Sir Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881), a British politician, novelist, essayist, and twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was speaking before parliament on Tuesday, January 24, 1860, concerning an earlier address by the Queen. In his speech, he made this statement: “It is much easier to be critical than to be correct.
How often have we felt that same impulse to criticize when we hear someone misspeak during a speech, or an athlete make a bad play or a singer forget the lyrics to a well-known song? Our disapproval can either be based on the fact that we don’t like inconsistencies when someone is given such a public stage, or that we are so intent on wanting to see them do it right that we feel disappointed when they fail.
Many times, our response is based on perception rather than facts. Most of us who’ve watched the Olympics know that the judges are very strict, especially in the diving competition and gymnastics. But often, we are informed by a personal story of what those athletes went through to get to where they are. Some overcame severe illnesses, horrible accidents, poor living conditions, or other disadvantages. So often we find ourselves upset when those Olympic judges ignore such facts because they are always looking for perfection.
So the next time you feel the compulsion to speak out against what someone said or did that you think was wrong, first get the facts. You may learn that they were trying to do their best, not being their worst. And always keep this in mind: Just as you are watching them, they are watching you. So if you want them to be understanding when you make a mistake, try to be as equally understanding when they make an error. – Dr. Robert R Seyda