Criticism, Sock it to me!

When I was in primary school – which was only a few years ago 🙂 – there was a moment that I dreaded during class hours. I would give anything to escape from it.

Unfortunately, I can’t. And that moment happened very often during those days.

It would begin with a nurse walking into my classroom. She would pass a card to my teacher.

Then the teacher would announce in front of the whole class, “Patrick Liew, please go to the dental office now.”

I hate that moment. Even as I am writing about it, I can feel the anxiety running through me.

For some reasons, I got to see the dental nurse more often than most students. It was probably because my teeth was not kept in the best condition.

Looking back today, I am grateful for having a professional to help me look after my teeth.

The only problem was that our school’s dental nurse was well known to be a not-so-friendly person. She had a legendary temper too.

In fact, during one of the appointments, she told me in anger, “Boy, before you reach 40 years old, you will be ‘bo gay’ (toothless).”

Those words frightened me to the core even though I have never ever seen a ‘bo gay’ person until that moment.

I was stretching my rich imagination and visualising myself becoming an ugly and scary toothless person. All the girls were running away from me and people were laughing behind my back.

It must have been from that moment that I started to conscientiously look after my teeth.

Growing up, I was well known to bring a toothbrush to school. It went on right through my working life.

I am proud to share that I brush my teeth more than once per day and usually after every meal.

You can tell from my photo which I took almost 20 years ago that I have barely crossed 40 years of age. 🙂

The good news is I still have a nice set of teeth. It is still strong enough to tear off the flesh of anybody who dare to laugh behind my back.

Jokes aside, thank you Mr Dentist.

Your criticism was not spoken in the most appropriate way. Nonetheless, it has made both my teeth and me stronger to handle other challenges in life.

That was not the first nor the last time I have been criticized. Looking back, some of these criticism have turned out to be important lessons and the start of many turning point in my life.

As I reflected about criticism, I realised it, too, will come to pass. However, we should never allow its meaning, purpose and significance to be lost in time.

Whether we are on the right or wrong track, there will always be criticism. In fact, if we have no criticism, chances are we are not on the success track.

The amount of criticism is proportionate to the level of our success. In other words, the more successful we are, the more criticism we will get.

The only way not to have criticism is to say or do absolutely nothing. The other alternative is to learn how to manage it effectively.

Moreover, it is better to learn how to handle criticism as early as possible in your life. Continue to improve your skills because it will become stronger as you become more successful.

A word of caution: Don’t let the praises of others trip you in life. Neither should you allow criticism to grip you and prevent you from moving forward.

Learn to differentiate positive criticism from negative criticism. One is constructive while the other is destructive.

Negative criticism will damage and destroy you while positive ones will educate and enlighten you.

Learn to humble yourself and accept positive criticism. If you are not open to criticism, you have closed the door to success.

Take it objectively and not personally. You have essentially three choices: you can allow it to shape or destroy you. You can let it strengthen you and become a valuable input to improve your game.

I have always said, if I am wrong, the best thing others can do for me is to tell me that I am wrong. It is a necessity to reach a higher level in life.

On the other hand, learn to prevent negative criticism from taking toxic roots in your heart and mind. The road to success is filled with cemeteries to bury and forget them.

When people throw stones at you, use them to build highways to help yourself and others travel farther and faster in life. Learn from them but don’t let them stand in your way of progress.

For a similar posting, please go to


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at

Please visit my website,

Please read my reflections and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


About Patrick Liew
About Patrick Liew Patrick Liew MBA, MSc, BSc is the Managing Partner of Global Enterprise Exchange Pte. Ltd.. He is also the founder and director of Success Resources, arguably the world’s largest personal development seminar organiser and a major shareholder of a company, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. He was previously the Executive Chairman and CEO of HSR Global Ltd., a publicly listed company on SGX-ST. Previously, he was the regional director of the Gartner Group, providing strategic advisory and planning services to governments, banks and MNCs. He was also the regional head of sales and marketing operation for Dow Jones Telerate. Patrick graduated with a BSc in Estate Management from Heriot Watt University, an MSc with emphasis in global business and marketing from The City University Of New York, and an MBA from Henley Business School / Brunel University. He has also earned more than nine other professional qualifications. Patrick is arguably the first person to develop a multimedia e-learning programme on entrepreneurship. He authored a Chinese book on business systems and was also the co-author of a Times Bookshop best-selling book. Patrick has conducted both ‘brick and mortar’ and online lessons for participants from more than 60 countries. He has also conducted keynote presentations in many international conferences, including being the first Singaporean to teach at the National Association of Realtors. Through his team at Success Resources, Patrick has organised educational conferences for prominent leaders such as President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Michael Porter, Richard Branson, Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, and many other prominent leaders. Patrick provides leadership and advisory services to many professional and charity organisations. He is actively involved in supporting humanitarian, philanthropic and charity causes. He has organised three fund-raising events and in the process, help to set three national records in the Singapore Books Of Records. Patrick won the Entrepreneur Of the Year Award For Social Contribution, the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award, and six other business awards. Patrick believes the best way to live your life is to live your life for others. The more you reach out to bless other lives, the richer and better your life will become. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Personal Note to my Friends The articles that I post online; or what I term as Love Notes, are written with the purpose of inspiring readers to live at a higher plane in life. They are also meant to motivate those who are struggling in life and help them find handlers to overcome their conflicts and challenges. It is my ardent hope that we will form networks and alliances of like-minded people who will put to right many of the wrongs in our midst. Together, we will leverage on each other's resources and create a synergistic impact in making our world a better home. These articles are written as part of regular reflection about the vicissitudes of life. They are at best work in progress and at worst, grumblings, grouses, and gripings of a finite old man. I have deliberately decided NOT to delete many of the articles and pointers that I may not agree with or are outrightly wrong. This is to keep a record of how my personal ideas, beliefs, and values have evolved over time. In addition, I hope to encourage readers by letting them know that I also make mistakes and am struggling with many of the complexity and complication in life. As long as we hang on to hope and work on finding a solution, there will be light at the end of whatever tunnel we are in. I do not pretend to know everything or for that matter, anything of substance. In fact, the more I study, learn, and think about the vast wisdom and knowledge out there, the more I realised how little I know about life and the ways of life. Hence, I have always ended my article by asking readers to continue to teach me. For I, too, am a sojourner in the exploration of truth and the adventure of finding meaning, purpose, and significance for my existence. I am proud of and make no apology for being a Christian, albeit not the most exemplary one. I believe our Creator can lead and guide us to be the best that we can ever be. I bear full responsibility for the shortcoming and error in my life, including my words. The fault is entirely mine and not due to anyone else. Readers have and can exercise the power of choice. They can discard what will not work for them and adopt those that can propel them further and faster in the pursuit of better performance, outcomes, and fulfillment. If I have disappointed or hurt you in any way, form, or manner, I would like to apologise to you. Please do not hold them against me or whoever or whatever is related to me. There are much to pray about, learn, and do. And I'll work on them with a sense of urgency. I hold on to the belief that 'Anything worth doing is worth doing with passion and excellence'. I'll endeavour to live by it. Life is short. There's no dress rehearsal and neither can we turn back the clock to change the drama of life. Therefore, by the grace and power of our Creator, let's live a full life and live it to the fullest. May God bless you abundantly on the journey of life. Your online servant, Patrick Liew I hope this message will find a place in your heart. By the way, I have also recorded other reflections. Please 'Like' me on Visit my Inspiration blog at For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at Please visit my website, Please read my reflection and continue to teach me. Life is FUNtastic!

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