A Lesson Learned From Error

November 20, 2007
People who constantly smile give me the creeps. It’s not that I don’t like seeing people happy, but when there’s nothing to smile about people shouldn’t be smiling. He was smiling that day, I should have known right then that I was going to have problems with this man. He walked into the classroom holding a computer tote bag and walked out with my dreams. Who am I talking about? I’m referring to none other then my local high school English teacher. Laugh if you will, but as soon as the clock hit 11:20 and the bell rang I felt my heart sink.
I’d always been told that I had a future in some sort of writing but when my essay was handed back, and my answers were proven wrong, I felt crushed. I guess the real problem here was criticism. I was never one to take criticism lightly. But how could this man criticize me when I was only months away from a bright and glittering future? I was getting ready to embark on a path to the university of my choice, and suddenly that path seemed to no longer lead anywhere. The six out of ten on my paper looked like a death sentence.
If you think my issue sounds juvenile and whiney, I completely agree with you. One incident can’t ruin a future. But why do I, like many of my peers, take criticism so gravely? I relate criticism to a passive aggressive attack on my soul. Dramatic? Yes. Perhaps if I stopped being so dramatic in my thoughts I’d accept criticism and take it for what it’s worth. But who really wants their hard work torn apart? To answer that question I turn to Aristotle.
Aristotle once said, “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing”. Saying nothing, doing nothing and being nothing is the easy way out. I’d much rather speak my mind and hand in my error riddled essays then become a silent observer. I’ve realized that to be criticized means that I have an opinion, I express thoughts and I have a voice. Truly, those who are not criticized do not have a voice, and to not have a voice is a shame.

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