Will it make you. Or will it break you. You've been working tirelessly on that that piece of work for a while now and you can't believe the progress you've made. This could be your best work yet. As you excitedly ask for feedback from friends and family, you realise that their reaction is decisively underwhelming. In fact, you're not even sure if you sent them your work or the breakfast you had this morning. (Perhaps not the family part because we all know nothing could go wrong in mum's eyes). Don't worry, we've all been there and if you haven't maybe you should do a quick wire check just to make sure. We're all going to have to face the hurdles of tough feedback and criticism comes part and parcel with life. Maybe it wasn't exactly what we wanted to hear but here are some of the things that might change the way you see it.
Don't take it personally
You're more than the work you produce. Comments on your work are not attacks on you, they're just little pointers or hints to the right direction. There's always going to be someone who's better at something than you, but you're unique and how you're going to use that is going to make all the difference.
Build up that resilience
They say that if you've never faced hardship, you'll never truly know what you're capable of. There are going to be people that like what you do and people that don't. All you need to do is use each failure to build to success, knowing that it's only a temporary set back. Especially when you're first starting in something completely new, you can't expect everything you produce to be perfect. So dig in, grit your teeth and most importantly don't give up on your first couple of tries. Disciplined and focused approach can only bring about something better
When we think that what we've done is good, it's easy to become emotionally attached to it. Somehow this might be the magnus opus, the thing that's going to loved by all. That's just not the case. A growth mindset means constant improvement. Carefully considering the opinions of others not only improves your empathy, but also allows you to grow creatively as you learn from a different point of view. Unlike our social media day and age where what we believe is thrown right back to us, having a wide range of input not only heightens your perception of totality but also draws connections between things that could be completely separate. Now I'm not saying that everything people say is right and that you need to change to their every whim. Just listen carefully, consider whether there's truth in their comments, then take it or leave it. Sometimes the truth can hurt so maybe mull it over some tea and a good book.
Try, Try, Try Again
Nothing was ever achieved by thinking. In his book, 'The First 20 Hours' Josh Kaufman puts forth the notion that when trying to learn something; it's not about trying to produce the best, rather trying to produce as many as possible. The power of practice means quality comes from quantity.
"The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot — albeit a perfect one — to get an “A”.
Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes — the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay"
If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room. Need it again? If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room. When you start seeking out those who are smarter, those who are more talented, those who know more, these things can only start rubbing off on you. Being the smallest fish doesn't mean that you're not worth as much, it means that your potential for growth is different. When you realise that the past doesn't define you at all, that's when you begin to see that they've been put there to help you reach that next level.
So in conclusion. If you don't ever want to be criticised, don't do anything. Never make a move and you'll be fine.
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