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Why You Should Not Criticize Others

Updated: Jun 12, 2019

United states air force fighter pilot and civlian test pilot Bob Hoover was flying back in San Diego in his airplane when unexpectdely both of his engines cut out at over 300 feet in air. Lucky for Hoover and those on board, he was able to land the plane back on land saving their lives. Unfortunately, the airplane was severly damaged.

So what caused the engine failure?

The reason for the scary engine failure was that the World War 2 propeller plane had been accidentally filled with jet fuel. A simple mistake such as this almost cost Hoover and the passengers their lives.

Back at the airport, Hoover approached the mechanic who made this mistake. The young man immediately burst into tears, knowing the wrecking and loss of Hoover's expensive airplane and the danger posed to the people on board.

So did Hoover yell at him? hurt him? criticize him?

Not at all. In fact, Hoover forgave the young man and said he'd like the same mechanic to service his plane the next day. He had faith in the young man and believed the young mechanic will learn from this lesson. Criticizing someone is easy, but it takes character to be understanding and to forgive others for their mistakes and shortcomings.

Hoover's great example is something we can learn from. Criticizing people will not encourage them to change their behavior because we are not driven by reason but by emotion. If you criticize a person, they'll just feel under attack, and their natural response is to dig in and fight back!

Although voicing criticism might help you blow steam, in the long-term, it will just make others like you less. Many successful people learned this the hard way. For example, Abraham Lincoln used to publicly criticize his opponents until one day his criticism really offended someone that he was challenged to a saber duel to the death! Lucky for Lincoln, the duel was called off at the last instant, and from then on, he never criticized anyone openly again. So what's the lesson from Abraham? Do not criticize others openly because it will only do more damage and eventually come back 'to bite you'.

In addition I also believe in never criticizing anyone whether it be in public or in private (behind their back). Benjamin Franklin shared that his secret to success was to "speak ill of no man."

Want to be more self aware and master Benjamin Franklin's secret to his success? Well, here is something I I know will help. I learned several months ago from a leader by the name of Elder Odgers who said, "Before you speak about some one, first ask yourself, is it true? Is it kind? Is it helpful?". I promise that if you apply this principle, you will find your self serving, loving and helping others rather than making enemies by harming, shaming and criticising them.



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