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You Suck, Give up: What to do with Criticism

Today I wanted to write more from my music perspective, rather than my life coaching perspective that I usually do around the subject of criticism.

If anyone has been involved with music, you know that EVERYONE has an opinion on music. So I get TONS of feedback, positive and negative.

If you have read my profile you know I have been recording, performing, producing music for several years. Even though I have a large catalog of music recorded, there are 2 that stand out that I wanted to share stories about. Both are from the album I did with The Krew called "Long Way Home"

The first is called, "What Are You Waiting For" So this one was a fun song to create. I had a good friend who I used to sing with, she and I were practicing for a gig once and she mentioned that she wrote lyrics to a song and wanted me to hear it. She sang it for me and it was a very mellow, but beautiful melody with inspiring words. All around the subject of getting over your fear. I loved the words so much that I asked her if she would be OK with me changing a few words and making it more high energy to match the words message and the result is one of my favorite songs.

When I first heard, "Shine" by Collective Soul, I knew I wanted to write music like that. Now I am not saying that any of my music is that good, only because in my mind that song is amazing, but it is a goal I strive for. My effort with this first song was to create music that lifted someone, that made them want to conquer any problem. I wanted it to be the song that pushed people forward when their own fear was getting in the way or if someone was ever told that they suck... to give motivation.

The second is called, "Set Me Free" This one is one of my favorite stories about a song. About a month before I wrote this song, I had a friend who was very involved in the music industry who told me that I should stop doing music, stop writing, and that my voice was not very good either. In his mind, he was doing me a favor by being so blunt. It was very deflating to say the least. I decided then and there to try my best since I was already in the process of recording an album.

At the same time, a friend who was co-writing with me, went through a bad break up with a girlfriend and was told by her that he was not going anywhere either. So when we got together to write, our feelings around this subject came out in the lyrics. One thing they both told us was that we were not going anywhere, we were going no where fast. So we put that into the lyric of the song, "Rollin on to Nowhere, Set Me Free"

This was the last song we recorded on the album and honestly I did not think that anyone besides the band would like the song. I just did it because it was personal for me and I liked it. The riff I made for it is super easy but rockin... I did not know if anyone else would like it and again.. I thought it was be the least popular song we had.

The album and music went out.. and I waited to see if my friends criticism of my music and me were correct. So I put it out there to several places to find out.

Within 6 months, both of these songs were hand picked by FOX Sports to be played for MLB broadcasts, the album "Long Way Home" was the winner of the Utah Music Awards Best Rock Album, and we have more fans from "Set Me Free" than any other song.

Now I want to make sure it is clear that I have not had success with everything with my music, I have been rejected by far more than I was accepted for song placements. I have been criticized just as much as I have been complimented. What you focus on is up to you.

If you have ever been told you suck, give up.. here is what I would suggest to do.

1. Get feedback from people who you love and from strangers. You want feedback from those that love you because most of the time they will love anything you do and that always feels good. I also have people that I love that give me very blunt feedback that is critical, but I can take it because I know they care for me and want me to be better. After that, ask people who do not know you feedback on whatever project you are doing. Social media is a great place for those who may not know you very well to give you that feedback.

2. ANY feedback, good or bad, its just that.. feedback. Others opinions of you are not fact, they are just another angle to consider. Take feedback, even if it hurts to hear. If it does hurt, ask yourself why does this hurt? Is it ego? Can you take negative criticism without being offended? Listen to the positive feedback and enjoy it. DO NOT LET THE FEEDBACK RULE YOUR EMOTIONAL STATE. Feedback is neutral, the moment you get emotional, positive or negative, is the moment feedback rules your life and your well being.

3. After you hear all the good and bad feedback. Do what you feel is best. Do what you love.. strive to be the best you can.. FOLLOW YOUR GUT. No one else can tell you what is right for you except you. Take the time to really get centered in your own skin and mind. Never back down from it.

You never know where something will lead until you try. Just remember you don't suck and if you do in all actuality suck, you can get better. Just be willing to do the best you can and get better every day.


Jonathan is a certified life, success, and emotional health coach and a MBA Candidate. He is also an award winning singer-songwriter and producer with his songs being featured on FOX Sports, PAC 12 football, and Mood Media.  He is passionate about assisting others in bringing out their passion and greatness.  You can find him at or on Social Media @unleashg

If you want to hear the music that he is speaking about.. PLEASE CLICK HERE and I will send you them for free. Or send me your email in a PM and I will send you some.

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