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Why People Who Are Unable To Take Criticism Will Not Succeed

Why People Who Are Unable To Take Criticism Will Not Succeed

Has anyone ever said you’re defensive against criticisms? It is as if an universal truth that criticism is a good thing but when in face of it, we cannot help and our defensive mechanism startles.

In fact, it is natural that one is inclined to repulse criticism. Famously known, our brains are wired with a fight-or-flight response. When we encounter with danger, in this case, criticisms, some of us want to flee away while some want to fight back. But after all, it is important to know that there are many benefits lying beneath criticism. If we can restrain our natural tendency, we will gladly accept criticisms and get closer to success.

Criticism guides you to the next level.

Think in this way, criticism is helping you to improve, not to insult you or drag you behind.

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It is not outrageous to compare us to lost stars: we are all finding the path in the dark. It is usual to feel lost sometimes. It indeed takes courage to admit that we still have many things to learn. No one is perfect, as the old saying goes.

On this journey of seeking, criticism serves as milestones reflecting our progress, where we are now. And we need these signals to grow. Imagine we are designing a product, or writing an article, or engaging in a relation, without any feedback reminding us, how would we know if we’re on the right track or not?

Criticism gives us the information we need in order to prevail on every aspect of life.

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Criticism helps you to connect with others deeper.

We all have our own stories. We receive different education, or come from different backgrounds. That is what makes us unique, but also makes us impossible to fully understand each other.

There is inherently a wall between human-beings. Nonetheless, we can smash this wall if we want.

Communication is a good way to understand each other better, and positive criticism is an effective form of communication. Positive criticism informs us what others’ impression on us is, and from this we know how to be a better person.

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It is better to treat criticisms as an open invitation to a deeper relationship. Realize that it also takes others’ courage to criticize us. If they do not weigh this relationship heavily, they will not venture to give us the criticism.

Thus, treasure every criticism given by others, reflect on that, and take it as an opportunity to connect deeper with others.

We live in an unhealthy culture that does not encourage criticisms.

Somehow in today’s world, open criticism is a taboo. When one tries to give criticism, he or she also has to accompany it with 20 praises.

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And eventually, the one who criticizes others is hated and thought to be picky, a black sheep. But that is not a healthy environment, we do need criticisms to grow.

Don’t be a praise seeker if you want to succeed.

Imaginably, living in this culture, we all turn to be a praise seeker. We are hungry for praise, and if we are criticized, we become unhappy.

For this phenomenon, there’s a term in psychology called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias basically means the tendency to search for and favor information that confirms our own beliefs, while giving excessively less consideration to alternative possibilities.

Criticism is the key to success.

Given the benefits brought along by criticism, it is at our loss to ignore, deny, or even fight against them. Yes, criticism can be harsh to our ears, yet its value is unquestionable. When facing criticisms, think of the benefits it has instead of being driven by our tendency to defend against it.

Featured photo credit: Daniel McFadden / Sony Pictures Classics / Everett via newyorker.com

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Chris Cheung

Editorial Intern, Lifehack

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

The Art of Taking a Break So You Will Be Productive Again

Think of yourself as a cup. Each day, you wake up full. But as you go about your day—getting tasks done and interacting with people—the amount in your cup gradually gets lower. And as such, you get less and less effective at whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. You’re running out of steam.

The solution is obvious: if you don’t have anything left to pour out, then you need to find a way to fill yourself up again. In work terms, that means you should take a break—an essential form of revitalizing your motivation and focus.

Taking a break may get a bad rap in hustle culture, but it’s an essential, science-based way to ensure you have the capacity to live your life the way you want to live it.

In the 1980s, when scientists began researching burnout, they described this inner capacity as “resources.” We all need to replenish our resources to cope with stress, work effectively, and avoid burnout.[1]

When the goal is to get things done, it may sound counterproductive to stop what you’re doing. But if you embrace the art of taking a break, you can be more efficient and effective at work.

Here are five ways on how you can take a break and boost your productivity.

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1. Break for the Right Amount of Time, at the Right Time

When I started my first job out of college, I was bent on pleasing my boss as most entry-level employees do. So, every day, I punched in at 9 AM on the dot, took a 60-minute lunch break at noon, and left no earlier than 5 PM.

As I’ve logged more hours in my career, I’ve realized the average, eight-hour workday with an hour lunch break simply isn’t realistic—especially if your goal is to put your best foot forward at work.

That’s why popular productivity techniques like the Pomodoro advocate for the “sprint” principle. Basically, you work for a short burst, then stop for a short, five-minute break. While the Pomodoro technique is a step forward, more recent research shows a shorter burst of working followed by a longer pause from work might actually be a more effective way to get the most out of stepping away from your desk.

