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How to Gain Confidence When Other People Criticize Us

How to Gain Confidence When Other People Criticize Us

Life is filled with “instant-save” moments when we have to stop from our wandering ways and question what exactly we are doing. We survive our days doing what we know without having to second-guess ourselves until some wise-guy offers us to examine our lives in their perspective. “Why thank you for your unrequested advice!”

We usually don’t approach a situation of this sort in a friendly fashion. We may shrivel up inside temporarily and cringe with discomfort. I can guarantee you’ve had someone point out something you wish they hadn’t for no apparent reason. I like to get defensive and fire an eye-opener right back at them. “How about we take these next proceeding minutes and talk about [insert insulting comeback here]? I believe that you are the one with the real problems!”

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Someone once chose to confront me with the fact that I like to move at the speed of snail with my daily preparations. I already knew this about myself, but to have someone openly criticize me made me furious. I turned around and showed them my unsatisfied glare-of-death. I responded, “You seem to have some sick fascination with watching me get ready for my day. Is it because your life is boring? Or is it just the fact that you would be cooler if I let you borrow my t-shirt?”

If you think that I might have taken it a little too far, you’re probably right. I instantly insulted them. I considered what they had said about me. Although I already knew that I move peculiarly slowly, this helped me love that about myself. I analyzed why it was that I got ready as fast as an infant learning to drive a stick shift.

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I realized that I do this because I am busy mental exercising myself for the day at hand. I visualize all the tasks I have to accomplish. I organize my to-do list. I embrace every detail of the day as much I can because when it comes time to perform, I am more than ready.

Although, we generally do not like the fact that someone has aimed their words directly into our unconscious imperfections. We hold on to these moments long enough to let them shape our lives. It’s important that we use this opportunity to mold ourselves the way we would like and not let it break us down into a million more pieces of “where does this one go again?” This is when we need to take the time to start setting things straight for ourselves.

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You are not the victim!

I mentioned that it’s almost necessary that we allow ourselves to get defensive when this happens. Someone has noticed something about you that you’ve been oblivious to. Evaluate their perspective and decide whether or not you like this about yourself. If you do, reaffirm to yourself that this makes you unique and you’re proud of it. If it isn’t, you should appreciate the opportunity that you have to better yourself. Whatever you choose, this should not be something to beat yourself up about.

Be conscientious!

Knowing who we are, what we are capable of, and being aware of our weaknesses and strengths is a powerful thing. Maybe we’re not the person in charge at work, but we can always be in charge of ourselves. We can even learn how to develop a positive self-image from our not so admirable characteristics.

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The next time someone wants to call you out on that, “thing you didn’t want to know you did,” pause and say, “Thank you for blessing me with the chance to decide whether or not I value your criticism!”

Featured photo credit: Arguments by Artis Pupins via flickr.com

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How to Gain Confidence When Other People Criticize Us

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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The leap happens when we realize two things:

  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

“Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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