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5 steps to channel criticism into personal growth

Asheen Raven
7th Mar 2017
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Nobody is perfect. If you think that you are, then you need to break free from this misconception. Even the most talented people around need to hone their skills to reach the pinnacle of their profession or art.

Every step of your journey, there are going to be people who dissect your work or product. Some may do it to mentor you and help you improve, while others may just be looking to bring you down. Regardless of whatever the motive is, it is absolutely essential to understand and acknowledge it.

Image : shutterstock

Image : shutterstock

It is human nature to be fiercely protective of one’s work and react badly to negative feedback. That’s what most of us do, but the key to success is to channel that criticism into personal growth. Here are some important steps that will help you take feedback in your stride.

Brace yourself

Feedback is going to hit you from anywhere and anytime. You will feel like you’re caught in a whirlwind with little paper balls flying all around you, periodically hitting you in the head. It can come from your employer, project supervisor, peers, and most important of all, your audience or customer base. Feedback will come from the expected sources that you know will be all over your work or product, and this should be more or less constructive, but it may even pop up from some really unexpected sources, so brace yourself.

Take it well

There’s 99 ways you can react to criticism, but flipping out isn’t one. Learning how to take feedback is a very important skill to pick up. It is human nature to snap back at people highlighting negative aspects of our work, and it’s bound to happen if you are an ambitious and driven individual. However, this often creates a more antagonistic atmosphere at work and will do you harm in the long run. It is of prime importance to understand that the workplace is an area for constructive and candid interactions. So remember to take feedback with a smile, even if it makes you furious.

Question

This step right here is how you differentiate between constructive criticism and white noise. Whenever you have someone giving you feedback, you need to question everything. Why is this wrong? How could I have done it better? These are the two questions which you absolutely must ask whenever receiving feedback. In fact, one can even seek feedback from industry experts regarding their work.

Analyse

Now that you’ve gathered all the feedback and managed to find out where and when you went wrong, it’s time to get a better understanding of the problem. Errors which are often repeated and have been criticized by more than one party are the ones you need to analyze immediately. Discovering patterns that you keep falling into is another essential part of the analysis, as you look to reshape what works for you. While you also need to rectify any minor errors that you seem to be making more than once.

Improve

This is the final step, and if you have gone through with the other steps thoroughly, then it should be the easiest. Self-improvement was the end game of all of this. That’s how you utilise the criticism and feedback, by taking it in and channeling it in a positive manner. Improvement should be simple after analysis. Simply rectify recurring errors and don’t fall into previous patterns that have led you astray.

There is always room for improvement, no matter which field you pursue. Nobody is born perfect and in many ways life is an exercise in self-actualization which can only be achieved by self-improvement. Taking pride in your work doesn’t mean clinging on to the idea that it is absolutely brilliant, it means taking the time and the effort to make sure that it is.

One needs to acknowledge and understand feedback, wherever it may come from. Criticism shouldn’t be an anchor that sinks you to the depths, but bricks thrown at you that you’ve used to build the pillars of your success.

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