The difference between a critic and a critical thinker is that the former merely points out flaws in existing conditions while the latter actually advances alternatives.
The role of a critic is essential. Without knowledge of our failings, we can never transform our vulnerabilities into strengths.
But as Isaac Morehouse warned in Criticize by Creating, “If you enjoy venting problems you’ll get better at seeing problems to vent about, but if you don’t discipline yourself you’ll lose sight of solutions.”
Truthfulness, also known as the willingness to “tell it like it is”, is often associated with the courage to be honest about things when they’ve gone wrong.
But this kind of truthfulness can just as easily be a form of cowardice when we use our fault-finding abilities as a way of avoiding the responsibilities and risks that come with creating solutions.
Being truthful involves much more than the ability to detect errors.
Just as it takes guts to criticize, it also takes guts to create.
The next time you feel inclined to “keep it real”, try to remember that solutions and possibilities are as much of a part of reality as anything else.
In other words, keeping it real is simply not possible unless we also keep it creative.