Over the holiday weekend, I was shopping for graduation and wedding presents, when I ambled into a small antique shop and was stopped in my tracks by an antique Navajo rug hanging on the wall. I was smitten. Over the course of the next couple days, I dragged two friends to assess the object of my desire. Each friend praisedthe rug, then gave me their honest appraisal of whether or not I should buy it.
The situation reminded me of asking for honest opinions. If you’re not prepared to accept criticism as well as praise, then don’t ask. A year ago, I printed out a blog post from the Brand Management blog which was titled a “Creative Manifesto,” by The Greteman Group. One of the points in the manifesto is: “Seek criticism, not praise. Approval is easy, but an honest opinion is priceless. Ask what’s wrong. How can I make it better?”
While the rug was someone eles’s work of creativity, it still wasn’t easy to accept the criticism and the probing questions. Yet, this is what we all need and hope for when asking for an opinion. “Constructive criticism” sometimes isn’t very constructive. Our co-workers sometimes use the occasion of advice-giving to belittle us. Yet, there is always a grain of truth in every honest opinion. In creating new ideas, I liked Sonia Greteman’s thought that by asking what’s wrong with a concept we are being given the opportunity to make it better, improve the idea and be collaborative.
Needless to say, I didn’t buy the rug. By giving me their feedback, both friends gave me an education and made my eye more discerning. The next artistic creation that entrances me will have to be that much better than the Ganado Red Navajo rug.