99 Great Quotes That Will Help You Handle Criticism

Nobody likes being criticized. But how you handle it makes all the difference. If you lock up and become defensive, you’re likely to waste a lot of time feeling bad–and repeating the same behavior that was a problem to begin with.

But if you can learn to take it in stride, with some genuine reflection on how you can use it as a basis for improvement, you can come to realize that criticism can actually be a gift.

Here are some quotes to help you think about criticism: giving it, receiving it, and understanding it.

1. “Don’t be distracted by criticism. Remember, the only taste of success some people have is when they take a bite out of you.” —Zig Ziglar

2. “When criticized, consider the source.” —Unknown

3. “If we judge ourselves only by our aspirations and everyone else only by their conduct, we shall soon reach a very false conclusion.” —Calvin Coolidge

4. “The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.” —Elbert Hubbard

5. “We need very strong ears to hear ourselves judged frankly, and because there are few who can endure frank criticism without being stung by it, those who venture to criticize us perform a remarkable act of friendship, for to undertake to wound or offend a man for his own good is to have a healthy love for him.” —Michel de Montaigne

6. “When we speak evil of others, we generally condemn ourselves.” —Publius Syrus

7. “The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.” —Oscar Wilde

8. “He who throws dirt always loses ground.” —Unknown

9. “You’re never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you’re never as bad as they say when you lose.” —Lou Holtz

10. “The dread of criticism is the death of genius.” —William Gilmore Simms

11. “He has a right to criticize who has a heart to help.” —Abraham Lincoln

12. “The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” –Norman Vincent Peale

13. “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” —John Wooden

14. “Most people have been brainwashed into believing that their job is to copyedit the world, not to design it.” –Seth Godin

15. “Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me, and I may be forced to love you.” –Norman Vincent Peale

16. “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” –attributed to Aristotle

17. “A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.” –Will Self

18. “It is a thing of no great difficulty to raise objections against another man’s oration–nay, it is very easy; but to produce a better in its place is a work extremely troublesome.” –Plutarch     

19. “When men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody may believe them.” –Plato

20. “The individual must not merely wait and criticize, he must defend the cause the best he can. The fate of the world will be such as the world deserves.”  –Albert Einstein

21. “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

22. “If we had no faults we should not take so much pleasure in noting those of others.” –François de La Rochefoucauld

23. “Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son. You never walked in that man’s shoes.” –Elvis Presley

24. “Boredom, after all, is a form of criticism.” –Wendell Phillips

25. “It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” –William Lonsdale Watkinson

26. “Every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration. Constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought.” –Margaret Chase Smith

27. “If we are bold enough to point out problems, we must be brave enough to try to solve them.” –Robert Alan Silverstein

28. “If you have no will to change it, you have no right to criticize it.” –Mark Twain

29. “One of the criteria for national leadership should therefore be a talent for understanding, encouraging, and making constructive use of vigorous criticism.” —Carl Sagan

30. “Blame is safer than praise.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

31. “Don’t let compliments get to your head and don’t let criticism get to your heart.”  — Lysa TerKeurst

32. “Criticism is a privilege that you earn–it shouldn’t be your opening move in an interaction.” –Malcolm Gladwell

33. “Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism are all too frequently those who…ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism–the right to criticize, the right to hold unpopular beliefs, the right to protest, the right of independent thought.” –Margaret Chase Smith

34. “Think before you speak is criticism’s motto; speak before you think, creation’s.” –E. M. Forster

35. “Analyses of others are actually expressions of our own needs and values.”
–Marshall Rosenberg

36. “Do what you feel in your heart to be right–for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

37. “Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots.” –Frank A. Clark

38. “Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” –Napoleon Hill

39. “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something sometime in your life.” –Winston Churchill

40. “If your heart acquires strength, you will be able to remove blemishes from others without thinking evil of them.” –Mohandas K. Gandhi

41. “Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults.” –Socrates

42. “One mustn’t criticize other people on grounds where he can’t stand perpendicular himself.” –Mark Twain

43. “My opinions and principles are subjects of just criticism.” –Victoria Woodhull

44. “What distinguishes modern art from the art of other ages is criticism.” –Octavio Paz

45. “Critics sometimes appear to be addressing themselves to works other than those I remember writing.” –Joyce Carol Oates

46. “If someone criticizes you, give them a compliment.” –Debasish Mridha

47. “Learn to see the difference between constructive and destructive criticism.” –Anonymous

48. “Appreciate the constructive; ignore the destructive.” –John Douglas

49. “I have already settled it for myself, so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.” —Georgia O’Keeffe

50. “How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct.” –Benjamin Disraeli

51. “It is usually best to be generous with praise and cautious with criticism.” –Anonymous

