A person never has a completely objective view of his life, as a human isn’t meant to be bias-free to themselves. We see the world through our own thoughts and feelings, even if they may be blatantly wrong. We may be majorly screwing up our goals or our lives by being unaware of what our limitations are. That’s why it is important to ask for feedback.
People seem to be afraid to ask for feedback because they might have been doing these utterly and horribly wrong. My response is, “so what?” If you truly cared about your training, lifestyle, job, and/or academic performance, you’d like to know where you stand.
This isn’t about learning how to be better than others. It is learning how to be better than the person you were before yesterday. With the biases people have towards themselves, there will always be major obstacles that will help them performing their best. While asking for feedback can be scary, I consider it a must for self-improvement.
Last week I sat down with all my professors and asked them what makes a student go “above and beyond” their standards. While they gave their various pieces of advice, I nodded and pressed for as much detail as possible. I even took notes like the little nerd I am. Then I asked them what they think holds me back as a student. Nearly all my professors said I need to take more time reading and rereading directions because often I miss a step of an assignment, or don’t fully answer the question. When asking what would make me a “ten” in their classes, they smiled and said it was about attitude. Overall, my professors said I was a very good student who wasn’t very careful on assignments. I never realized this.
I noticed I would often get two points docked off an assignment, but would never know why. Well, now I know why. Which is why now I actually read the directions carefully and proofread my homework. Now my grades are higher. My professors seem impressed that I am actually following their advice.
A question I asked my inner circle is what they think is holding me back in life. The answers were mixed, and some were bittersweet to hear. I learned more about my flaws and my biggest weaknesses. I now am working harder on fixing those cracks in my armor.
The point is working past the fear of being vulnerable to criticism. I could have seen the criticism as person attack on my character. They key is making yourself open to the opportunity to improving yourself. I want to be the best human being I could ever possibly be, which means I must take suggestions as they come to me. It’s a risk to make yourself vulnerable, but growth comes from baring yourself open to others. Plus, asking for feedback impresses others because it shows you are committed to doing better. It may also give you new opportunities when you apply the feedback.
Since I have been asking for feedback and making visible progress, my personal growth is speeding up rather impressively. I feel empowered to be able to take criticism, then use my critical thinking skills to make changes.
I ask others with an open mind. Listening. Truly listening to them and asking questions. Now I have another inkling of an idea of how my ideal self is. And from the feedback I know how to work towards it.