Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stop Taking Things Personally

Too often, we confuse criticism or a comment on our work as criticism or a comment about who we are. We take things too personally and become offended because someone is pointing out a different way to do things or places where they see improvements can be made. We put a lot of time and emotion in to work and it often becomes enwrapped into our being. Separating this emotion when we receive the criticism or comments can be very difficult for most people.

When we take things personally, we find ourselves becoming depressed about the job, cynical and afraid to take chances. We don't welcome the feedback and we won't do anything that may invite it. Because we are afraid to take chances, we often become stuck doing the same things the same ways and improvements are not made. We all know people like this and many of us would honestly say we have been this person. I know I have.

As hard as it may sound, we have to get better at separating our emotional side from the work. We have to see the criticisms and comments as what they are, possible ways to improve our work and not direct attacks against us. The person commenting may not know exactly what you are doing or the complexities of the project, but eyes from the outside will often see things you can not see from the inside. Their comments or critiques can be very valuable, but you will never listen if you take them personally. When you start to get frustrated or angry, tell yourself this isn't an attack on you, but just a suggestion to improve your work.

If we all looked at these opportunities as chances to improve, instead of fodder for frustration and anger, would we be able to make great improvements to our work? Would we be happier?

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