Do not seek praise. Seek criticism.

16Jul09

paul-arden-book-2

Paul Howard Arden, advertising creative and successful writer, was born on April 7th, 1940, and died on April 2nd, 2008. This short blog post can, in no way, do justice to his creative influence. What it can do, however, is serve as an introduction to those who are unfamiliar, and as a brief reminder to the rest of us.

Do not seek praise. Seek criticism.

The following passage is an exceprt from the book It’s Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be, by Paul Arden.

It is quite easy to get approval if we ask enough people, or if we ask those who are likely to tell us what we want to hear.

The likelihood is that they will say nice things rather than be too critical. Also, we tend to edit out the bad so that we hear only what we want to hear.

So if you have produced a pleasantly acceptable piece of work, you will have proved to yourself that it’s good simply because others have said so.

It is probably ok. But then it’s probably not great either.

If, instead of seeking approval, you ask, ‘What’s wrong with it? How can I make it better?’, you are more likely to get a truthful, critical answer.

You may even get an improvement on your idea.

And you are still in a position to reject the criticism if you think it is wrong.

Can you find fault with this?

paul-arden

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