Critics and Creators

Len WilsonCreativity, Culture, Leadership1 Comment

In life, you can either be a creator or a critic.

Being a critic is easier. Most people are critics.

It starts in elementary school, with what researchers have named the “fourth grade slump.” Since being a creator is vulnerable – it exposes you to the opinions of others – most young people choose to protect themselves. They see the pain of taking an arrow for making something new, so they decide to be an archer instead.

People rarely mock you for taking a shot at something. Often, if you hit the target well, they even applaud you, because they are lined up on the same firing range, and they admire your cynical accuracy. There is camaraderie in criticism, and approval, and comfort.

And sometimes, critics are even right. There’s always something less than perfect about the creation. But critics are not really helpful, and comfort is the enemy.

The creator usually already knows about the imperfection anyway. The creator is the one in the arena, bloody and sweating, doing the work that builds society. Crafts beauty. Finds truth. Pours into others.

Just as anybody can be a critic, anybody can be a creator. Critics say no. Creators say yes. Good educators don’t just correct, they share wisdom. Good consultants don’t just point out problems, they offer solutions. Good leaders don’t just demand excellence, they grow great cultures.

And in case you’re worried about comfort or approval, find comfort in knowing that the future usually doesn’t remember the names of the critics. They remember the names of those who create. It’s the creators who change the world.

I’d rather be a creator than a critic.


About the Author

Len Wilson

One Comment on “Critics and Creators”

  1. You are assuming all critics are bad, meaning all critiques are bad. Yes, there are 2 kinds of people in this world: Critics and Creators. Both are equally important. I agree, comfort is the enemy. But comfort is created when no one is willing to stand up and call you out on your warts. We end up with a mediocre society, the “everyone gets a trophy” kind of world. Critics are important to keep us honest. A true creator will create anyway. A weak creator will turn into a critic. Sometimes they are both critic and creator. But to say critics are bad, not needed, serve no purpose is completely short sighted and dismissive of the importance of balance

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *