It is a strange but an understandable phenomenon that most of us find taking criticism so hard. Mankind progresses by means of open minded observation and learning from its mistakes, and yet, at a personal level, taking criticism is often such a painful experience that we do everything in our powers to avoid it.

When someone criticizes us, our first reaction is to see it as some kind of attack, a direct challenge on who we are, on our competence. And yet criticism gives us the chance to question and improve, and by improving we become better and therefore more valuable in both our business and private lives.

Look around you and check your own friends, family and colleagues. Which of them are actively seeking feedback and criticism and moving forward with their lives, and which of them are standing still unwilling to improve and move on?

Because constructive criticism is a gift we should always say ‘thank you’ to the person who gave it to us (even if it is a day or so later). We should do this for two reasons: One, because the giver is the one putting themselves out and is therefore taking all the risks, and two, we are the real benefactors at the end of the day.