Self -criticism means being critical of oneself and one’s faults and weaknesses. It also means unfavorable or severe judgment of oneself, one’s abilities, one’s actions, etc. It also implies the action of finding one’s own faults and shortcomings in order to see where improvement is imperative. It’s a serious examination and judgment of ourselves and our actions. Constructive criticism is always appreciated.

Self-criticism can be both a healthy means of increasing self-awareness and personal growth, and on the other hand, it can serve as a major obstacle to self-esteem and peace of mind. Self-criticism can stem from childhood experiences. For example, being subject to criticism or mixed messages from parents and caretakers, having difficulty getting along with peers, missing out on experiences that would foster a sense of confidence and purpose, or not receiving positive reinforcement for our accomplishments. Self-criticism may also stem from real or perceived failures. To the degree it helps us learn lessons, display humility when we have behaved badly, and improves our mastery over ourselves and our endeavors, it can help us recover from and avoid failures and overcome our weaknesses, unwanted habits, and areas of unconsciousness. However, to the degree it prevents us from taking any risk, asserting opinions, and believing in our own basic ability to think, function and thrive, it can be unhelpful and unhealthy.

There’s just one basic and ultimate reason why we need to criticize ourselves; it’s to create rooms for improvement in our endeavors in order not rest on our oars so that complacency will not set in. While we criticize ourselves after each task, we must not forget to give ourselves an accolade of a job well done where a sense of fulfillment comes in. But a good business man doesn’t praise himself. The business moguls and aristocrats of our days, men and women of timbre and caliber, successful political heavyweights and tycoons, greats economists and professionals who are driving major global economic plans of our days have gone through self denial of pestilential luxury. They didn’t allow the gratification of transient enjoyment to pin them down while setting out on the path that led them to where they are now. There were great distractions of alluring tendencies and irresistible innuendos with its pomp and fanfare that caused others with weak resolve to fall by the wayside. They set a table for themselves which was meant for a delicacy eaten by them alone and unknown to anyone else. They wine and dine on this table over the task for the day, for the week, for the month and all year long. Those who weren’t dining well adopted the instrumentality of another table in the form of an external yardstick for judging how well they are doing business-wise. They were doing all these without condemning themselves.

Let’s get this right. Self-criticism is constructive and corrective in nature. There will be lapses caused by us and caused by some factors we don’t have power over but that should be a catalyst that will spur us on into action. A mistake is made twice. Trash the popular maxim that says it’s a fool that makes the same mistake twice. But it’s not a foolish driver that’s involved in an accident more than twice. Influences beyond explanation come to bear. Not learning from those mistakes is where it becomes disastrous and catastrophic. Make your mistakes, maybe as much as you can make and learn as much lessons as you can learn from it and move on. Mistakes should be seen as manure and fertilizer that we apply to what we do to accelerate its growth. And what impact does this have on becoming successful in life? Its impact becomes more pronounced when you practice it consistently and faithfully. Don’t lie to yourself and don’t deceive yourself. If you do, you’ll see it before you go far.

A man of great vision sees beyond the immediate and gives up the transient things of life. He channels his energy and savvy positively towards wisely investing it for a great harvest of success. He plans his prosperity for his posterity through a well-defined activity. He disciplines himself and trains himself. If there’s anything mankind finds difficult to achieve, it’s discipline. And if discipline comes to bear upon all that we do, the sky might just be the starting point.

Criticize your sense of judgment
Your sense of judgment is your faculty of reasoning. That’s the seat of decision-making that drives all that we do. What you plan to do for the day, week, month and year long stems from there and the judgmental decision we make must be subjected to scrutiny. You must be a fast and better thinker by each day. You must be calculative and be able to plot your graph and make some meaning out of it. Don’t let your brain become lazy. Exercise it everyday and rigorously and slow down when you need to. The great inventors of this world who invented the technological and mechanical manpower we all enjoy today didn’t try once. If they had tried once, we won’t be direct beneficiaries of the results of their sleepless nights back then because they didn’t succeed at the first shot and attempts. The inventor of electricity was rumored to have tried 99 times before succeeding to give us electricity that now serves as the bedrock of global business drive and no country succeeds economically without constant electricity. Bill Gates of Microsoft didn’t succeed at the first attempt and sundry other memorial inventors. Their first and subsequent attempts suffered criticism and they determined to get better and better at each subsequent attempt. They stretched their brain to think better and faster and history was made with their names written on the platter of gold.

Do a SWOT analysis
S stands for Strength. Identify your strength. What gives you strength? What are you good at? What is it that you are dexterously adept at? What do you achieve with ease without a drop of sweat? As a student, you might study and assimilate better when you read in the night, and then you need to consolidate on it and fortify yourself with it more. As a business tycoon, identify the areas where your business is thriving better as a result of the business plans you come up with and build on it. Your talent and gift are also your strength and it is incumbent on you to harness them profitably. You have them to be of immense benefit to mankind.

W stands for Weakness
The opposite of strength is weakness and there is a conflict between the two. While you are thriving to make things work by adopting the instrumentality of your strength, your weakness does the opposite. It is a total reversal of what your strength stands for. Identify what it is, live with it and do something about it. Don’t allow it to stand in the way for you and I don’t mean physical weakness like body weakness but what you know you struggle with and it is not working for you but you still need it for the endeavors of life.

O implies Opportunity
Opportunities abound here and there, it only takes a man of vision, not sight to see it and make the most judicious use of it. It actually comes disguising in the most undecipherable pattern. If opportunity were to present itself in its raw form, then there will be no need for us to go extra mile thereby reducing our productivity level and life resultantly becomes boring. A popular maxim says opportunity comes but once but I dare say it comes throughout one’s lifetime only in different form. When opportunity meets preparation, the sky might just be the starting point.

T indicates Threat
What poses threat to you creates fear in you and when fear settles in you, it cripples your resolve and makes false evidence to appear real. There are many threats abounding in our days today. Threat to our business, threat to our education, threat to making two ends meet fashioned by the miscalculation and misjudgment of men and believed and swallowed by men. Everyone’s been plunged deeper into the abyss of pessimism because that is what the figures say and the globalization of virtually everything seems to have superimposed its short-lived benefit going by the life expectancy of man upon reasoning. And we are all left to subsist on what is dished out to us.

Author: Olajide Oluwafemi

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