friends do not want you to start a fitness regimen. Your jobless friends do not want to see you embark on a career.

David Wong

Criticising other people’s work doesn’t take much effort. It doesn’t take creative work, it doesn’t take thinking deeply, it doesn’t take taking risks.

All it takes is talk and talk is easy. Easy is boring. Anyone can do what’s easy.

Do something that is hard.

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