Create or Criticize?

From Hugh McLeod’s Gaping Void:

Some people will do very well by it. Other people will prefer to stay on the sidelines instead, using the internet to yak yak yak endlessly on about what other people are up to, holding the “players” to far higher standards than they will ever attain themselves. These lovely armchair quarterbacks will be swiftly forgotten by history. Same as it ever was.

To my surprise, one of my posts started a discussion on Tucker Max’s “Idiot Board” recently.  I used to peruse the board quite a bit awhile back (they constantly have entertaining discussions), so I was happy to see other people sharing their thoughts on who has influenced them.  I always enjoyed that message board, but I didn’t like participating much because people criticize the hell out of each other.  So if you say something stupid, you’re going to get jumped on by ten other members (which you rightfully should, to an extent).

But the problem with this is that it creates an atmosphere conducive to unfair criticism.  Some people will call you an idiot for no good reason.  They want to show everyone else they’re smart (I think a large part of this is to prove they’re like Tucker, who’s especially good at destroying people with fallacious arguments).

This behavior obviously is not exclusive to the Tucker Max board.  It happens everywhere.  People are especially critical on the Internet because it’s so ridiculously easy to judge someone in front of a large audience without being seriously rebuked.  Hell, I do it.  But one thing every single critic should appreciate is how hard it is to create something that you’re proud of.  When you finally do create something that’s meaningful to you, it’s like a personal attack when someone questions it.

I don’t mean for this to be a “Ignore the haters, grow a thick skin” sort of post.  I just want to express how important it is to actively decide whether you want to create or criticize.  The critics often sit on an undeserved high horse in comfort, but are ultimately unfulfilled because they’re not gaining anything from it.  They choose not to go out, make mistakes, and possibly fail.

A creator suffers.  He goes through hardships that can last years at a time.  He’s spit on when he fails, and often times his successes are not acknowledged.  But at least he tried.  As Roosevelt said, at least he failed “while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

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