My husband walks in from the gym, and as usual, I ask, “How’d it go?”
His answer: “No one ever tells me I’m doing anything wrong. All I ever hear is that I’m doing great.”
I know what he means. He’s paying for coaching because he wants to improve. If the coach could show him how he was screwing up–because he knows he’s far from perfect–he could fix it. He could get better.
But to get better, first he has to know what he’s doing wrong. Progress emerges from criticism. Good ideas emerge from struggle.
I was surprised to read earlier this year that brainstorming–that beloved and widely-used creativity technique–doesn’t actually work. The cardinal rule of brainstorming is: no criticism. Suspend judgment. No negative feedback.
But it turns out that negative feedback is valuable. It makes us think harder. It makes us better. And that’s as true in the rest of life as it is in the gym.
When we’re not criticized, we don’t get better.
The researchers said, “There’s this Pollyannaish notion that the most important thing to do when working together is stay positive and get along, to not hurt anyone’s feelings,” she says. “Well, that’s just wrong. Maybe debate is going to be less pleasant, but it will always be more productive.”
So you’ll understand why when my husband walked in from the gym a week later, and I asked how it went, he said, “Lauren told me to point my knees in and keep my elbows out. It was awesome.”
So my question to you is:
Who’s your naysayer? Who shows you what you’re doing wrong so you can get better?