Articles like this - http://michaelwright.me/critique make me sad because he is discouraged from giving critique, "This is why I, and others I know, are a lot more reluctant to provide critique. "I have followed Michael on various networks for a while now and once you see past his, sometimes, short manner (honest and blunt), you realise that the guy is trying to help you, not make you feel silly. I am the first to admit that when I was starting out, I didn't take criticism very well. As a web professional, your work is constantly on display. That means you have to be ok with receiving comments on it, the good and the bad.
Others are better than you
The "penny-drop" moment for me was realising that there are people that are actually better than you, of course I knew that there were better people out there than me, I'm looking at you Sir Jonny Ive. But, what I mean is, when taking critique it's very easy to jump on the defensive, immediately defending and throwing back comments on why you did things or what something means. Further tips on this: How to take criticism. Sites like Forrst, Dribbble and even Twitter, to an extent, are perfect platforms for people to give feedback, yet some cannot take it. Some posts are even entitled "Please give me feedback on [x]", then they complain when critique is given. Critique is never personal and it is always subjective, remember this. If you find yourself starting out, then there are going to be people that are better than you, if you have been a web person for 10+ years, there are always people that are better than you. Find yourself a small number of people that you consider better than you and target them. Get yourself to their level, then find better people, you'll accelerate your learning so much by constantly having a goal ahead of you. We're all a little bit competitive, right? It helps.
You're still human, right?
Some people fall into the trap of the "god complex" mentality. Believing that, because they have excelled in their field, they can act like they are better than others. These people are still human and were once starting out, just like every one of us. I'm not gonna name names because this isn't a good medium for it, but there are several people on Twitter who follow people because they're a "Big Name" or something. Some are genuinely nice guys and gals and will take the time to help you out or hand out advice. Others...not so much. Move on. You don't need them! (I've subsequently unfollowed a heck load of 'em!)
In conclusion...I know, thank god, right!?
The next time someone gives you critique, listen to them. Ignore people on networks that just "troll", they're not worth the time of day. I'm well aware that there are a lot of people I speak to on a daily basis that are better than me, once I realised this, it helped me vastly and I've gained so much knowledge from them.
If you find yourself in the position where you're getting beginners reaching out to you and asking for help, even if it's a silly question, help them. Don't become one of the elitists mentioned above. You probably asked silly questions when you started out.
If you've found this article preachy and irritating, then I apologise. It's been brewing for a while and I thought I'd just get it out there. Hope it helps some people.
I'm available for hire