Receiving a bit of feedback yesterday, I initially reacted as most humans do: I tensed up. Luckily, the visceral response lasted only half a second, for I am honing my skill of taking criticism.
It is a skill, and can be trained. Clearly, it does not come naturally to people. We usually respond to criticism with defensiveness and deflection. However, if we dream to ever improve upon something, we need the eyes and ears of others.
It’s analogous to crafting a sculpture: The process may be painful and arduous, but it’s the only way to shape a masterpiece.
I’m aware that giving criticism is a different skill entirely; not all notes are given with grace or are well-articulated. Plus, not all critics’ words carry the same weight. But for the sake of this post, let’s focus on one’s ability to allow criticism to improve their skills rather than destroy their egos.
Before responding to feedback, I ask myself these three things:
1) Does the critic want me to improve?
2) Have I received this same feedback more than once?
3) How focused am I on my ego right now?
If the answers are yes, yes, and a lot, then it scarcely matters how they’re delivering it…I do my best to apply the feedback.
This is heavily simplified (self-criticism), I’m aware; But developing our skill of taking criticism allows us to be grossly more efficient and sufficient at whatever it is we’re working on.