365 Challenge: Day 170 – Feedback

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Feedback: information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc., used as a basis for improvement

feedback

Feedback is often hard to accept, especially when someone suggests that you change something you are doing. Not many people are open-minded enough to truly look at the advice in a way that removes their personal feelings or emotions. It’s a process and learned skill that takes many years to fine-tune in order to make the best of the situation.

When I was younger, I had a hard time accepting any sort of feedback — either good or bad. I had a habit of immediately feeling threatened, which often resulted in my opinion of the person who had been sharing his/her thoughts suddenly being knocked down a few pegs. I often thought I was always right and that other people didn’t understand me. It’s a common reaction to hearing any sort of potential negative response, even if it’s presented as constructive criticism. This carried over into my first few years as a manager of employees. When it came to review time, I tended to mark someone higher than they were in fear I’d hurt their feelings. After the second round of performance appraisals, it suddenly dawned on me: if you don’t tell the person what’s wrong, it will not get any better. And if it doesn’t get any better, then it will become an even larger problem that you try to cover up because you missed it the first time. Wrong Reaction!

Feedback is important, whether it’s positive or negative. There are tons of studies on the right way to present it, as well as the wrong way. Since I’m not going to include intelligent reports here, because I’m lazy, this is really only my opinion. But I’m certain it’s right. {Aside: Shh… I told you earlier, I no longer think I’m always right. I now know it! OK… just kidding, in case you’re new to my blog and don’t yet fully understand my brand of humor…} I try to balance the positive and the negative feedback when I critique other people’s efforts or share an opinion on what they have chosen to do. I do it for a few reasons, but mostly it’s because that’s how I like to receive feedback.

No one is perfect. Everything can always be a little bit better. Doesn’t mean it should be. But there’s room for improvement and it often takes another set of eyes to shed light on it. No matter how many times I taste a meal that I’ve made over and over again, there is something I can do to make it even better. As much as I re-work a paragraph in my novel to the point I feel like it’s brilliant, there is another way of saying the same thing that is just a little bit better than my draft. These are good things. Not bad things. Life is not about achieving perfection. It’s also not about achieving “good enough,” in case that’s where you thought I might be going. It’s about finding the middle ground where you, as the creator or the person doing the task, can feel pride and joy over your accomplishments.

As I matured and researched the ways to give and receive feedback, I found my own happy medium for the approach. I share all the things I like. I share a few things I see that could be received differently (either positively or negatively) by others with a different perspective. I share a couple of things I’d suggest doing in a better way. But I also explain why, how I could be wrong and how I could be right. It’s not my decision and I’m not the authority, but it’s my personal opinion and only something the receiver should “take into consideration.” It goes hand-in-hand with my own belief not to intrude in someone else’s life for any reason. I will tell them if I think they’re doing something that could hurt them or another person, but beyond that, it’s unfair to put my expectations on another person’s life, beliefs, choices, actions or opinions. Feedback is simply a way of sharing an alternative way of doing something.

When you ask for feedback, it’s imperative that you go into it knowing you might not like the responses you get back. If you can’t accept that, maybe you shouldn’t ask for feedback. I’ve chosen on occasion not to ask for feedback because I wasn’t ready to hear the constructive criticism. It was about me. Not about the person sharing his/her feelings. That’s the important part — you have to be in a place to both share and receive the feedback, as it’s not a one-way street. When someone says “I didn’t like this because of “x” reason, it needs to be explored. Perhaps through discussion, one of both parties involved will change their opinion by learning additional information. This is why I generally prefer interactive feedback, as it is a chance to give a full-circle review and discussion so that feelings may be less hurt, ideas may be more open and change might be better accepted.

Now that I don’t have a ‘boss’ looking over my shoulder every day, I have to ask for feedback, as opposed to receiving it through normal or natural means. It can be hard to ask someone to give you honest feedback, but if you don’t have the strength to ask for it, then you might not have the strength to receive it. As I move forward with getting my edits back from the publisher next week, I am realizing that is my next real round of feedback. It’ll be the last stop before the novel is completed and put in the hands of readers to decide how and when to review my work. And that will bring another whole round of feedback, which could be good and it could be bad. It took me a while to accept it, and I’m still not 100% comfortable, but I know if it goes poorly, there will be something to learn from it that needs to be considered before I move forward with another step.

When I get to the crux of it all, the secret to accepting feedback is learning how to give feedback. Once you find the words to tell someone how they are doing, you also learn how to interpret when someone is sharing feedback with you. The key is to listening, not just hearing what they say. Recognize the words. Understand the choices they made with how they told you. Figure out what it means from your perspective and their perspective. And in the middle somewhere, sometimes closer to them, sometimes closer to you, is an answer where you can feel pride and joy.

How are you at accepting feedback? Sharing your opinion with others? Do you balance the good and the bad? Or do you tend to shy away from anything negative?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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59 thoughts on “365 Challenge: Day 170 – Feedback

    Patty said:
    August 29, 2017 at 10:36 AM

    Great topic Jay. I think with authors feedback is good, but also scary at times. It is good to hear this from an authors point of view. I always wonder how authors handle feedback when it is not the good kind. I always try to point out the positive if there is negative, so that it doesn’t discourage others reading the feedback. Because we all know not everyone will feel the same as me.

    Liked by 2 people

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      August 29, 2017 at 10:38 AM

      Exactly, great point. If I give a book less than 3 stars, or provide negative feedback, I thoroughly explain why, as well as indicate how my opinion could be wrong. It is very frustrating to see so many people bash things ‘just because they can.’ I believe 100% in free speech, but also in the ability to know how and when to censor yourself so that you do not cause harm where it is not appropriate.

      I hope there are more people like you out there! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    Nel said:
    August 29, 2017 at 10:41 AM

    I’m good at receiving feedback. I’m also good at giving it though I have the tendency to be “too tough”. Because of that I always start with, “do you want the honest truth or the fluffy truth?” because my intention really isn’t to hurt anyone’s feelings but if you want me to tell it like it is, I will. That being said, I’m good at receiving feedback but I can’t always control my emotional response. I’m an easy cryer unfortunately so even though I want to hear it, my body likes to betray me a lot, hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      August 29, 2017 at 10:45 AM

      So, about your comment, I feel the need to give you some feedback on what I felt about it. It was so ___ and ____, which made me want to _____ until I _____. Hope that doesn’t offend you.

      Liked by 1 person

        Nel said:
        August 29, 2017 at 10:48 AM

        so awesome and amazing that it made you want to smile until you cried. Yep. got it ;P

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        August 29, 2017 at 10:50 AM

        You’d be great at that game I can’t remember where you fill in the blanks.

        Liked by 1 person

        Nel said:
        August 29, 2017 at 10:51 AM

        Hahaha

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        August 29, 2017 at 10:57 AM

        What is it!!! I can’t remember the name.

        Liked by 1 person

        Nel said:
        August 29, 2017 at 11:04 AM

        Mad Libs maybe?

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        August 29, 2017 at 11:07 AM

        yesssssssssssssssssssssss thank you for saving me from going nuts

        Liked by 1 person

        Nel said:
        August 29, 2017 at 11:08 AM

        Hahahaha you’re welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      August 29, 2017 at 10:46 AM

      OK, the real response! I totally understand. I think you do a great job with it. Sometimes keeping our emotional reactions in check with our physical reactions is hard!

      Liked by 1 person

    scr4pl80 said:
    August 29, 2017 at 11:27 AM

    Great post. Here’s some feedback. I just read the preview chapters you shared on “Watching Glass Shatter” and I thought they were really good. Of course that is just my opinion and I could be wrong, but thanks for sharing them and giving me the opportunity to give some feedback. Feel free to give me feedback on any of my crafting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      August 29, 2017 at 11:30 AM

      Thank you so much. I will definitely keep providing feedback. I just saw your FB page and followed that, so I can see more from you. 🙂

      I appreciate you reading the chapters. Trying to see if we’re friends on GR now… hmmm…

      Liked by 1 person

    Mel Gutiér said:
    August 29, 2017 at 11:51 AM

    Need to come back! I like what you have to say. Just don’t have enough time to read it all during my break LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    theloyalbritwit said:
    August 29, 2017 at 12:02 PM

