How do you deal with criticism?

Happy Sunday to you!

I spent yesterday driving the coast and was so grateful all day long to live in such an amazing place like Northern California. The coast highway was stunning!

What are you grateful for on this beautiful morning?

So last week’s newsletter on the topic of being a perfectionist clearly struck a chord with a lot of you. In fact, it generated the most feedback and response of any newsletter to date so we’ll be coming back to this topic, I’m sure of it.

Today I’d like to talk about dealing with criticism as an actor/artist/dreamer.

First of all, let me say it isn’t easy being criticized. It STINGS, especially when it’s done in a very public forum, but if you’re really going to go after this then here’s a fact: the louder you get, the more successful you get, the more criticism you’re going to have to deal with.

I remember the first negative review I ever received for my one-man show, Vincent. I’d already been touring it for years and up to that point all my reviews had been extremely positive. So when this negative one came out it was a blow and it took me (and my ego) quite awhile to get rid of the “sting.”

What helped me greatly was remembering something Sanford Meisner had taught me many years before. He said, “If you’re going to believe the good reviews from complete strangers then you have to believe the bad ones, too. And for what it’s worth, both are unhealthy to believe in unless you value and respect the opinion of the critic. Consider the source because everyone’s a critic. Everyone thinks they too could be an actor, so people will be very free about their opinions of your work. I say screw ‘em. Screw your critics. In the history of mankind no one’s ever erected a statue to a critic. You just have to know you did the best you could. Figure out what you learned, forgive yourself, and go again.”

Sandy’s not saying all criticism is bad. He IS saying consider the source, and if you value and respect that person’s opinion, then listen to what they have to say. If not, then don’t waste a second taking on their beliefs about you, your talent, and your dreams.

Years ago while I was living in Sun Valley, Idaho, the Dali Lama was coming for three days of teachings and talks. My ex-wife and I were part of the committee to plan his visit because we were practicing Buddhists in a town with hardly any.

At the very first meeting we were sitting on a sofa with another committee member when my ex turned to her and said, “Isn’t this exciting?!” The woman curtly replied, “Isn’t what exciting?” “The Dali Lama’s visit.” This woman then said something that has been one THE greatest gifts I’ve ever received on the topic of dealing with criticism. She said, “I don’t know what all the excitement’s about. He’s just coming here to sell a bunch of books.”

I was stunned. This lady was criticizing the Dali Lama for being a greedy opportunist!

And in that moment I realized Sandy was so right, everyone’s a critic.  So consider the source!

What beautiful advice for all of us actors/artists/dreamers because the criticism probably started the second we told people we wanted to be an actor. And that really stung because it often came from people closest to us – our family and friends.

How do you deal with any form of criticism toward your work as an actor and your dream of being one (especially when dealing with that unhealthy critic/perfectionist inside all of us)?

I say consider the source.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions so please post them on our private Artistic Family Facebook page.  If you haven’t joined us yet, you’re missing out on some beautiful feedback and growth so GO HERE

WEBINAR NEXT SATURDAY! I hope you’ll join me this coming Saturday, October 3rd at 10:00am PST for our Q&A Webinar. Typically we charge a small fee for these webinars but this one’s free for all who are a part of our Artistic Family Newsletter – that means YOU!

We’ll send your registration invitation to you early next week so be looking for that.

Until then, thank you for spending another Sunday with me.

My very best to you, Jim

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