The Power of Negative Feedback

The Bold Italic, a semi-popular blog here in California, wrote an article about my motorcycle trip, panic attacks, and this blog.

I want to share the most memorable comments about the article from their Facebook post:

this_guy_is_a_douche___

They sure know how to make a guy feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.

The Power of Negative Feedback

In the past these comments would’ve upset me, but nowadays I’m able to laugh ’em off. In fact, I encourage critical feedback. Here’s why:

Negative feedback is far more valuable and actionable than positive feedback.

That’s not some type of personal philosophy either…but a well researched position:

Research shows that negative feedback helps us learn and grow more quickly than positive feedback. However, negative feedback only works if we’re in the right mindset, otherwise it can be catastrophic. You must make it about the thing you did and not about you. You have to be really secure to feel good about yourself if all you’re getting is critiqued.

So really, the key is to build up your self-esteem muscles by showing them that you are ok when things go wrong, and that feedback is about what you’re doing and not who you are. De-couple the performance from the self-esteem. (Taken from Smartcuts)

How to get negative feedback

The feedback from the Bold Italic article is NOT helpful…those guys are just a bunch of jerks.

The comments were pretty funny to be honest, but seeing them reminded me to share how I go about getting negative feedback that’s actually useful.

Here’s what ya do:

  1. Create a Google Form with two questions: What are my 3 biggest strengths and 3 biggest weaknesses. Here’s mine if you wanna copy it. I added the 3 strengths part as a red herring…it’s a great way to get people to start speaking their mind.
  2. Send the form to 10 of your closest co-workers and friends. Tell them you’re working on yourself and want feedback because you appreciate their opinion. Make sure to tell them the form is anonymous.
  3. Take the three most common weaknesses mentioned, print them out, and tape them to your bedroom door.

It sounds crazy, but this trick works wonders. I’ve had phenomenal results.

Go on…give it a try. They most likely won’t call you a douche, but I’m sure it’ll still be helpful.

– Sam “douchebag” Parr

P.S. What do you want me to write about next?

I can write about why Tinder was 10x more helpful than Tripadvisor during my trip, Things I Learned From Not Drinking Part 2 (I’ve been putting this off forever), or anything else you want. Send me an email with your idea!

PPS: For the record, The Bold Italic comments were the only negative comments I had. I had 100+ positive comments on reddit.