52. “Don’t criticize what you can’t understand.” –Bob Dylan

53. “Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn–and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” –Dale Carnegie

54. “But instead of spending our lives running towards our dreams, we are often running away from a fear of failure or a fear of criticism.” –Eric Wright

55. “Criticism is information that will help you grow.” –Hendrie Weisinger

56. “Concern over criticism clogs creativity.” –Duane Alan Hahn

57. “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

58. “Before you go and criticize the younger generation, just remember who raised them.”  –Anonymous

59. “Criticism is an indirect form of self-boasting.” –Emmit Fox

60. “A critic is a legless man who teaches running.” –Channing Pollock

61. “The pleasure we feel in criticizing robs us from being moved by very beautiful things.” –Jean De La Bruyere

62. “A cynic is prematurely disappointed with the future.” –Anonymous

63. “Criticism is the disapproval of people, not for having faults, but having faults different from your own.” –Anonymous

64. “Any jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build it.” –Sam Rayburn

65. “There is no defense against criticism except obscurity.” –Joseph Addison

66. “All my life, people have said that I wasn’t going to make it.” –Ted Turner

67. “You are a glorious, shining sword and criticism is the whetstone. Do not run from the whetstone or you will become dull and useless. Stay sharp.” –Duane Alan Hahn

68. “The artist doesn’t have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews. The ones who want to write don’t have the time to read reviews.” –William Faulkner

69. “When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical.” –Anonymous

70. “I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.” –Charles Schwab

71. “The most noble criticism is that in which the critic is not the antagonist so much as the rival of the author.” –Isaac Disraeli

72. “Pretty words are not always true, and true words are not always pretty.” –Aiki Flinthart

73. “Sandwich criticism between two layers of praise.” –Mary Kay Ash

74. “Remember: When people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.” –Neil Gaiman

75. “It’s simpler and easier to flatter people than to praise them.” –Jean Paul Richter

76. “It is much more valuable to look for the strength in others. You can gain nothing by criticizing their imperfections.” –Daisaku Ikeda

77. “Don’t mind criticism. If it is untrue, disregard it; if unfair, keep from irritation; if it is ignorant, smile; if it is justified, it is not criticism, learn from it.” –Anonymous

78. “The person who offends writes as if it was written on sand, and the person who is offended reads it as if it were written on marble.” —Italian proverb

79. “Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, when you do criticize him, you’ll be a mile away and have his shoes.” –Anonymous

80. “Having a sharp tongue will cut your throat.” –Anonymous

81. “As much as we thirst for approval we dread condemnation.” –Hans Selye

82. “Never retract, never explain, never apologize; get things done and let them howl.” –Nellie McClung

83. “In order to excel, you must be completely dedicated to your chosen sport. You must also be prepared to work hard and be willing to accept constructive criticism. Without 100 percent dedication, you won’t be able to do this.” –Willie Mays

84. “When virtues are pointed out first, flaws seem less insurmountable.” –Judith Martin

85. “I like criticism. It makes you strong.” –LeBron James

86. “If a man isn’t willing to take some risk for his opinions, either his opinions are no good or he’s no good.” –Ezra Pound

87. “It’s too easy to criticize a man when he’s out of favor, and to make him shoulder the blame for everybody else’s mistakes.” –Leo Tolstoy

88. “He only profits from praise who values criticism.” –Heinrich Heine

89. “The price of success is to bear the criticism of envy.” –Denis Waitley

90. “The trite saying that honesty is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy.” –Robert E. Lee

91. “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” –Winston Churchill

92. “The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism.” –Wole Soyinka

93. “Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.” –Franklin P. Jones

94. “Constructive criticism is about finding something good and positive to soften the blow to the real critique of what really went on.” –Paula Abdul

95. “Opinion often consists of a kind of criticism. But criticism can come out of love.” –Robert Frank

96. “Self criticism must be my guide to action, and the first rule for its employment is that in itself it is not a virtue, only a procedure.” –Kingsley Amis

97. “While we would love to have no criticism, probably if we had no critique, we wouldn’t be doing anything meaningful.” –Erwin McManus

98. “Most of the criticism I have received over the years has been very good.” –Van Morrison

99. “People ask for criticism, but they only want praise.” –W. Somerset Maugham


N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R


What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

buy now


Additional Reading you might enjoy:


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Dylan

    01. May, 2019

    The most impressive motto when I finished reading this article is the No.92. Thanks for editor to collect such meaningful & valuable wisdom for readers.

    Reply to this comment
  2. malinda

    27. Dec, 2021

    Nice collection, this is my favorite “Don’t criticize them; they are just what we would be under similar circumstances.”
    – Abraham Lincoln

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply