(004) – Praise, Never Criticize (Arab Mentality)


Few weeks ago, I commented on a friend’s post saying that it’s sometimes shameful to say you’re an Arab. He showed disagreement and was really pissed off about my opinion. Honestly, that made me feel sort of diffident, I’ve never said this to a friend and got the same reaction so I had to try to prove it with at least one clear evidence.

 Days passed and the proofs are increasing, if you walk in the streets of Amman (the capital of Jordan), you’d know what I certainly meant by SHAME. Anyway, my brother was fired from his work around 3 months ago because he’s a good employee and always on time with everything, yet, he didn’t take his last two salaries. Today, we went to the company to see what the last updates are and when he’ll get paid.

This company’s got a very bad reputation, they never sign contracts, you don’t get paid for overtime, late salaries and many other problems with management regardless of the fact they make lots of money. We mentioned that on the social networks where people are supposed to say whatever they feel like, I mean it’s a free space to express your opinion either it’s positive or negative. In other words, this is what we know about the company; there will probably be other individuals who have another opinion because simply everyone is entitled to an opinion dear folks.

Funnily enough, we met one of the managers today who saw our comments about the company, he was upset and frustrated, and didn’t talk much. He gave us another postponed date to get the money. Adding insult to the injury, he indirectly admitted that it was wrong to criticize the company in public.

I think this little story that was greatly exaggerated by the company is crystal clear evidence about the shame I feel like to be an Arab. We never accept criticism. Criticism exists to help us improve and pay attention to the details and small issues we don’t know about our business or maybe our behavior as individuals. Criticism is found to let us know more about how to develop our policies and serve others efficiently. In Toastmasters, I was taught how to accept my faults and deal with them. After every speech, you get judged by another professional fellow who knows more than you do. He is not necessarily older, sometimes, they are younger guys who judge you but they sure do have experience. However, since you want to improve, you should be willing to accept your faults and work on them. Forget it about who says the comment, focus on the comment itself and work hard to exchange it with a better positive one.

Our problem as Arabs is that we never accept criticism; we always take it personal especially if it comes from the younger generation. I know people who lost fortunes because they didn’t want to listen to younger guys, they assume they know everything and we are nothing but day-dreamers. Every time has its people; your old policy doesn’t work out anymore it’s time to update your level of thinking and change the whole box instead of just thinking out the box.

On the other hand, those who always compliment and mention the good points even if it’s all mere lies end up on the good side with the decision makers and responsible people. I wonder how you can approach a liar; it’s a big mess in here!

Usually, I find it a bit difficult to ask someone who’s younger but I’ve devoted myself to keep improving and learning. Everyone in this world has at least one new thing to teach me. You definitely want your business to expand, open up other branches and give franchises, that’ll need new ideas and thoughts to be done, that’ll need criticism because it’s another way of learning. And remember, the moment we stop learning, we stop growing.

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12 thoughts on “(004) – Praise, Never Criticize (Arab Mentality)

  1. 22 Arab countries population 320 million ,they own 1/3 of world wealth yet 80% of the Arab live below the poverty line .Millions of Arabs Have no place to sleep especially in Egypt they live in the cemeteries,Each Arab Sheik have 20 Palaces.The Arab Spend 2 billions dollars every year on human trafficking.The Arab lost 3 wars with Israel(6 million population) .The royal families own 400 billion in European Banks.$5 thousand American soldiers protecting the Gulf States.The Arab hate each other and they don;t trust each other.They love appearances and falseness..The Arab League is a tragedy can’t stop the blood shed in Syria.Once the Arab build an Empire now they are divided tribes. Come to Las Vegas the Arab Sheiks throw away million on gambling.

    • Tell me about it Mr. Jalal!!! I have no idea why we got to this point. We have such a great history full of achievements and triumphs but the last two generations have devastated everything. Today, it’s pretty impossible to have a normal life in any Arab country, corruption is breaking new records everyday and the situation is generally speaking unbearable! Greed and selfishness is what killing us. I hope we can walkover this dilemma soon, Amen!

      Thank you for the astonishing comment, it’s sad but true. Have a nice day. 🙂

  2. The sad truth is that your words about the Arab World ring true right around the globe. Back in my home country, USA, four hundred people own more wealth than the 99% combined. Millions sleep in the streets while 400 live like kings. The government is completely owned by corporations and has no sympathy for the poor working man who only wants to feed and house his family.I see it here and I saw it back home. The world has reached a sorry state and I’m not hopeful that it will ever improve before the end of days.

    • It will improve if only we became true and honest. If only we give up on our greed, selfishness and egos. History is full of similar stories and you know better than me, they wanted the change so bad so they got it.

      Thanks for your comment dear Jim, I appreciate your support. 🙂

  3. My ex grew up in Libya. I think, perhaps, this explains why we often had such a difficult time communicating. Points of contention or even a difference of opinion were seen as personal insults. EVERYTHING was personal.

