It was recently reported that a columnist writing for the Daily Telegraph had closed his online blog following excessive criticism in comments to that blog.
With the availability of mass media such as the Internet, individuals can make their opinions and criticisms available to a wide audience. This is further exacerbated by the fact that the use of nom de plumes ensures the critic frequently remains anonymous.
Writing in 1937, Napoleon Hill observed, “Criticism is the one form of service of which everyone has too much. Everyone has a stock of it which is handed out, gratis, whether called for or not.”
I believe the free availability of opinions has made the fear of criticism a major problem in modern society. Individuals are less likely to go their own way for fear of the criticism that will almost inevitably follow.
In his classic book, ‘Think And Grow Rich,’ Napoleon Hill discusses the fear of criticism. “The fear of criticism robs man of his initiative, destroys his power of imagination, limits his individuality, takes away his self-reliance, and does him damage in a hundred other ways.”
My knowledge of lobster or crab fishing is woefully inadequate but I have heard an analogy made with the way these crustacea are caught. The baskets used work primarily because any lobster or crab trying to escape is pulled back in by his fellow captives. Regrettably human beings are much the same.
If one person tries to be successful others will try to pull him or her back through various forms of criticism.
Included in this fear are the fears of public speaking and stage fright.
This fear has definite effects and symptoms the most obvious of which must be nervousness and timidity. Sufferers are self-conscious and hesitant in meeting and holding conversations with strangers. Their body language is nervous and restrained.
Perhaps not surprisingly the fear of criticism also shows as an inability to make firm decisions or express definite opinions. It creates laziness, procrastination, giving too much weight to the opinions of others and no firmness of purpose.
The most interesting features of the fear however arise from a raging inferiority complex. This involves overcompensating in ways such as using long words (often without knowing the meaning), appearing as if superior to others, overspending and boasting of imaginary achievements. Even imitating and copying the dress of others is a sure indicator.
Now you can see how many people…