Vidushi Nagarajan's SAT Essay. It got an 11!!

Essay prompt :Although most of us do not like being criticized, it is said that we can
always benefit from being told what we are doing wrong. We may lose a 
valuable learning opportunity if we do not listen to the criticisms 
expressed by others. Yet criticism, even when honest and well-intended, 
can be more harmful than helpful. We have more to gain by ignoring or 
shielding ourselves from the criticisms of others.


To be criticized is to be bettered. This is my personal belief. One can never know all of one's mistakes. Along life, at some point or the other guidance is required. I strongly believe that those who care about us enough to tell us where we are wrong provide us with constructive telling us how we can improve ourselves; they increase our potential to do better in life.

During the summer holidays in the year 2009, my parents often used to tell me that I don't work enough. They kept telling me that I had become complacent, satisfied with my mediocre achievements. At times, their criticism would hurt. But they were right, as my board exams were just around the corner at that point. For a few weeks, I had adopted a rebellious attitude. I did the exact opposite of whatever i was told. But one day, when involved a practice paper and did horrifically in it, I realized that my parents were right. They had always been right. They criticized me every day, but they only did so for my good. They wanted me to do the best that I possibly could. At first I shielded myself from the criticism, but soon I began to realize that there were problems with my attitude. Since then, I began to adopt a different approach to my work. I began to work diligently, day after day in the pursuit of my goals. With their criticism, which was actually a form of guidance, I began to achieve more. My teachers criticized me, there were points when they felt I was slackening, but their criticism showed me that they never gave up on me all through. They got me through the hardest phase in my life because of their criticism. Sure enough, I got a ninety three per cent in those exams. If they had never told me I had gone wrong, I would never have been able to improvise on those mistakes and rectify them. This was only one example. Another example where criticism worked wonders was in the case of the great Indian cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar.

Since he was a child, Sachin Tendulkar's coach criticized him. Though it was honest and well-intended, his coach's remarks often hurt and discouraged him. Every great achievement of his, as perceived by him was belittled by his coach. He went through rigorous training with the same coach for years. Today he is the world's top cricketer, thanks to that criticism itself. Each time he was criticized, he felt the need to do better, to outshine himself. And sure enough, the fruits of his labour arrived. He became known worldwide for his talent, hard work and determination. This example too, reflects the positive effects of constant criticism.

Hence, as depicted by the above two examples, criticism if put forth in a constructive manner can bring out the best in a person. We must not shield ourselves from it. By shielding ourselves from it, we are simply hampering chances of our success in the future.