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Praise & Criticism

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Advantages of Praise Praise is like sunlight to the human spirit; we cannot flower and grow without it. How can one word be so significant? Behavioral scientists have done countless experiments to prove that any human being tends to repeat those acts which are immediately followed by a pleasant result. In one such experiment, a number of schoolchildren were divided into three groups and given arithmetic tests daily for five days. One group was consistently praised for its previous performance; another group was criticized; the third was ignored. Not surprisingly, those who were praised improved dramatically. Those who were criticized improved also, but not so much. And the scores of children who were ignored hardly improved at all. Interestingly the brightest children were helped just as much by criticism as by praise, but the less able children reacted badly to criticism and needed praise the most. To the latter, an ounce of praise is worth a pound of scolding. To adults the same is true. Mark Twain also remarked, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Thus my conclusion is that praise is more beneficial than criticism. Advantages of Criticism Criticism produces more benefits. We all know our good qualities but may not know our bad ones. This is because other people are apt to refuse to point out our faults or shortcomings since they don’t want us to lose face. But, to have more knowledge of our negative qualities would add to our self-understanding and thus enable us to become better, keeping us from making the same mistakes in the future. Criticism to us is like medicine to the sick. Only those who care for us will offer us criticism in order to help us from erring. In a sense, those who criticize us are our true friends. Compliments and flattery only lead us to conceit and to ultimate failure. So I believe criticism is more beneficial than praise. Disadvantages of Criticism Criticism has many negative side effects, doing more harm than good to people’s confidence and dignity. Criticism makes people lose confidence and become very negative about themselves. In real life, people tend to hold a protective web around themselves in defense against criticism, for criticism is usually very hurtful. Some people of ill will use their ostensible concern for others as an excuse to criticize and attack them. On the other hand, it is not uncommon for many sensible people to withhold their criticism for fear of being disliked or considered unfair, or for fear of hurting another person. Criticism, with few exceptions, discredits us, what we have done, or what we plan to do. Frequent criticism makes people completely baffled about how to behave and so things properly. Criticism is not as useful as compliments. Compliments encourage people and offer them a hopeful prospect of themselves and their lives, but criticism does the opposite.




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