Improvement requires feedback. Adjusting our course to achieve our objectives requires feedback. Efficient acquisition of our targets requires feedback.
I recently submitted my manuscript for A Valued Life, Managing the Business of You to a content editor. It’s not easy to hear how someone doesn’t understand the premise of what the business of you is about. I’ve been focusing on it for the last couple of years. I suppose I’m stuck in my own brain.
My fears and irrational responses well up from within. It would be so much easier to succumb to my negative thoughts. I’m not ready to be a writer. My ideas suck. The thing is, the negative thoughts are just my own internal feedback that originate within my insecurities. To overcome them, I find the stillness within and observe the negativism pass by like a rain cloud in the sky. It’s just a couple of thoughts amongst a myriad of others. Her feedback is of utmost importance if I’m to improve my manuscript and access an audience larger than myself.
As Ryan Holiday says in The Obstacle is the Way, “We choose how we’ll look at things. We retain the ability to inject perspective into a situation. We can’t change the obstacles themselves—that part of the equation is set—but the power of perspective can change how the obstacles appear.” Feedback is an obstacle if we perceive it to be. Remembering our higher goal of making whatever we do the best it can be, we turn the obstacle upside down. Feedback becomes opportunity to improve.
It’s up to us to embrace all feedback for what it is, information about our progress or situation. As Shakespeare wrote “Nothing is neither good nor bad but thinking make it so.”
Feedback is critical for incremental improvement.