George Robinson, Jr.: Help From the Critic

 

George Robinson is truly a renaissance man.  He decided to go against the flow and embrace the past with the aim of making it the future.  His insistence on quality and his desire to provide what is needed by the working professional is unique and commendable. 

Mr. Robinson has been kind to Inside Magic and his kindness continues and is exemplified by his guest column today.  What is a true professional?  What are ethics?  How should we solicit and accept and provide criticism?  Mr. Robinson provides his answer that seems applicable to all of us.

Read On . . .

Let’s talk about criticism. There has been a lot of chatter about this on Ring 2100 as well as in your local clubs, etc. Let’s face it, no one likes to be criticized, but it is a necessary evil to growth. The main objection to criticism is that it hurts ones feelings.

Well, get over it! How do you think you were taught as a child? How do you think you teach your own children? You criticize to some extent (yes, I know, you call it ‘teaching’). You try to correct their bad habits, their bad judgments, etc. and why? To make them better people; to prevent them from hurting themselves or others; for a 1000 reasons. In Magic, it’s to protect the Art and to prevent the performer from making a fool of himself.

We all need CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. Now, there is the key word, CONSTRUCTIVE. This does not mean that we criticize to hurt someone, but to help them.

I feel that anyone can offer constructive criticism and you should have the option of accepting it or rejecting it, but you should take it in stride. Consider the source, but at least THINK ABOUT IT. Maybe there is some truth to what you are being told. But here is another key point: you have to be willing to have an open mind. None of us is perfect but we sure seem to think we are. There in lies the rub. Face it, no one is perfect but we should all try to do our best and to help each other as brothers in Magic.

If you are asked for your opinion, give it in a constructive manner and temper it with the person’s good points (assuming he/she has any). And offer your thoughts because you care about the Art of Magic and about your friend or colleague. Don’t do it in a ‘one-upmanship’ type manner to show your superiority, etc. In most cases your not anyway.

On the other side of the coin, if you are being offered constructive criticism, don’t jump all over the ‘messenger’. You may or may not have asked but all input is good input, in one way or the other.

Also, choose the right moment. I remember seeing a good friend’s act a few years ago and for the most part it was pretty good. There were a couple of points I thought I should make (like he exposed two loads during the performance), but this was not the moment. He was riding high because of the applause, venue, etc. and even though he asked me what I thought, he really didn’t want to hear ‘negatives’…

 

George Robinson is truly a renaissance man.  He decided to go against the flow and embrace the past with the aim of making it the future.  His insistence on quality and his desire to provide what is needed by the working professional is unique and commendable. 

Mr. Robinson has been kind to Inside Magic and his kindness continues and is exemplified by his guest column today.  What is a true professional?  What are ethics?  How should we solicit and accept and provide criticism?  Mr. Robinson provides his answer that seems applicable to all of us.

Read On . . .

Let’s talk about criticism. There has been a lot of chatter about this on Ring 2100 as well as in your local clubs, etc. Let’s face it, no one likes to be criticized, but it is a necessary evil to growth. The main objection to criticism is that it hurts ones feelings.

Well, get over it! How do you think you were taught as a child? How do you think you teach your own children? You criticize to some extent (yes, I know, you call it ‘teaching’). You try to correct their bad habits, their bad judgments, etc. and why? To make them better people; to prevent them from hurting themselves or others; for a 1000 reasons. In Magic, it’s to protect the Art and to prevent the performer from making a fool of himself.

We all need CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. Now, there is the key word, CONSTRUCTIVE. This does not mean that we criticize to hurt someone, but to help them.

I feel that anyone can offer constructive criticism and you should have the option of accepting it or rejecting it, but you should take it in stride. Consider the source, but at least THINK ABOUT IT. Maybe there is some truth to what you are being told. But here is another key point: you have to be willing to have an open mind. None of us is perfect but we sure seem to think we are. There in lies the rub. Face it, no one is perfect but we should all try to do our best and to help each other as brothers in Magic.

If you are asked for your opinion, give it in a constructive manner and temper it with the person’s good points (assuming he/she has any). And offer your thoughts because you care about the Art of Magic and about your friend or colleague. Don’t do it in a ‘one-upmanship’ type manner to show your superiority, etc. In most cases your not anyway.

On the other side of the coin, if you are being offered constructive criticism, don’t jump all over the ‘messenger’. You may or may not have asked but all input is good input, in one way or the other.

Also, choose the right moment. I remember seeing a good friend’s act a few years ago and for the most part it was pretty good. There were a couple of points I thought I should make (like he exposed two loads during the performance), but this was not the moment. He was riding high because of the applause, venue, etc. and even though he asked me what I thought, he really didn’t want to hear ‘negatives’ right then and there. I should have realized this but didn’t and he thought I was raining on his parade or being jealous.

My comments fell on deaf ears and more importantly, I caused a slight rift in our friendship. Yes, he should have known I was only trying to help, but my timing was wrong. This is something we should all take into consideration as well.

I for one, really like good criticism as it only serves to make me want to do better, to produce a better product, etc. I take all the good comments and all the bad comments and go over each until I decide if they are warranted and act upon them accordingly. Sometimes good comments are revealing as well. These tell you you are going in the right direction and that your efforts are appreciated. We need these as well; we all do.

Another thing that is tearing up friendships and relationships is ‘political correctness’. This can be taken to an extreme and our actions or reactions and OVER-REACTIONS are causing us great harm. Ease up! Don’t take things so seriously. Consider the source and consider the ‘real’ importance as it compares to the real problems in the world. If you are a friend to another, be a friend and don’t let something like words destroy that.

Two powerful words, said in earnest, should mend most fences…. “I’m sorry.” And if they don’t, you may not have had a real true relationship after all and if that’s the case, let it go. Some of our worst demons are those we impose and bring into our lives ourselves. Being a friend is sharing in another’s joys as well as sadness. It is understanding; it is forgiveness and it is acceptance. Accepting and giving criticism is part of life.

So, jump into the real world and don’t be so sensitive. Look at the 8oz. glass which only has 4oz. of liquid as a glass half full, not half empty. Believe that for the most part, your comrades are trying to help you with their suggestions and accept them gracefully and with tact. Whether you choose to use or heed their advice is up to you, but give it a chance. It really won’t hurt you. by the same token, if you are in the habit of offering criticism, be kind when doing so and do it for the right reasons… because you care.

Until next time. Peace to all.

Blessed Be! George R.

George Robinson Jr.
george@vikingmagic.com

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