Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

All about music, guitar, spirituality, personal development and being happy

Surviving the “Ouch!” of Criticism


I remember as a kid getting “conduct” grades at my little private school run by nuns. We actually got grades in:

  • Works well with others
  • Homework – Complete, Prompt, Neat Independent
  • Accepts Criticism Well
  • General Conduct

Good grief. Item # 3 on that list…I wonder how many of my teachers accepted criticism well! I still don’t always, but I try.

Jack Canfield in one of his talks describes the mistake in ignoring criticism.

He does a mock performance with his attendees explaining that his goal is over “there” (he points somewhere in the room) and then asks for their “constructive criticism” in getting there – to his goal.

Comically, he puts his fingers in his ears and walks away from the goal. Everyone in the audience shouts, but he keeps going further and further away because he refuses to listen to them.

Everyone gets a good laugh, and he illustrates the importance of listening to criticism very well.

Criticism is a “pinprick” type of pain. It hurts, but the sooner we are honest with ourselves (and if we trust our critique) we can take what we do to the next level. Part of this is getting over the ego identification with what we do. What we do is not who we are.

Know that it should and will hurt, and know that it is probably your ego. It’s not that you’re bad, or a failure – it’s just that nobody knows it all, not you , I or anyone – and outside guidance is good.

If we can get over the ego bruise and get on with the message contained in the critique and take action, that’s called growth, and I repeat, it is good.


Author: Adam Rafferty

Adam Rafferty. Fingerstyle Guitarist. Recording and Concert Artist. Meditator. Philosopher. Lover of Groove.

2 thoughts on “Surviving the “Ouch!” of Criticism

  1. Thanks, as always, Adam for these little bits of wisdom you continue to share with us, your humble readers. At the risk of heaping unnecessary praise upon you, I would like to say that I think you’ve really been on fire, so to speak, with your recent posts. It is so nice to me when someone of your experience and insight can so concisely articulate these deceptively simple principles.

    Thanks again – Danny

    • Danny

      Thanks. It’s a cycle…play and perform, teach, live by a philosophy, and share with others what works and what doesn’t. I believe in “passing it forward!”

      I am always inspired when I read life advice from people whom I look up to. For that reason…I’d like to inspire others as awell.

      Licks tabs and lessons are not enough…I want fans and friends to drink deep of the waters of what may hopefully make their lives and music just a little more fullfiling.

      I’m also open to finding out what they know, and I don’t 🙂

      Stay tuned!!!


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