A friend showed me this video of an art student being criticized.
Apparently, something wasn't perfect with her project and her peers had some less-than-flattering comments about her picture.
This story reminds me of a paradigm shift I had about 10 years ago. I write software for a living. And I write subversive fiction when I can. The paradigm shift was that I quit thinking the QA tester dude was my enemy, but a colleague offering a valued service.
In the case of software, it's easy to hand it over to someone to test, and they can tell you which requirements it failed to meet. Or which behaviors it did not do, and which malfunctions were observed. In the case of fiction, things get far more subjective.
And although it is lovely, IT NEVER HAPPENS.
Everyone starts out knowing nothing. Those of us who are lucky learn. And learning works via positive and negative feedback. Do something a little right, you should get a little positive feedback. Do something wrong and you should get some negative feedback. You need both to learn.
We can argue about injuring someone's self-esteem, and how negative feedback should be directed toward fixing what's wrong with the piece.
Yet even when you get abuse from a mean teacher, you learn something you've done is wrong and you know you must do something different to make it right. You need to know what works and what doesn't work. You need someone to see what you don't see.
I don't want to face into the negative truth that I'm not perfect. One of the surprising things about being perfect is that you can't learn anything when you're perfect.
And that's what a fool does, s/he stuffs cotton in the ears when the critique comes in that s/he does not want to hear. (In this case, Henry Cloud says you have to change the conversation to "why aren't you listening?") But I hope you're not a fool, and I hope you want to know when your painting is more like some kids' refrigerator art than it is like Rembrandt. I hope you want to know when your prose is so wooden it is an insult to furniture. I hope you want to know when your software does not meet spec.
Of course, then it's up to you to do something with that feedback. Sure, you can tear up your canvases, burn your manuscripts, or format your hard drive, but none of those things are constructive. It's up to you to seek out what you can do differently that'll enable you to do better next time.
So, here's your hunting license: If you see anything in my prose that's wrong, feel free to tell me about it. I may not heed your critique, but if I don't it's on my own head.