    Excellent! I sincerely needed this reminder. Thank you, Jay, for sharing this brilliant post. I have plans to come back and read it more than once. I wish I had more time or I would give you a proper feedback. 🙂 Just know I think you used great examples and the language was approachable! Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    Valerie @ Valerie's Musings said:
    August 29, 2017 at 12:07 PM

    Excellent post. It *IS* hard to accept feedback sometimes. I’ve had to adopt a sort of cavalier attitude toward our annual reviews here at work otherwise I’d completely flip out over it all the time. There’s also a very large rebellious part of me which most people don’t know exists because I hide it well but sometimes it’ll come out in feedback situations. Like this year, my review at work said I should be a better example to all the new people and my initial response was “Dammit, I’ve spent my whole entire life being the good example and I’m just so over that and done with that now”. Of course, I did not say this to my boss, but that was the first thing that went thru my head. hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

    Judy said:
    August 29, 2017 at 12:30 PM

    I’ve been brutally criticized by people who had no trouble lying in order to make me wrong. The lying pushed me to be brutally honest. As I became mentally and emotionally healthier, I trade out a lot of people in my life. The gentle feedback of my new friends helped me see how harsh I was, and I learned to give feedback the way they gave me feedback.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      August 29, 2017 at 12:42 PM

      It takes a little time, but I’m glad it’s taken the positive up swing for you. Brutal can be hard. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

    wakinguponthewrongsideof50 said:
    August 29, 2017 at 12:35 PM

    Hmmm….let me think…do I give feedback? Never I say…..never……oh wait. I am awesome at giving feedback, if the definition is to butt in on everyone else’s life…….but conversely, I’m pretty good at receiving criticism,cause I truly believe that’s how we learn and get better. That doesn’t mean I like hearing it. I always went with the two positives, 1 negative approach….softens the blow. Hard though if someone has 10 negatives and you need to come up with 20 positives…..

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      August 29, 2017 at 12:42 PM

      that would be a lot of work!!! maybe prioritize the negatives and don’t share all. lol good comment, thanks! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    declutteringmylifeweb said:
    August 29, 2017 at 12:56 PM

    We desperately need feedbacks. No feedback can be as destructive as critics. We have already been praised and criticised in the right and wrong ways. So even if somebody is not an experienced feed-back giver, they can remember what to avoid when doing so.

    Liked by 1 person

    coffeelovingbookoholic said:
    August 29, 2017 at 2:19 PM

    great post jay! 🤗
    i like feedback, because i always want to get better and without feedback there is no change! so yeah, gimme the feedback! 😂
    but i also learned, never to give feedback on feedback! just take it in and think about it. otherwise it can blow up!

    Liked by 1 person

    theorangutanlibrarian said:
    August 29, 2017 at 3:12 PM

    “the secret to accepting feedback is learning how to give feedback”- that’s a fantastic way of thinking about it. I think you learn so much by listening to others, but sometimes it helps to put yourself in their shoes so you can accept criticism more easily. I usually think it’s best to listen to advice even if it’s hard (especially then). I don’t think it comes easily- but even if I fret about it, I like to think I’m good at taking it on board. (kind of hard to make such statements about myself though- no doubt someone’s gonna come along and give me feedback that I don’t lol 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      August 29, 2017 at 3:15 PM

      It always works that way, right? When you don’t expect it… thanks so much for sharing and your feedback. Need to listen to understand, I totally agree.

      Liked by 1 person

    BrizzleLass said:
    August 29, 2017 at 3:59 PM

    Excellent post, I think you receive feedback really well and you are great at handing out out aswell. I tend to focus on the negative in feedback I receive, not in a negative way though, I use negative feedback to drive me forward, to find things I need to change. I always think there is so much more worth in negative feedback.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      August 29, 2017 at 4:45 PM

      Thank you. Negative feedback can drive us, I agree. I tend to focus on that too.

      Like

    Mel Gutiér said:
    August 29, 2017 at 6:10 PM

    “The key is to listening, not just hearing what they say. Recognize the words. Understand the choices they made with how they told you. Figure out what it means from your perspective and their perspective. And in the middle somewhere, sometimes closer to them, sometimes closer to you, is an answer where you can feel pride and joy.”

