Judge and Criticize Constructively

368 Judge and Criticize ConstructivelyThere lived a very famous painter in India whose paintings were loved and highly appreciated by everyone. Even the ruler of the estate hounered him and declared his excellence. The painter’s name was Rangacharya which means “the master of colours” in Hindi. That so beloved painter was affectionately named Ranga Guruji and he developed his own, distinct painting style.

Soon he opened a School of Fine Arts where he taught his disciples in ways as odd as his own style.  He didn’t follow any curriculum or whatever. As to his assessment, he declared a student a painter only if he was satisfied with what he saw in front of him. Thus students’ skills were assessed.

Rajeev was one of Ranga’s students. He was a young and very gifted boy who devoted his life to art. He progressed quickly due to his hard work and imagination. In turn, Ranga Guruji was very pleased with him and believed in his skills and talent.

One day Rajeev completed his last work and went to his master who would have to assess it and declare him qualified. Thus the lad would be able to begin his life journey as an artist. When Ranga Guruji had a look at his masterpiece, he said:

Rajeev, I am very satisfied with your hard job and talent. Indeed, you’re a very promising future master. You’re already a painter. But it’s high time you took the final test. We should see how local people will accept and appreciate your art.

Thank you so much, my Master. I am really happy to hear all this. Well, could you tell me  what this final test is and what I am supposed to do?

Bring your last painting to the main town square and put it on display so that all citizens can see it. Then, leave a red pencil near it and write below the painting that you are asking people to point out your mistakes, if any, with a “X” mark on it. This way people will evaluate your work.

Rajeev did exactly what his Master told and advised him. He put his last painting on display in the centre of the square, left that note and the red pencil near it. A couple of days passed and the young, talented artist returned to see what the results were. He was extremely disappointed to find out that his painting had been covered with red “X” marks all over. Immediately, he visited Ranga Guruji to tell him about this. The Master calmed down his student telling him not to be let down, sad and insulted but to go on and make another attempt. The wise painter advised the boy to re-draw the painting and place it for evaluation on the main square again. But this time Rajeev had to ask viewers to find his mistakes and correct them with the help of the Paints and Brushes he would have to leave near the painting. Said and done.

After a couple of days, the lad went back to the main square and was pleasantly surprised to see that there was not a single mistake in his masterpiece. People hadn’t corrected anything in it while the painting materials stayed untouched in one of the corners where he had left them before. Rajeev went to Ranga Guruji’s School running and presented him his brilliant work. The wise Master just smiled at him and said:

My dear boy, you’ve already completed your training and have passed this very last exam.  And what lesson did you learn? If you allow people to be your judges and to criticize you, they will be merciless. They will evaluate you and your job even without knowing anything about painting. Normally, people leave their remarks without any seriousness as well as skills and knowledge to evaluate your work. They just want to judge. That’s why the first painting of yours was covered with so many “X” marks. But when you asked these same people to assess your painting, find your mistakes and correct them with the usage of the painting materials, i.e. when you asked them to criticize you in a constructive way, they simply didn’t dare and stayed away. What’s the conclusion, my dear son? Rajeev, it’s not enough to be only a master but it’s necessary that you have also skills and talent. And self-confidence, of course. Don’t expect from those who don’t possess the necessary skills, to evaluate your job. Your paintings have no value for them. In other words said, you ought not to expect any assessment of your masterpieces from the ignorant.


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