    To be fair, though, this mentality is not reserved for those of Arab ethnicity. I’ve seen plenty of Americans with a similar attitude. Also, one has to be very, very careful w/social networking. It isn’t fair, but companies can and do monitor.

    • Honestly, I haven’t dealt with Libyan people in my life but it’s said they have a Bedouin lifestyle which makes it harder for you. Besides, there’s a big difference between your cultures, so I think I know how it felt to be with him.
      I believe there are Americans with this mentality but here in my country it’s a majority. Everybody admits there’s corruption but it’s people themselves who are corrupt, briefly. Change begins from the inside, corruption will not be solved through uprisings and bloodshed, it needs true people.

      Thanks for your comment dear, I’d like to hear more on other posts, I need your support. Have a great day. 🙂

  4. I think the best way to criticise without causing hurt and resentment is to temper it with some praise.Point out the positive as well as the negative. People who are doing their best will not be hurt if you show you’ve seen the things they do well.
    One of the problems I see is that the fundamentalists shake people up too hate but do little to improve their lot. That goes for all Countries and Cultures.We need honest Government to start building care from ground level. Only then will the poor believe we care and start working with us to change things.
    I hope your brother gets his money.

    • I agree with you Mr. David, the positive should be mentioned as well as the negative. I was taught that you shouldn’t use the word “bad points”, it’s somehow hurtful and not acceptable even if it’s well-intended. We can use “points to improve” for example and to be honest, I tend to second on the good points I see, sometimes I actually over compliment others, so they don’t get me wrong and accept what’s next.

      But, to prove that this policy doesn’t work here with Arabs, we’ve been to the company again today, we met the boss and he rudely after 5 months of delaying told my brother that his work is not completed yet, so he won’t get paid for anything. It’s such a useless and well-played excuse, my brother sent all his work on the email and finished everything before he was fired, they just don’t want to give him the money because he said the truth, because they are a company and above the employees, nothing less nothing more.

      We need honesty and loyalty in our daily life, otherwise, things will keep going for the worse.

      Thanks for your nice comment, I really appreciate your time and effort. I’d like to hear more on other posts.

      Have a great week. 🙂

  5. You’ve raised a very interesting issue. To begin with, it’s very difficult to for us to change our own characteristics. Usually it takes years. It’s such a slow process, that many give up after a while, thinking there’s no progress at all. But if we really want to, we can see changes after a while. But that only works if we are really committed to change. In a way, a society as a whole is like much like a person. It has to want change in order to accomplish it. I agree with you, that criticism is a powerful learning tool. But there has to be love and trust between people, before they’re willing to accept criticism. And there has to be a common language. That is, the person who is getting the criticism has to understand the intention of the critic. If he doesn’t understand, he will feel as if he’s being attacked. I believe that when we want to influence the mood or the mentality of the society we live in, we have to begin with those closest to us… and of course with ourselves as well. We have to show our love for our fellow man, learn to speak in a way that will be understood, and to build trust. All of that while remaining loyal to the truth. I admire your bravery, and agree with your distaste for lying and flattery. But the work is hard. My best wishes to you.

    • Actually your comment leads me to another debatable point which is selfishness and hatred we have for each other, and i’m talking about my society in particular. Faith is not true until you wish your fellows the same thing you wish for yourself, we are all supposed to be brothers and sisters, we all have to grow up together and feel supported and loved by each other. That’s very rare here, people just don’t like each other, they don’t seem to care about anybody but themselves. It even got to a point where you might get enemies from your house, your family and relatives, they don’t want you to be successful or dependent. The worse your situation is, the happier they feel.. It sounds unbelievable but it’s factual.

      Moreover, I loved how you likened the society to a person. yes, it takes time and effort to change and it needs a real intention to change. Many or most of us think it’s not working at the time it’s almost done which reminds me PATIENCE.

      Thank you very much Mr. Shimonz for your kind words, I really appreciate it when a blogger like you comment on my posts. 🙂

      By the way, I agree with you that a blogger should show up with his real character but it’s more about your thoughts than your picture or sex.

      Have a great day.

  6. Criticism is difficult to take, and yes we can all be too sensitive, but it does depend on how a person giving the criticism handles it as well. I was a member of Toastmasters and they were very good. Everyone expects to be criticized to improve, but along with it they are also praised for what they do well there is no belittling.

    • Let me begin with apologizing for my so long reply but I was going through a rough patch and couldn’t put two words together, that’s why I stopped blogging and even replying to comments lately.

      I like that you were a member of Toastmasters, I was too. It’s one of the best things ever happened to me, I know what exactly you are talking about. I wish I can join a good club in my country again but presidents here have what I call “Arab Mentality” if you’re not with them, you’re against them. You can’t just stand out and speak freely without getting “judged” and not corrected.

      Criticism should have a way. If you really want to help others, you should know how to or you better keep silent, I think, because it’d likely have worse results.

      Thanks for commenting and have a nice weekend dear. 🙂

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