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Critique with Care

Written by Millionaire’s Digest Staff Member: Franci Hoffman

Founder & Owner of: BrewNSpew

Millionaire’s Digest Staff Team, Author, Successful Living Writer


“While we would love to have no criticism, probably if we had no critique, we wouldn’t be doing anything meaningful”.  Erwin McManus

I love quotes and analyzing them for the sake of determining their intent; understanding more about the author; and perhaps, their application to my life. Here is my take on the featured quote by Erwin McManus.

Yes, Mr. McManus you make a point. However, I believe your thoughts to be overly critical. Let’s look at the definition of the word – critique.

Noun: a careful judgment in which you give your opinion about the good and bad parts of something (such as a piece of writing or a work of art).

Verb: to express your opinion about the good and bad parts of (something): to give a critique of (something).

Critique, as a noun, I can relate to – careful judgement is the key here.  One is entitled to their opinion about the good and bad parts of a work of art or piece of literary work.

Referring to the first part of the quote, while we prefer to have no criticism – if it is careful judgement, I would embrace an opinion.

Critique as a verb, on the other hand, can be misused and abused.  First, it seems there are more situations where the meaning of careful judgement is forgotten.  Application of expression is the key here. What ever happened to diplomacy?

Let’s look at the definition of diplomacy: the profession, activity, or skill of managing international relations, typically by a country’s representatives abroad.

Is diplomacy becoming a lost art?  Can we criticize or critique someone or something, and still stay within the boundaries of careful judgement?

What really concerns me is the second part of the quote.  If we weren’t criticized or critiqued, we wouldn’t be doing anything useful. What?!

I can’t agree with this.  I feel this part of the quote reflects negativity. Where is the author’s faith in mankind?  We can be very useful without being criticized, or critiqued, or judged.  We learn from our teachings, and we learn from our experiences.  And yes, we can learn from the opinions of others, when expressed properly.  Otherwise, not expressing an opinion diplomatically could have adverse effects.

Careful judgement and diplomacy should go hand in hand.  There is the thought, in this case the opinion, and there is the application of same.  The application can be more important than the opinion.

Again referring to the quote – and to think if we weren’t critiqued, we wouldn’t be doing anything useful, is a very poor assumption and I find it rather negative.

I would like to think that I used careful judgement and diplomacy in critiquing the quote by Mr. McManus.

I believe the quote below, by Mr. Gunn, expresses my feelings about critiquing.

“I’m honest about expressing my opinions. At the same time, I’m diplomatic in how I do critique things if I have a negative response”. Tim Gunn

Doesn’t the quote by Tim Gunn make you feel there is an open door and an open window? That there is a chance you will get a fair shake and an honest opinion?

The way in which a view is presented can mean everything to the listener or to the receiving end of the judgement.

This is my opinion and I would love to hear yours.

Cheers!


Article Credits: Franci Hoffman

Millionaire’s Digest Staff Team, Author

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1 Comment
  1. Franci Hoffman
    Robert Turner 5 months ago

    Hi Franci
    Great post. I came across this after just having posted an article that leans the other way.
    I belong to a few peer review sites, you know the ones. Upload a piece of writing and fellow writers offer critique.
    It’s really difficult to get an honest critical opinion on these sites as the reviews are bound by very restrictive criteria. Intentionally to prevent them going overboard on the negativity.
    I would far prefer the nasty blunt justified comment if my piece deserves it.
    We have turned into a molly coddled society where we are unequipped to cope with actual criticism.

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