Given to making or expressing unfavorable judgments; apt to notice and make much of trivial faults or defects; faultfinding; difficult to please. Overly critical: tending to find fault and make trivial, excessive criticisms; marked by an often ill-natured inclination to stress faults and raise objection.
What makes people hyper-critical?
In work situations, it may be a genuine desire to improve the process, raise quality standards, striving for perfection in order to achieve excellence. Yet there may be deeper factors at play as well, particularly in social or personal interactions. “The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves,” by Stephen Grosz, a practicing psychoanlyst, sheds some light on a possible source of captious behavior:
“I wasn’t aware that I felt people were fundamentally fault finding. I didn’t know my idea of a person is someone who wants to scold me. I just thought people were that way but it turns out I was wrong…..if you are frightened of being criticized you are probably pretty critical. It turns out when I’m not finding fault with myself, I keep busy reproaching others.” p. 172
Our world view, our fears, the stories we tell ourselves, the way we interpret the actions of others: these all powerfully impact our emotions, our energy, and in turn our behavior, creating a feedback loop with powerful self fulfilling prophecy aspects. Be careful what you ‘see’, strive to be fully self aware, to live the examined life, to allow yourself and your ideas and interpretations to be open to challenge and question. “There are none so blind as those that will not see.” — Matthew Henry; 1662-1714
“You are much more successful coming in and finding out what’s going right and nurturing that.” — Meg Whitman; 1956–, president and CEO Hewlett-Packard
“Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” — Frank A. Clark; 1911–1991, writer and cartoonist
“Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain—and most fools do.” — Dale Carnegie; 1888–1955, lecturer and author