Episode 146: The Hurtful and The Critical

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
— Ira Glass

In living our lives and putting our experiences, creations and selves into the world, we also draw attention for various types of scrutiny and critique. While it's certainly valuable to have feedback - ideally constructively so - many people take an aggressive or hostile tone under the guise of criticism. This week we're joined by Amy Young to explore the distinctions between "the critical" and "the hurtful". How might typical human tendencies presume input to be negative when that may not be intended? How could we avoid the discomfort that many of us associate with criticism by proactively seeking it out? Are there certain figures or relationships which permit criticism more openly or with lower potential for conflict than others?