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Using Constructive Criticism to Stay Motivated

When receiving constructive feedback, it’s very important to really listen to what they are telling you. The goal is to get better.

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Understanding the true value of good constructive criticism is a highly valued and sought after characteristic. But for many of us, our egos tend to kick up dirt into the air which blinds us from seeing the ultimate results of our goals.

After all, you work hard on your tasks, and hearing faults about the tedious work you spend hours on can be maddening! It can even impede your motivation on a task which you worked so hard to complete. So how do you maintain this motivation? How do you train your mind to channel this frustration into a healthy and productive mindset?

Learning how to appropriately accept the constructive criticism of your peers yields impressive results, and will improve the overall quality of not just your work, but your life as well.

Check Your Ego at the Door.

The first and most obvious piece of advice I can give is, don’t take it personally.

99% of the time, the criticism given to you is not meant to attack your feelings. Rather, suggestions based on a vision that was built into their mind. It’s all too easy to feel attacked, but that’s your first mistake.

If you are doing professional work for a customer or client, they come to you with an idea of how they want their product to look and feel like. The criticism isn’t always because you performed poorly, but simply because the outcome isn’t what they had envisioned. As much as we might hate this, it falls under “the customer is always right” clause. We all know that statement isn’t always true, but that’s capitalism baby!

It’s important to make a habit of avoiding your first initial reaction, and give your self a second to take in the information and check yourself before reacting.

Now maybe the criticism isn’t about a professional project, but a personal one. This includes art work or maybe a song you wrote. This can be the toughest criticism to accept. Personal projects come from the heart, and hearing negative connotations about them can be most upsetting and aggravating. But learning how to this, rather than get frustrated and blowing up, will only push your work along and constantly improve throughout your journey.

Example: A friend of mine wrote a song a few months ago, and it took forever to complete it. He poured a lot of emotion into this song, but when he played it for his girlfriend and her brother, he was met only with blank stares. He didn’t lash out, but deep down it shattered him. Then he realized that if he’s going to be a musician and write songs to perform in public, I need to accept these notes! He needed to listen. Be respectful when people are giving you their thoughtful opinions. It will only improve the quality of your work whether you like it or not.

And that’s the biggest thing, simply listening rather than lashing out because of pride. It’s important to make a habit of avoiding your first initial reaction, and give your self a second to take in the information and check yourself before reacting.

This world is all about rolling with the punches, and doing so appropriately will always help you out in the long run.

Be Confident.

When someone is giving you constructive feedback they aren’t trying to hurt your feelings (usually). Just because someone has a few pointers for you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be proud of what you accomplished.

When you are receiving some less than sublime feedback about your work, it’s too easy to let dangerous thoughts slip into your melon.

Part of the process is remaining satisfied with your work, even if it doesn’t satisfy others. When someone is giving you constructive feedback they aren’t trying to hurt your feelings (usually). Just because someone has a few pointers for you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be proud of what you accomplished. This feedback is only meant to help improve your work, rather than diminish it completely. Always be sure of yourself, but accept outside opinions with an open mind.

They are just giving you their opinion, but that’s the thing, it’s just an opinion. Which brings me to my next point: not all critics are going to be correct. It’s a fine line, but if you are thoroughly confident with the results of your project and believe the critic is incorrect about their statements, stick to your guns.

Understand and Listen.

Always ask questions about their suggestions. Don’t blindly receive information from an outside source, but truly understand why what they are telling you makes sense and can help improve your performance.

When receiving constructive feedback, it’s very important to really listen to what they are telling you. I know that sounds obvious, but there is a huge difference in simply hearing noise coming out of somebody’s mouth, and cognitively understanding what they are telling you.

Always ask questions about their suggestions. Don’t blindly receive information from an outside source, but truly understand why what they are telling you makes sense and can help improve your performance.

Here’s a good practice for you. Step into their shoes, and understand why they would be making these suggestions. Do they make sense for the scope of the project? Truly comprehending the reasoning behind these suggestions can save you time, and immensely improve future projects you have on the roster. No matter your position, it’s extremely beneficial to keep learning.

This post originally appeared in Led2Win.com, a growing self-improvement and motivation blog.

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