Fear of Judgement
The first work presentation, the first public speech or even the first writing piece, will test how you interpret the audience’s reaction. Mostly it is the fear of judgement which stops us from taking the first step. Here is a thought: Can you attract all kinds of audience? No, because everyone has a different take on the same topic you are expressing your ideas for and many of them might even object. We aim to impress the targeted audience and learn from the feedback of the remaining ones who give constructive ones independent of the domain knowledge. Yes! Even laymen’s perspective is enlightening sometimes.
The key here is acknowledging for a learning experience and selectively incorporating the suggestions to improve on the go. Feedback comes in all form with different kinds of people. Some are like this:
“You should just quit, it doesn’t make sense.”
“What were you thinking when starting in the first place?”
“You need to work harder and faster than everyone else. Otherwise why even try?”
“How much can you possibly do in so much less time?”
This kind of feedback is a confidence killer and makes you think every time whether you are going in the right direction. In even simpler words, these are negative feedbacks without any constructive motive thrown to thump you in the start of your journey.
Analysing such feedbacks will reveal they genuinely have a close-minded approach on your ideology. If you want them (feedback source) to admit, they will cave or even bully you depending on how aggressive their behaviour is in the state of instant evaluation. They will not see it backfiring and never accept that a simple idea can spark something huge and come from a novice like you ( just a grounded assumption of novice for learners). They are worried about your potential and think it will steal their thunder.
The Positive Spectrum
The second type of feedback is worth noticing because it is a learning experience every time you attend to it. Gems like this:
“I enjoyed your work. Would you add proper citations to build authenticity?”
“The information was too much and decreased legibility. I suggest you use your vocabulary according to the audience’s literacy level and may be some visual cues to attract the attention.”
“Can I extend your work in my own way? I have some great ideas about it.”
By listening to itself, you will realise that it is this kind of feedback you were looking your whole life. The feedback that highlights your flaws while giving you a personalised suggestion on how to improve.
These positive evaluations are soothing to hear, don’t sound rude and strengthen your learning because it is coming from an open-minded person who wants to see you grow. Maybe they want to be a part of your progress on some level and are not revealing right away. Because, why would they? No one bonds like brothers in the first meeting. Give it time. You may become good friends too.
Dealing With The Negatives is a Skill
Absorption of selective feedback is a skill I am still learning because everyone has a unique way of interpreting, creating and delivering the solution. If my method needs improvement before it is shipped, I need to make sure the feedbacks are worth a shot. It is still hard sometimes to not take negative feedback in the heart because if I give it a thought, it hits like a punch and leaves an unfixable scar for some time.
While dealing with negatives requires some judgment call too, sometimes ignoring also works. The most beneficial way of learning for me is to expect brutal feedback to come from all kinds of people and see it as a learning experience too.
Because yes, positive feedbacks do improve our work. But if we interpret the negative ones also lightly, then we are giving a rewarding signal to our brains that learning is a continuous process and being hard on yourself is the last thing you want. If you take feedback objectively, it helps better than taking it personally.
This blog belongs to a series of posts I am publishing in this 100-days streak. Navigate to the end of article 22 for the references from day 23 onwards. If you would like to read the ones before day 22, here is the first one that started it all.