Get comfortable with criticism

A professor from my undergraduate years gave me some of the most important advice I’ve ever received for a career in academia. First, he asked me: “How are you at taking criticism?”

With a bit of a shrug, I said “Ok, I suppose.”

He then explained that “If you can take criticism well, you can go very far.”

He could not be more right. Nonsense criticism needs to bounce off and be forgotten quickly, but most criticisms have substance to learn from. Criticism is a vital means by which we learn and improve. If one can come to want criticism, at least the useful kind, which has some truth to it, then one will continually grow in one’s craft.