I’ve never responded particularly well to criticism. I tend to have an instant reaction and lash out at the person providing the critique with words that I regret. It’s something that I’m aware of and have to guard against constantly.
But it seems that I never handle it as well as I should. Call it a character flaw (among many).
Anyway, I saw this clip of Steve Jobs responding to an insulting question from an audience member at a 1997 developers conference. The guy wanted to show that Jobs didn’t know what he was talking about as far as software programming, along with a second question on what he had been doing the past seven years.
Jobs’ response blows me away. Instead of becoming angry and hurling an insult back at the guy (as I almost certainly would have), he sat and thought for several seconds. You can see that the wheels are turning as he formulates his answer and responds initially with a cliche about pleasing some of the people some of the time. His long answer actually provided insight into why Apple developed products as it did.
Finally, he responds directly to the insult by admitting that he sometimes doesn’t know what he’s talking about and that mistakes will be made. At least someone is making some decisions for the company, he told the audience.
Jobs’ response seems heartfelt and honest. It’s something I hope I can emulate in the future.
I invite you to click on the video and watch Jobs respond to the insult. I hope you find it as inspiring as I do.