Criticism and Progress

A troll is just a critic in charge of a keyboard. Someone who is content to liberally spray criticism across the internet that would otherwise fall on deaf ears in a good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation.

Groundless or not, it’s never pleasant to hear those chirps from the big bad world. But then again, few critics ever create anything of note themselves.

That might make you feel better. But flip it round and the point is much more concerning. If you’re not being criticised, it’s likely that you’re doing nothing of note. And considering just how short time is, unless you plan on living a life of quiet isolation, that is surely far more terrifying than the alternative.

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I had one quote blu-tacked to my wall for over a decade.  If you’ve never read it, now’s a good time:-

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

(The Man in the Arena speech, Theodore Roosevelt, 1910)