How to Deal With Criticism - With Kevin Goetz

A series of mental exercises and perspectives that will make you immune to insults.

Ultimate Guitar
Hey, guys! So, some of you UG-ers might know that my recent series of lessons, Musician Psychology, deals primarily with motivation and ways to boost your creativity to levels that are typically only experienced by professional musicians.

At this point in the series, however, we're turning our attention away from boosting creativity, instead focusing on the prevention of things that hurt our creativity.

The most common of those things is criticism. Not the kind where someone's giving relatively good advice with the intent of helping you improve - no, of course not. Rather, today we're discussing the kind of criticism that serves no purpose other than to insult you. This might be better referred to as trolling.

If you're someone who worries what other people think, to the point where their opinions are detrimental to your creative process, definitely check out the following video.

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17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Well done. The instant gratification of trolling is only worsened by acknowledging said childish behavior. I wish I could forward these people a lollipop via the internet, but they'd only complain it isn't their favorite flavor!
    That's definitely not better referred to as "trolling". To troll someone is to wind them up, not simply to make abusive comments.
    I read the thread title as chromaticism and was gonna make a comment on how that title made chromaticism sound like an STD or something. How to Deal With Chromaticism: Chromaticism is a condition that many are forced to live with, but with these simple steps you can help keep your symptoms in check and go back to living life to its fullest. That would have made for a much funnier article. Consider doing that next time instead.
    That's actually really brilliant. I might legitimately steal that joke in one of my upcoming lessons on outside playing.
    'Have you been deep into The Dillinger Escape Plan? Can't seem to shake off the compulsion to listen to John Zorn? Then you might have Chromaticism, also known as Atonalus Accidentialus. Common symptoms include an aversion to more sane music for 'normal people' and an uncharacteristic appreciation for Schoenberg.'
    I kind of disagree. If years ago, way back when, people stopped yelling 'Misha Mansoor's playing sucks!' BEFORE he was as successful as he is today (completely opposite of 'constructive criticism' by anyone's definition, I think) then Periphery wouldn't be as awesome as it is today, because Misha wouldn't have gone out of his way to prove all of them wrong once he got fed up with it (maybe I'm missing something here, I don't know). Also, everything in the view of humans is subjective, therefore the only advice you can receive is subjective. For example, whereas I might tell someone to 'play in time' (basic, no?), someone else might call it 'Mathcore'. And that's the beauty of it. So if you write a song with a death metal growl, and somebody wants it to be a black metal growl, than that is honestly how they think you should make it. Just letting that go is really the same as not listening to any feedback at all, which I actually recognise as a viable strategy, as long as the individual isn't 'insecure' as you said, but wants to do exactly what they have envisioned. Even if I don't recognise that, the person themselves shouldn't even care if they truly want to achieve that vision. The last thing I wanted to point out wass the little hypocritical attack you made, and me pointing this out is also hypocrisy (INverse psychology), and will probably get me downvoted: you said Uncle UG houses a lot of trolls (BLASHPEMY), but you didn't point out how to get rid of them. ^humour I enjoy your content (remember that 15 - minutes - a - night - music writing video you did? Wanted to say thanks, that's what gave me motivation) and usually agree with it, but I just wanted to provide my almost 180 - degree view on the issue. See, I typed out pretty much a novella here, but I'm not going to get anything for it. There's plenty of people out there who do selfless things, and this isn't restricted to GOOD things, at least from my point of view (I'm one of those people who would go out, do something REALLY stupid that nobody would even care about, and be proud of it because I proved to myself that I was stupid 'just because I could'). But as always, thanks for the content, and sorry for the long comment.
    Chris Zoupa
    I think you need to draw from your own experiences and not MIsha's. Think about the last time someone criticised YOUR playing or YOUR music and how that made you feel. Kevin's advice (as a teacher and a friend) has gotten me over so many psychological obstacles when it comes to the "non-playing" side of being a musician. I would also agree that through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, Ultimate Guitar takes the cake with the largest population of trolls per capita.
    The last time someone criticised my playing I thanked them, same with the last time someone criticised my writing. As I said, you don't need people encouraging you if you truly like what you do, you need people telling you how THEY think you could improve.
    how to deal with criticism: step one: tell them to eat a dick step two: don't give a shit step three: consider if they have a valid point and analyze yourself any of these steps can be substituted depending on situation or personal preference