Let's face it: no one is perfect and we're all unique. Yet we expect that with everything someone else does, it has to be pristine. Sure there is a standard to be held accountable to, but just how high of a standard must we be held to?
Allow me to give you an example from my life. For the past few months I've been working at a microbiology laboratory isolating live bacterial cultures and conducting a series of biochemical tests to determine what bacteria is present in the samples given. If aseptic techniques are not used in extracting the bacteria from the isolated colonies on the plate, contamination is more likely to occur resulting in a series of false positives and negatives for later test results. But what if the extraction method was correct, but the piece of equipment used was still a bit too hot? More than likely the bacteria would die on the piece of equipment, or we could be extremely lucky that it comes out alive and manages to grow again later on. It's difficult to have the perfect extraction technique, but there is a standard that can be followed in order to get successful results of growth and biochemical tests.
What does this have to do with being difficult to please and quick to criticize? More often than not, people forget that, as human beings, we need some margin of error. While this margin of error should not be used as an excuse for our daily mistakes (and should not be something outrageously large), it should still give some sort of allowance in how we go about our work. When we perform certain tasks, especially for others, those observing may say, "Oh that's so easy, I can do it in my sleep." Once something goes wrong, those same observers may say, "How can you be so stupid? That was such an obvious mistake!"
As a writer for the Times, I often become disheartened with comments pointing out some mistakes in the articles, not because the mistakes are there, but because of the way the mistakes are being presented to the team. Mistakes happen, yet people can't seem to forgive that very fact. We ask for people to write their own articles and send them in if they feel they can do a better job, and yet their articles are riddled with just as many mistakes as our own.
As a player moderator for RuneScape, I am often bombarded with questions on how to play the game, i.e. what's the best way to make money, best monster to kill for certain levels, how long did it take to get to certain levels, and so on. When I admit that I cannot answer those questions properly, I am accused of not doing my job. Here are more problems with the difficulty of pleasing other people and receiving quick criticism: misinformation and assumptions. Misinformation can be deadly in real life situations, especially when dealing with unfamiliar situations. What if someone told you hydrochloric acid was harmless because it's already in your body, would you go and drink a bottle of the stuff? I hope not! What about assumptions? Just because someone is hired to do a job doesn't mean they are perfect, only that they are the most qualified. There is a standard of quality they must try to achieve, but there will always be some room for error, the room that most people tend to forget exists.
I ask the observers to put themselves in the shoes of the performer. If you are so brilliant, I'm sure you can spot every single mistake in whatever task was required of the performer. But would you really? You might readily say yes, but that is all because of hindsight. What if I were to ask you to go ahead and perform the work I do every day in the laboratory, to successfully isolate two different types of bacteria and performing the various biochemical tests in order to identify both types of bacteria correctly? Those in the field may be able to do it successfully, with practice, but what about those with limited experience? What if I asked you how long does it take to get from level 1 to 99 RuneCrafting, down to the very last second, when you haven't had any experience in training the skill hardcore at all? Does it give me the right to call you stupid? No.
Think before you criticize. Would you be able to complete the task just as well as the performer?