Your Biggest Critic

by Krishna on February 8, 2007

Read the following sentence and note the first person you think about:

Whenever this person reads some useful advice, he or she always thinks it applies to someone else.

OK, so who was it?

Actually this is a trick question. Many people reading this question don’t think of themselves. Most of us are quite comfortable with ourselves and never put our behavior or attitude to the fire. But because of that, we miss the opportunity to change ourselves for the better. We think if others would only behave differently, things would be so much great. But the problem is that we have no control over the behavior of others. We can only change ourselves.

Often, when I carry out interviews, I ask the interviewee, “Tell me what your weaknesses are.” Many candidates, even experienced ones, are stunned by the question as though they have never thought about this issue. Many others tell me about deficiencies in their technical knowledge or domain expertise. A few are very honest and talk about issues that they have faced with their personality.

The last set of people are the ones who are self-aware and who have the greatest potential to improve because they know what they need to correct or work around. It is true that there are some weaknesses that people may never be able to fix. For example, if a person is very shy in public, she may be able to improve her confidence, but she may never reach the level of another person who is more extrovert. However, knowing the problem allows the person to tackle the issue head-on or avoid a situation where they may not be able to perform to the full potential.

You should be your own biggest critic because

  • No one else knows more about you.
  • It is much less embarrassing to find your own faults than someone else pointing them out.
  • Many faults of yours are very visible to others, but people may not tell you because you may feel bad.

Examples of the last include hygiene and dress sense. Say you have bad breath or you come in with a stubble, people may talk about you behind your back, but you will never get to know. In a formal environment, if you wear clothes or accessories that are more suited to junior staff, then don’t be surprised if you get passed over for interesting assignments. Nobody is going to tell you this. You just have to learn and figure this out yourself.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: