Not too long ago, my wife and I got into a little argument sparked by some untimely feedback I provided in a somewhat non-constructive manner (sorry again, hun!). It doesn't matter what that feedback was, but I thought about it in the context of who we get feedback and performance reviews from in our LIVES, outside of the workplace. Some people may never get constructive, wholehearted feedback from anyone close enough to be completely honest with them with the utmost and sincere intentions, which is what I hope I'm able to provide my wife. Some people may also never take a few moments to assess themselves and provide this same sort of feedback with the same loving intentions. Not criticizing feedback... but constructive. Advice, insight, and observations about oneself that will help them to GROW!
In my recent years of contemplation, I've come to the conclusion that growth is one of the key meanings to life. Not just of human life, but to all life in general. Most every being is constantly growing. We, as humans, not only grow physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. In order to continue to do so, we must assess where we are and find ways to learn, improve, progress, and evolve. Self assessment can sometimes be difficult, since have the bias of the ego, so feedback from a reliable source is essential.
But a key to growth from this feedback back from others is the ability to accept the feedback. A simple example of this, that an be applied to life, is an art class where the teacher and students must provide critiques. There are those who might take feedback the wrong way. They may take it as criticism or hating or whatever it might be. They might think their work is the shit! They might not be ready to grow at all, so this feedback could go in one ear and out the other. In order to grow, you have to be able to take the lumps and be willing to learn from them.
We all grow at our own rates and are on our own paths. If you think about the people in your lives, you can probably think of teenagers who are much more mature than you are now or were at their age. On the flip side, you can also probably think of elders who are on much different paths or journeys. It is important to not judge or compare your path to others, since each person's journey is their own. The key is to concentrate on your path and strive to continue growing and improving yourself. And if you just so happen to have the ability and opportunity to help others along the way, then do so in a loving and constructive manner.
A few questions to consider, if I've got you considering...
- Who gives you feedback?
- Is this person a trustworthy source?
- How well do they know you?
- Is their feedback constructive?
- Ego? Pride? Independence?
- Don't need it?!
- Where or how do you think you could grow and who is best for that feedback?
- Is your feedback positive and constructive?
- Do you take offense?
- Do you hear it?
- Do you follow it?
- Do you change?
- Do you grow?
For the record, I personally enjoy providing constructive feedback, when asked. I've also learned to try not to give feedback or advice when NOT asked. In a way, this blog entry can be considered unsolicited advice, but it's my blog! I'm just capturing and sharing thoughts with those bored enough to read it. If you take offense, you couldn've surfed away a long time ago. Or perhaps you take offense as a defense mechanism and you're actually in need of some constructive feedback and have some room for growth.
We all do.
And on that note, I'd love to hear more feedback about myself. Tear apart my art! Tell me I don't know what the hell I'm talking about and or where I can improve. I'm working on myself all the time and an area I'd love to test is my ability to accept feedback from others and grow from it.
One last after thought...one thing I'm also striving for is a PMA all day! Positive Mental Attitude! This blog has mostly been about constructive feedback for growth, which can seem somewhat negative. In my writing of performance reviews, I also made sure to include the positives and also tried to state the seemingly negative in a positive way. "A spoon full of sugar..."
I need to figure out how to end these things better after long rambles.
Thanks for reading.