Creators and critics exist in all walks of life and industries. This article explores some of the fundamental differences between them. Obviously there are shades of grey that can exist when assessing differences between things. This posting takes a binary view which is more black and white in nature.
It can be important to differentiate between the aggressive and attacking behaviours of internet trolls and people who provide thoughtful, balanced and professional assessments of various products, services, and other types of creations. This article is primarily directed at the activities of internet trolls and other individuals who engage in mindless, hurtful criticisms of others.
All creators must determine for themselves the relative value of well intentioned feedback that they receive about their creations. Some creators may choose to adjust what they do based on the feedback that they receive. Others will pay it no heed at all. My sincere thanks to one of our readers, John Colborne.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge. Photographs have been added to serve as visual breaks.
When we look at the world around us the first thing that we observe is that there are far more critics in the world than there are creators. Being a critic is easy, safe and lazy. Being a creator is difficult, risky and takes effort.
Choice of Life Path.
One of the biggest differences between creators and critics is their choice of life path. Creators are on a journey of courage, self-discovery, expression and growth. They shape their life story through their creations. They contribute by making things.
Critics choose a path of fear, mediocrity and conformity. They stay mired in pools of self-pity and whine about their circumstances. Criticising others creates a facade behind which they can hide from their own inadequacies. They resign themselves to what is, and make no attempt to affect positive change.
Importance of Approval.
Creators recognize and understand that the opinions of others are subjective and transient. They know that seeking approval of themselves and their work from others is self-limiting and restrictive. They never allow the opinions of others to stand in the way of creating new things. At their core they create for themselves, not to appease others.
Critics seek the approval of others by conforming to the opinions they observe around them. By agreeing with the criticisms of others they can create a feeling of acceptance and belonging to a group. Even if that group may be comprised of malcontents.
Contribution to Society.
Creators add quality to the lives of others through their work. Their creations can inspire, help or entertain others. Creators demonstrate what is possible and break boundaries along the way. They can help us aspire to create a better world by way of their example. They are a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.
Critics contribute little to society. They accept the limitations set by others, and can be destructive by trying to tear things down at the expense of others. Their world view is one of a zero sum game. They gravitate to the lowest common denominators of human existence.
Creators are fully engrossed in the game. They are willing to commit their time and energy to their creations. This commitment could involve hours, weeks, months or even years depending on the project. Creators are unafraid to show their work. They accept responsibility for their lives and what they produce. They continually push the envelope through their creations.
Critics sulk on the sideline and throw stones at the effort and output of others. They are afraid of personal challenge and waste their time on trivial pursuits. They choose to bitch rather than build. They often live under the illusion that the world somehow owes them something. Critics follow the path of least resistance, and have little awareness of where that path may lead them.
Self-Identification and Emotions.
Creators have a good level of self-awareness and self-confidence. They continually seek to learn more about their personal potential and to use more of their abilities. Creators are aware of their weaknesses and accept failures as important parts of the growth process.
They manage their inputs effectively and avoid those that drain their creative energies. Once they create something, they move on to the next project based on where their inspiration and instincts lead them. They do not dwell on past successes or failures. What’s done is done. Creators tend to be open and even tempered. They strive to make the most of their moments of now.
Critics are not fully aware of their personal potential and seldom, if ever, challenge themselves in a meaningful way. They are afraid to put their work in front of others as they fear criticism. They have a weak self-image, and allow themselves to be defined by the opinions of others.
Critics lack self-confidence and do not effectively manage their inputs. They seek validation from other people. As a result they are easily swayed by the opinions of others. Rather than focus on the future, they relive a small number of past achievements. This can lead them into a retrospective life experience. Critics are often cruel, mean spirited and narrow minded.
Creators and critics differ in their basic outlook on life, with creators taking a more optimistic view. They experience problems as things to be solved and as opportunities for growth. Critics are more pessimistic in nature. To them problems are excuses they can use to justify their weaknesses.
The Fundamental Divide.
When examining the differences between creators and critics the fundamental divide is found in how each assesses the world around them. Creators seek to understand. They ask questions. They observe. They separate their emotions and apply critical thinking. They seek to discover the root cause of issues. Then set about to find solutions.
Critics are quick to make assumptions and rush to judgement. They are ruled by their emotions. They cast blame on others. Justice to them is solely dependent on whether they got what they wanted. Ethics, morals or consequences are of little concern to them.
The Daily Challenge.
Being aware of our approach to day-to-day life events is critical for us to maintain a creator role. It is incredibly easy to fall into the judgement trap.
Years ago when I used to facilitate a 2 day personal effectiveness seminar I would give attendees a simple challenge at the end of Day 1. That challenge was to drive home without criticising or judging anything along their journey. They had to report back on the results of their challenge at the start of Day 2.
After conducting this seminar many times across the country I don’t recall a single participant who made it home without criticising or judging something along the way. Most didn’t even make it to the 5 minute mark.
Decades later I still use this daily challenge with myself. It is one of the small things that we can do to encourage ourselves to seek understanding in our lives, and avoid falling into the judgement trap. Or, at least fall into it less often.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. This is the 1,035th article published on this website since its original inception.
How you can help keep this site advertising free
My intent is to keep this photography blog advertising free. If you enjoyed this article and/or my website and would like to support my work, you can purchase an eBook, or make a modest $10 donation through PayPal. Both are most appreciated. You can use the Donate button below. Larger donations can be made to email@example.com through PayPal.
As a reminder to our Canadian readers, you can get a special 5% discount when ordering Tamron or Rokinon lenses and other products directly from the Amplis Store.
Word of mouth is the best form of endorsement. If you like our website please let your friends and associates know about our work. Linking to this site or to specific articles is allowed with proper acknowledgement. Reproducing articles, or any of the images contained in them, on another website or in any social media posting is a Copyright infringement.
Article is Copyright 2021 Thomas Stirr. Images are Copyright 2018-2021 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation of any kind is allowed without written consent. If you see this article reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use. Posting comments on offending websites and calling out individuals who steal intellectual property is always appreciated!