"Put a rivet in it!"

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver… and a soft tongue can break bones.” (Proverbs 25:11, 15)
The managing editor of a thriving newspaper wheeled around in her chair and paged her secretary. When the secretary entered, the editor said, “Here are several suggestions from disgruntled readers about how to run a newspaper. Please see that they are all carried out.”
The secretary obligingly gathered up all the letters from the editor’s desk, put them in a wastebasket….. and carried them out.
That’s one way of dealing with criticism. And there are clearly times when we are subjected to criticism that is so unfair and so harsh, there is nothing else we can do. Carry it out.
When we judge or criticize another person, it usually says more about us than it says about the other person. Some people, perhaps because of their own feelings of inferiority, seem to have a need to cut others down. And most of the time, the complaints we verbalize about others do very little to make our world a better place. After all, none of us like to be criticized. How many times have you made disparaging remarks to, or about, someone else and had them respond by saying, “Thank you so much for pointing out my flaws. I really appreciate it?” Before you point out somebody else’s inadequacies, consider how you feel when someone has done that to you. You can’t control what others say about you, but you can certainly control what you say about others.
However, a wise person will try to remember that sometimes, even though criticism may sting at the moment, it may be possible to grow because of it. Around 1865, a grizzled character known as Alkali Ike, who was an old Nevada prospector, stormed into Jake Davis’ tailor shop, and began his usual complaints about the weak pockets on his pants. Davis had fixed the back pockets on Ike’s pants countless times before, and knew that Ike was ripping the seams out by stuffing iron ore samples in them. Nevertheless, rather than point out the absurdity of expecting his pockets to hold up to hauling rocks, Davis took the pants over to the local blacksmith shop. There he asked the blacksmith to rivet each corner of the pockets in place, which the surprised blacksmith did. While Davis intended this partly as a joke, and partly out of frustration with dealing with his impossible customer, he inadvertently stumbled onto a very profitable idea.
Alkali Ike liked the result, and his britches stood up to a lot more abusive wear. As a result, Jake Davis passed his idea along to the manufacturers of the pants Ike was wearing – Levi Strauss. Strauss began putting metal rivets on the back pockets of all his jeans, and when the idea proved to be so popular, he sent Davis a generous check and a thank you for the suggestion.
Next time someone criticizes you, see if you can put a rivet in it.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login