Criticism, Sock it to me!

by Patrick Liew on August 20, 2019

Criticism, Sock it to me!

When I was in primary school – which was only a few years ago 🙂 – there was a moment that I dreaded during class hours.

I would give anything to escape from the experience.

Unfortunately, I can’t. And that experience happened very often during those days.

It would begin with a nurse walking into my classroom.

She would pass a card to my teacher.

Then the teacher would announce in front of the whole class, “Patrick Liew, please go to the dental office now.”

I hate that moment.

Even as I am writing about it, I can feel the anxiety running through me.

For some reasons, I got to see the dental nurse more often than most students.

It was probably because my teeth was not kept in the best condition.

Looking back today, I am grateful for having a professional to help me look after my teeth.

The only problem was that our school’s dental nurse was well known to be a not-so-friendly person.

She had a legendary temper too.

In fact, during one of the appointments, she told me in anger, “Boy, before you reach 40 years old, you will be “bo gay” (toothless).”

Those words frightened me to the core even though I have never ever seen a “bo gay” person until that moment.

I was stretching my rich imagination and visualising myself becoming an ugly and scary toothless person.

All the girls were running away from me, and people were laughing behind my back.

It must have been from that encounter with the dental nurse that I started to conscientiously look after my teeth.

Growing up, I was well known to bring a toothbrush to school.

It went on right through my working life.

I am proud to share that I brush my teeth more than once per day and usually after every meal.

You can tell from my photo which I took almost 20 years ago that I have barely crossed 40 years of age. 🙂

The good news is I still have a nice set of teeth.

It is still strong enough to tear off the flesh of anybody who dare to laugh behind my back.

Jokes aside, thank you Ms Dental Nurse!

Your criticism was not spoken in the most appropriate way.

Nonetheless, it has made both my teeth and me stronger to handle other challenges in life.

That was not the first and nor was it the last time I have been criticized.

Looking back, some of these criticisms have turned out to be important lessons and the start of many turning point in my life.

As I reflected about criticism, I realised criticism – like any negative experience – will come to pass.

However, we should never allow its meaning, purpose and significance to be lost in time.

Whether you are on the right or wrong track, there will always be criticism.

In fact, if you have no criticism, chances are you are not on the success track.

The amount of criticism is proportionate to the level of your success.

In other words, the more successful you are, the more criticism you will get.

The only way not to have criticism is to say or do absolutely nothing.

The other alternative is to learn how to manage criticism effectively.

Moreover, it is better to learn how to handle criticism as early as possible in your life.

Continue to improve your criticism-handling skills because criticism will become stronger as you become more successful.

A word of caution:

Don’t let the praises of others trip you in life.

Neither should you allow criticism to grip you and prevent you from moving forward.

Don’t let criticism imprison you.

Criticism is a lesson in life and not a life sentence.

However, learn to differentiate positive criticism from negative criticism.

One is constructive while the other is destructive.

Negative criticism can damage and destroy you while positive ones can educate and enlighten you.

Learn to humble yourself and accept positive criticisms.

If you are not open to criticism, you have closed the door to success.

Take it objectively and not personally.

You have essentially two choices:

1. Allow criticism to shape or destroy you.

2. Make criticism a valuable input to improve your game and strengthen you.

I have always said, if you are wrong, the best thing others can do for you is to tell you that you are wrong. It is a necessity to reach a higher level in life.

On the other hand, learn to prevent negative criticisms from taking toxic root in your heart and mind.

The road to success is filled with cemeteries to bury and forget negative criticisms.

When people throw stones at you, use them to build highways to help yourself and others travel farther and faster in life.

Learn from criticisms but don’t let them stand in your way of progress.

For a similar posting, please go to


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please ‘Like’ me on

Please visit my website,

Follow me on:

Visit my Inspiration blog at

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at

Let’s connect on
– via @patrickliewsg

https: //
– via @patrickliew77

My LinkedIn

My Quora

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


Powered by Facebook Comments

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: