I Kung Fu Your Feedback.

I don’t take criticism nicely, especially from those closest to me. I fight back. At the same time, I know it very well that taking criticism to the chin serve as a profound component to personal growth. Without acknowledging feedbacks, I don’t know where I stand, where I came from and where I’m heading. My personal growth becomes stagnated

I have strong reason to believe my poor handling of feedback stems from my upbringing. As a child, I watched my mom interacted with evaluative feedbacks given from my dad.

It goes something like this.

“How do you like this new dish I made.”

“This dish needs a bit work. It’s bland and the chicken is not fully cooked”

“If you aren’t such a picky eater, I would be more comfortable in cooking other dishes.”

That my dear friend is called switch-tracking. A classic play out from the receiver end, my mom in this case, when confronted with an evaluative feedback. Switch-tracking happens when the receiver brings up an entirely different issue that doesn’t alight with the original problem. There are two issues on the table, and it is likely to go astray when both parties are arguing on two entirely different issue.

What’s interesting is that the receiver’s brain wasn’t conscious about the act of switch-tracking. My mom didn’t purposely bring up another topic. It was simply defense mechanism that our brain just wire to.

Maybe it’s cultural, but my dad sucks giving supportive feedbacks. He could have said something like this.

“It’s a great idea of stuffing mushroom in chicken, however…” before diving into an evaluative feedback.

Or maybe he’s just an ass.

So now I understand a little more the way I behave around evaluative feedback from my peers and family. I need to separate the noise of my own interpretation and perception of a feedback from the giver’s perception and interpretation. It’s like cutting through a thick piece of butter and in the middle lays a piece of golden advice. That’s what I need to do.

Receiving feedback is an act of understanding what the goal of this feedback is. What it can do for me and what I can learn from it even though the giver may not qualify as the adviser.

Always ask the giver where he gets the data to come up with this evaluative feedback. He may not be clear about it, and that’s why I need to ask him where he is coming from. When both of us are aligned, the conversation will stay on track.

Hopefully, I have hunkered down with the appropriated mindset of a receiver and dampen down the defensive move when a feedback is thrown at me. Let’s put me to a test, shall we?

Come on, throw shit at me.


Originally published at iamkatechan.com on October 4, 2015.

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