    This resonates. I’ve grown a great deal as a writer since I began a few years ago.

    You’ve a great deal of insight. I’m confident in my story but my writing, I know can always improve.

    I’m working on it. Grateful for sharing. This is so helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      August 29, 2017 at 8:16 PM

      I’m so glad! It meant a lot to me, I’m happy to share with others. Insight comes with experience, maybe. The more we write and interact, the more we feel confident.

      Liked by 1 person

        Mel Gutiér said:
        August 29, 2017 at 8:20 PM

        Yes! So glad we met. Look forward to more exchanges.

        Thanks again for sharing.

        Liked by 1 person

    Mel Gutiér said:
    August 29, 2017 at 7:49 PM

    Jay thanks again for this. It’s always a but awkward when you first get that feedback. I think my skin is growing a bit thicker each day. I’m ready for impact.

    A fellow blogger whom I respect a great deal and whose style of writing is a gibberish I well admire, pointed out ‘its’ and ‘it’s’ usage on one of my posts. Usually I post things without thinking too much, but the fact that he cared enough to point that out to me, really touched me. I was grateful. My brain wants to get it out and I’ve made minor mistakes like that which are pretty major considering it’s elementary.

    I made the corrections right away. Here’s how he addressed them. He commented on the post and after in parentheses (be careful of its and it’s). Also he didn’t point out the errors, he simply advised me. Of course I saw them immediately.

    I loved how respectful that was but maybe a few months ago it would have affected me adversely. Now however, I’m grateful.

    As I am grateful for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    carhicks said:
    August 30, 2017 at 9:59 AM

    What a great topic and post! I think you hit the nail on the head. If you can give feedback well, then you will have no difficulty received it. As a retired teacher, this was something that we were very cognizant of. If you were able to tell a student what they did well or correctly, they were more apt to be wiling to make a change based on a question or concern you might have had. It is funny that I worked with many teachers that could give feedback to others, but got very offended when it was given to them. Keep sharing these great posts James.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      August 30, 2017 at 10:16 AM

      Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Great point in your comment about teaching – that’s where you can make a huge difference in feedback with kids when they are young.

      Liked by 1 person

    tylerus said:
    August 30, 2017 at 11:48 AM

    Hear, hear! Literally. 🙂 I agree; offering constructive feedback and explaining why something might benefit from an edit or change is crucial. There’s nothing to be gained – on either side – if the advice is negative or condemning.

    Liked by 1 person

    Cozynookbks said:
    August 31, 2017 at 7:46 AM

    I think I’m getting better at receiving and providing feedback, but I find both difficult at times. It’s harder to provide it, for me anyway. I question whether I’m knowledgeable enough myself to provide feedback. I mean, can I truly be objective enough? It’s like giving feedback on a dish. Some people like sweet, some people don’t. Some like spicy, some don’t. Our opinions are biased. And if I receive constructive criticism I wonder if the person really understands what I’m trying to convey.
    I gave my always late and therefore unprofessional hairstylist constructive criticism once and she immediately became defensive. I was doing it for her sake because she does excellent work, but she’s almost NEVER on time, and has lost clients because of it. She even pulls a no-show at times and feels perfectly okay with that. For a while after that incident I held back from giving feedback. But I’m over that now.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      August 31, 2017 at 8:42 AM

      Great share. But Wow! Sometimes feedback is clearly a fact, not something to decide if it’s fair or not fair. I’m sure you were kind about it, but if you’re late, then you’re late, and you’re being unfair. Your hairstylist should have been more open-minded when you trying to be helpful. Hopefully it’s all good now. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        Cozynookbks said:
        August 31, 2017 at 8:49 AM

        True about sometimes feedback is clearly a fact.
        I was tactful and even used an illustration, flipping the circumstances and trying to get her to discern how she would feel if her clients were no-shows or always arrived late. Would that be fair to her? She didn’t get it.

        Liked by 1 person

    vinnieh said:
    August 31, 2017 at 10:00 AM

    I’m all for feedback as long as it is constructive. If someone can back up what they’re saying, I don’t mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    roseelaineblog said:
    September 2, 2017 at 1:32 PM

    Great read as usual 🌹

    Liked by 1 person

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