This week I’ve been thinking a lot about criticism and the effect it has on us. It has major impact on who we are and what we do, even if we are independent thinkers and doers. The words below were written by Seth Godin. Seth’s repertoire includes entrepreneur, writer, speaker, and agent for change. He has been called the father of permission-based marketing.

He says:

“One of the dumbest forms of criticism is to shout down an expert in one field who speaks up about something else. The actor with a political point of view, or the physicist who talks about philosophy. The theory is that people should stick to what they know and quietly sit by in all other situations.

Of course, at one point, we all knew nothing. The only way you ever know anything, in fact, is to speak up about it. Outline your argument, support it, listen, revise.

The byproduct of speaking up about what you don’t know is that you soon know more. And maybe, just maybe, the experts learn something from you and your process.

No one knows more about the way you think than you do. Applying that approach, combining your experience, taking a risk–this is what we need from you.”

I know I often don’t voice my opinions because I don’t consider myself an expert on the subject. But based on what Mr. Godin says, maybe I should speak out anyway. By voicing my thoughts or opinion about something, I risk getting criticized and/or ridiculed. I run the risk of being misunderstood, or made to look foolish.

On the other hand, it might contribute a much needed aspect or view point. A lot of times we have ‘tunnel vision’, and then someone else with the courage to speak up penetrates that tunnel. The scope of our vision widens and it opens us up to new ideas and thoughts.

With that; I’m going to throw one of my thoughts out there. I’m speaking up.

It might be the case with every generation, but since I can remember I’ve heard, “These young people nowadays…(accompanied with a grimace/headshake/expletive)….expect to get everything for nothing! They’re a lazy, shiftless bunch.” Or a mumbled, ‘Don’t know what this world’s coming to. The youngsters nowadays just can’t be depended on.” This really bothers me because the young generation has always been a product of the previous generations, right? And who is that?

It seems like the ones complaining the loudest should really be taking a hard look at themselves and their own lives.

Let me know what you think. Don’t be afraid to speak out.