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Dandy Cast 029: A critique a day is a-okay!

Sean Anderson
Sean Anderson

This podcast episode was recorded as an accompanying audio version of the Dandy Newsletter that was published on June 16, 2020.

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Show notes

We could all stand to be more graceful in our lives and interactions with others. It’s a good quality to have. You’ll be more pleasant to spend time around. You’ll be kinder to people. You’ll be able to take criticism better than you’ve ever done before. To put it plainly, grace is a necessary component in life.

You’re going to be criticized for what you do. There’s no getting around it. However, what’s going to set you apart from those who bristle at criticism is how well you respond to it. Trust me, you don’t want to be the sort of person who throws a fit over any negativity aimed your way. That’s not a good look.

There’s also a brand spankin’ new blog post waiting for you. It’s called, Quick Tip: So Your Squarespace Trial Period Is Ending…

You’ve got a brilliant looking new Squarespace site going. Good on you! However, your free trial period is ending. What’s a person to do now? Well, you should read this blog post to learn the exact steps you need to take to ensure you start your new website off the right way. Give it a go.

We’re wrapping things up with what I’m watching, reading, and listening to this week. It’s a great assortment of media that’s worth your time.

Links to stuff that was mentioned:

Grace - Merriam-Webster

Schadenfreude - Grammarly

Quick Tip: So Your Squarespace Trial Period Is Ending… - Dandy Cat Design

How do extended trials work? - Squarespace

Squarespace Circle

Don’t Talk to Dongus | Roderick on the Line - Merlin Mann

Westworld - IMDb

Pony | Orville Peck - YouTube

Grave Peril | Jim Butcher - Goodreads

The full text

The Dandy Newsletter — 06/16/20

Grace is a quality that we could all use a whole lot more of every single day. There are several different definitions of the word, but the one that stands out most to me is this one from Merriam-Webster: disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency.

Being kind and humble. I like that. The entire world could do with a whole lot more of those two things, both now and every other time in the past and the future. Really, there’s just not enough years in our lives to be jerk-faces.

Being justifiably criticized for who we are, what we believe, or what we create can be a bitter pill to swallow. We all want to believe that who we are and what we do is as good as it can get. Sometimes we’re not very successful in holding onto that belief, but still, I don’t know of a single person who is okay with being disliked or ridiculed. We all have an ego inside of us, driving our self-worth and actions. When someone interacts with us in a way that challenges the conception of ourselves that we’ve built, it can feel like an attack on our very beings. Our reactions to those challenges can sound a bit like this:

“What do you mean you don’t like that poster I made? I put so much time and effort into it! I don’t think you really get what I was trying to do there.” Or:

“What I meant to do was this, but I just couldn’t get it to work. It wasn’t really my fault. I couldn’t get the people I was working with to do better.” Or:

“What do you mean I don’t know what I’m talking about? I don’t need to read these things you’re showing me. I live in the world; I know what life’s like.”

There’s no shortage of excuses to be made when someone criticizes who you are or what you do. Is it surprising that’s how it is? We all want to be the best we can be and defend against anything opposing that quest. Excuses are the language of the ego, and without thinking critically about ourselves, our actions, and our creations our egos are allowed to grow large and run rampant.

While in film school, I began noticing an uncomfortable and repetitive behavior amongst my fellow students (and sometimes myself before I could catch my reflexive thoughts). We all had to create several films, usually ten minutes or less, throughout the course of our education there. I myself made or helped make probably close to fifty unique films throughout those years.

The thing about filmmaking is that it’s both damn hard to do well and it’s usually a very personal process.

Come review time, you could 100% count on someone’s film performing poorly, either because the story wasn’t great or the creator didn’t know how to make a good film. You could also usually count on that person taking their inevitable criticism as if it was a personal attack on their very humanity. It was always unpleasant to witness. I would call how I felt during those moments the opposite of schadenfreude, whatever that may be (my German is nonexistent).

However, there was usually a good reason why that person was being criticized for their work. I’m sure all the teachers at my school had their personal biases toward or against the students there, but I never felt that their critiques were anything but professional. They truly wanted their students to do as well as possible.

The big issue is that people don’t like hearing that they’ve done something wrong or aren’t measuring up. The tough part about life is that it’s criticism that helps us improve both ourselves and the things we do. It helps us learn about other points of view, become better people than we were, and makes the work we do more powerful. It’s uncomfortable to hear, but it also helps us grow.

Facing up to criticism against us is a tough thing to do, but it’s also an essential part of being a humble, gracious adult. Running away from criticism, or perhaps worse, believing that anyone who critiques you is wrong and terrible is childish behavior. To be frank, people who reject criticism in that way are probably unpleasant to be around and need to spend time learning to be better.

A challenge or a critique isn’t something to be afraid of or hostile toward. In fact, we should invite more people who challenge our thoughts and beliefs into our lives. Will it be tough to be challenged? I hope so! Is it necessary? Like you wouldn’t believe.

If you’re an artist, find a community with an artistic eye that can find the flaws in your work and point them out to you while also encouraging you to keep going. If you’re an online business professional, ask your community of fans how you can improve your website and services/products. If you’re a living, thinking, breathing human being, then find someone who isn’t like you and listen, really listen, to their story.

Approaching criticism with grace is a tough thing to do. It should go without saying that I’m still and will probably always be working on that. However, it’s a necessary thing if you ever want to be better at, well, anything.

Embrace being wrong about things, because being wrong is one of the few ways you'll learn to be right.

Keep calm and debut your new website!

There’s a new blog post waiting for you. Hip-hip-hooray! 🎉

It’s called: Quick Tip: So Your Squarespace Trial Period Is Ending…

I’ve always been pleased with Squarespace’s generous trial period for their websites (and their extremely generous trial period if you start a website as a Circle member). Fourteen days is a pretty decent amount of time to learn about their platform and if they’ll work for your website needs.

But trial periods don’t last forever. Those fourteen days are going to run out and then you’ll need to make the choice between turning your trial website into a full-fledged Internet Thing or abandoning it. I suggest making it a true Internet Thing and creating a home for you or your business online. How do you do that, you might ask?

Easy: start by following the link above to learn all about the next (and pretty dang easy) steps you’ll need to take when your Squarespace trial period ends. You’ll have your snazzy new website up and running in no time. Give it a read today!

If you ever want to throw some suggestions my way, then send me a reply to this email. They’re always wonderful to receive.

Seriously friend, I'd love to hear from you.

Until next time cats, stay informed, stay safe, and stand up for what’s right. Black lives matter.


Sean Anderson

Lover of productivity tips, Apple devices, and vegan ice cream. Mostly, I'm busy petting cats 🐱 and dogs 🐶

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