The team at DeskTime analyzed more than 5 million records of how workers used their computers on the job. They found that the most productive people worked an average of 52 minutes, then took a 17-minute break afterward.[2]

What’s so special about those numbers? Leave it to neuroscience. According to researchers, the human brain naturally works in spurts of activity that last an hour. Then, it toggles to “low-activity mode.”[3]

Even so, keep in mind that whatever motivates you is the most effective method. It’s more about the premise—when you know you have a “finish line” approaching, you can stay focused on the task or project at hand.

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There are many applications and tools that can help you block distracting websites and apps (such as social media) for specific periods of the day. Similarly, you can also use some mailing apps like Mailbrew to receive all the social media content or newsletters you don’t want to miss in your inbox at a time you decide.

So, no matter how long you work, take a break when you sense you’re losing steam or getting bored with the task. Generally, a 10-15 minute break should reinvigorate you for whatever’s coming next.

2. Get a Change of Scenery—Ideally, Outdoors

When it comes to increasing a person’s overall mental health, there’s no better balm than nature. Research has found that simply being outside can restore a person’s mind from mental fatigue related to work or studying, ultimately contributing to improved work performance (and even improved work satisfaction).[4]

No lush forest around? Urban nature can be just as effective to get the most out of your break-taking. Scientists Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, in their book The Biophilia Hypothesis, claimed that even parks, outdoor paths, and building designs that embrace “urban nature” can lend a sense of calm and inspiration, encouraging learning and alertness for workers.

3. Move Your Body

A change of scenery can do wonders for your attention span and ability to focus, but it’s even more beneficial if you pair it with physical movement to pump up that adrenaline of yours. Simply put, your body wasn’t designed to be seated the entire day. In fact, scientists now believe that extended periods of sitting are just as dangerous to health as smoking.[5]

It’s not always feasible to enjoy the benefits of a 30-minute brisk walk during your workday, especially since you’ll most likely have less energy during workdays. But the good news is, for productivity purposes, you don’t have to. Researchers found that just 10 minutes of exercise can boost your memory and attention span throughout the entire day.[6]

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So, instead of using your break to sit and read the news or scroll your social media account, get out of your chair and move your body. Take a quick walk around the block. Do some jumping jacks in your home office. Whatever you choose, you’ll likely find yourself with a sharper focus—and more drive to get things done.

4. Connect With Another Person

Social connection is one of the most important factors for resilience. When we’re in a relationship with other people, it’s easier to cope with stress—and in my experience, getting social can also help to improve focus after a work break.

One of my favorite ways to break after a 30-or-so minute sprint is to hang out with my family. And once a week, I carve out time to Skype my relatives back in Turkey. It’s amazing how a bit of levity and emotional connection can rev me up for the next work sprint.

Now that most of us are working from home, getting some face-to-face time with a loved one isn’t as hard as it once was. So, take the time to chat with your partner. Take your kids outside to run around the backyard. If you live alone, call a friend or relative. Either way, coming up for air to chat with someone who knows and cares about you will leave you feeling invigorated and inspired.

5. Use Your Imagination

When you’re working with your head down, your brain has an ongoing agenda: get things done, and do it well. That can be an effective method for productivity, but it only lasts so long—especially because checking things off your to-do list isn’t the only ingredient to success at work. You also need innovation.

That’s why I prioritize a “brain break” every day. When I feel my “cup” getting empty, I usually choose another creative activity to exercise my brain, like a Crossword puzzle, Sudoku, or an unrelated, creative project in my house.

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And when I’m really struggling to focus, I don’t do anything at all. Instead, I let my brain roam free for a bit, following my thoughts down whatever trail they lead me. As it turns out, there’s a scientific benefit to daydreaming. It reinforces creativity and helps you feel more engaged with the world, which will only benefit you in your work.[7]

Whether you help your kids with their distance learning homework, read an inspiring book, or just sit quietly to enjoy some fresh air, your brain will benefit from an opportunity to think and feel without an agenda. And, if you’re anything like me, you might just come up with your next great idea when you aren’t even trying.

Final Thoughts

Most of us have to work hard for our families and ourselves. And the current world we live in demands the highest level of productivity that we can offer. However, we also have to take a break once in a while. We are humans, after all.

Learning the art of properly taking a break will not only give you the rest you need but also increase your productivity in the long run.

More on the Importance of Taking a Break

Featured photo credit: Helena Lopes via unsplash.com

Reference

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