A story is told of a boy stuck in a huge mass of ice with no one around but his only friend. Without any available assistance, the young chap tore a massive branch of a tree which he used to break the ice to rescue his friend.
When people finally came to the scene, they were bewildered. The tree stump the boy broke was too huge for even a man to rip without any tools. “How is this possible?” they asked. One old man standing by, answered them saying, “I know how he did it. There was no-one here to tell him that he couldn’t“.
That is to say, there was no one to discourage him, downplay his abilities or disrupt his mission. Those are what destructive criticisms do to us. Even when we have the capacity to perform outstandingly, they are able to hold us down, make us feel inadequate and demotivate us from achieving our goals.
Feedback can be important
There is no questioning that feedback is crucial for the success of any business venture or even life in general. We all, in one way or another, need to convey a particular outlook about ourselves and our endeavours. And without feedback from others, we cannot know whether we are creating the right effect or not.
At a point in the ministry of Jesus Christ, he also found it necessary to do the same: to seek feedback on the impression he was building about himself. He asked his question in two important ways, “who do people say I am?” and “who do you say I am?”
Some feedbacks are dangerous
But think about this: why did Jesus ask his disciples what the “people” said about him instead of asking the “people” directly? None of us was in Jesus’ mind, but you can see he avoided direct feedback from the destructive critics. He only asked those who would give him positive feedback, or at worst, constructive criticism.
Brene Brown, a renowned researcher shared a modern-day experience of a similar quest to obtain feedback. She had done a TED Talk for the first time that went very viral. And as any first timer would do, she was eager to know what “people” were saying concerning the talk across various social media platforms.
To say the least, the comments she read were so demeaning that they brought her spirit down to ground zero. It took the timely intervention of soul-lifting literature to get her back on her feet to live her normal life.
A conscious effort
Unlike the young lad in the first story, not all of us would be privileged to not have destructive critics around us. So much like in the case of Jesus, we need to make the conscious effort to prevent the destructive critics from getting through to us.
And that means, there are certain moments that we must intentionally ignore what people are saying about our personal or professional lives. The truth is, we must only make ears for negative feedback, if it is being offered by people who care about our success and us becoming better, or at worst, who have an open mind about us.
Feedbacks from people with a sentimental distaste for your personality are always destructive criticisms that have the ability to weaken your knees no-matter how “strong” you may be.
In your bid to live right and excel in life, you may (for instance) have neighbours or workmates who always backbite and scorn you. It may be tempting, but you must never seek to even know what they say. Such comments are weapons designed to gun you down. Never let them get to you.
Feedback is great and helpful, only when it is positive or a constructive criticism. Never entertain feedback from sources that have any internal disgust for your good endeavours or your personality, for all they will ever give you is only destructive.
This is more than an advice. It is a warning. Don’t wait to learn it the hard way.
As written by Ebenezer Agbey Quist
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