Constructive feedback is by nature hard for us to receive. It can be a real punch to our ego when we pour ourselves into something only to find out that we missed the mark and require improvement. It’s human nature to put up a defense mechanism when we hear feedback about ourselves that hurts to hear. According to psychologist Daniel Goleman, “Threats to our standing in the eyes of others are remarkably potent biologically, almost as those to our very survival,” (Click for Source) Our brains literally feel criticism as a primal threat, so we have a tendency to not only disregard the message but even develop animosity for the messenger rather than learn from it. But, how will we ever reach our full potential if we can’t handle constructive feedback?

No great athlete, performer, employee, or manager has ever become great without receiving constructive feedback. It’s a natural part of the process of learning and growing. We are all human, and none of us are born perfect. The more humble and open we are when we receive the feedback, the more potential we have for greatness. Once we understand that biologically, we are wired to become defensive when we hear criticism, we are able to take down our walls and truly listen to the message. When you hear constructive feedback, take a step back, take a deep breath, and make a conscious effort to turn off your natural defense mechanism, then listen to the feedback with an open mind. Once you shift your mindset from defensive to an open desire for growth, you are on the path for success. 

When you listen to feedback with an open mind, you increase your chances at a higher-level of achievement and success. Stay positive and focus on self-improvement when you receive constructive feedback. Understand that the messenger is trying to offer guidance and help you to improve; they are not trying to hurt you or tear you down. Try to think objectively. Consider the facts of the situation. Remove yourself from the equation. Think about yourself as a 3rd party. Would you recommend your own work? Do you see that there’s room to improve? It’s very easy to get stuck in our own ways, resist change, and consider our own way of doing things the absolute best way. But, we will never achieve greatness if we get stuck in a rut with this line of thinking. Stay open minded, humble, eager to improve, and embrace change; do this, and you’ll surely be on the road to success.