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Why Every Successful Person Thrives on Negative Feedback

Why Every Successful Person Thrives on Negative Feedback

Have you ever made a mistake that could have been avoided if only you’d listened to someone else? We’ve all done it. Even large corporations mess up from time to time.

Take the cautionary tale of Facebook Home. Launched in April 2013, Facebook Home was billed as an application that would change the “look and feel” of a user’s phone. Specifically, it was designed as an app that would transform a user’s default phone screen into a Facebook wrapper. The idea was that users would be able to interact with Facebook any time without having to log in to an app.[1]

    Unfortunately, the app’s creators didn’t recognise that Android phones make extensive use of folders, widgets, and other components that the Facebook team overlooked.

    On the face of it, this seems surprising. You’d be forgiven for thinking that Facebook would have the technical knowledge required to build an app that works for Android. Yet, according to one theory, the team made an embarrassing error that proved to be their undoing. They focused on what would work for devices running iOS, not Android, simply because the team personally used iPhones.[2] Their perception was skewed in one direction only, meaning they overlooked the needs of many customers.

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    Getting feedback isn’t always fun, but is vital

    What could have averted the Facebook Home calamity? Two things would have made all the difference. First, regular testing across iOS and Android systems would have identified problems. Second, Facebook should have collected customer feedback as they developed the app.

    However, humans often have an innate aversion to criticism. We don’t like to be wrong, and even if criticism is constructive, we can experience it as a personal attack. In fact, our fear of criticism can lead us to blame external forces and other people for our mistakes. In other words, we make external attributions. We would rather blame luck, other people’s errors, and circumstances beyond our control rather than face the fact that we have made a mistake.

        In some cases, people become so closed off to outside input that they no longer consider anyone else’s perspective.[3] This often happens to leaders who have already enjoyed a degree of success, and have become overconfident as a result. Their power means that they can shut everyone else down, and fire people who don’t agree with their opinions and decisions. They reject other people’s feedback, and refuse to take criticism on board. This trap is called the Hubris Trap. It may be the biggest, most dangerous obstacle to effective leadership. [4]

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        The cost of avoiding criticism

          Someone who avoids criticism because they want to maintain their self-image as someone who is right risks stunting their personal and professional growth. When we deny personal responsibility and instead blame external factors for our failures, we are letting ourselves off the hook. If you don’t believe that your success lies within your own hands, you won’t be so inclined to put in the effort required to make your projects successful.

          If you don’t seek out criticism and feedback, your product or service is at risk of failure. Even if the product is of high quality, it will never be profitable if no one wants to buy it. It is possible to spend months or years developing a new product, only to see it flop because it has no audience. The consequences can be disastrous.

          Take Facebook Home as an example. Originally, Facebook had planned to charge users $99 for a two-year subscription, but due to a lack of demand, this price dropped to just $0.99 within a few weeks of its release. The company also had to restructure their company. In short, the Facebook Home team made a mistake that cost the company a considerable amount of money and effort.[5]

          Take criticism like an expert

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            Truly successful people know how to accept criticism without taking it as a personal attack. Their self-confidence means that they are comfortable evaluating feedback from others, and deciding whether to act on it. They do this without falling into the trap of assuming that a single negative experience or failure means that they themselves are beyond redemption.

            Get used to anticipating negative feedback

            There will always be someone out there who doesn’t like your work or your approach. The sooner you can get used to the idea that everyone is subjected to criticism and that it’s possible to be criticised and keep your self-esteem intact at the same time, the happier you will be. It’s OK to fail! Give yourself permission to get things wrong every now and then.

            Keeping your ego in check is difficult, but taking an objective look at a piece of criticism or feedback will benefit you in the long run. After all, how will you know where to begin improving yourself or your work otherwise? If you think about it, criticism is useful because it gives you actionable points. For example, “You did so well!” is less helpful than “Your presentation was good, but your speaking voice was a little too high.”

            Be aware though, some criticism is unhelpful. Check out this guide to help you decide whether someone’s feedback is sensible.

            Get feedback quickly

            You should aim to get feedback on your work and ideas as soon as possible. The sooner you get feedback, the sooner you can put things right! The Facebook Home team received feedback, but only after the product was launched. By then, it was too late. Just think of how much money, time and embarrassment they could have saved if they had asked their audience to trial the product before launching it.

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              There isn’t a successful person alive who hasn’t been on the receiving end of criticism at some point. If you are going to commit yourself to a project or business venture, you need to be prepared for negative feedback. However, as long as you know how to accept it, criticism needn’t hold you back. In fact, it can be the best gift you ever get!

              Featured photo credit: Freepik via freepik.com

              Reference

              More by this author

              Leon Ho

              Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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              Last Updated on January 13, 2020

              50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success

              50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success

              Let’s face it – no matter how excited you are about a new project or priority in your life, there will always be days when your motivation lags. Days when – despite all the progress you’ve made in the past – it just sounds easier to sit on the couch playing video games than to buckle down and crank out the work needed to meet your goals.

              In order to be successful, you must be able to motivate yourself past these humps. Whenever you feel your drive and determination lagging, turn to these motivational quotes for work to provide the extra spark of passion needed to keep you on track.

              Quotes about Goal Setting

              Whether you’re still in the planning phases of your business or whether you’re plotting a plan of attack to bring about your long-range vision, setting good goals is a critical part of succeeding in business.

              Check out these quotes for extra inspiration on how to turn your dreams into reality:

              quote-Benjamin-E.-Mays-the-tragedy-in-life-doesnt-lie-in-106113

                “The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”– Benjamin Mays


                “By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own.”–Mark Victor Hansen


                “Give yourself an even greater challenge than the one you are trying to master and you will develop the powers necessary to overcome the original difficulty.”–William J. Bennett – The Book of Virtues


                “The entrepreneur is essentially a visualizer and actualizer… He can visualize something, and when he visualizes it he sees exactly how to make it happen.”–Robert L. Schwartz

                Quotes about Achieving Excellence in Work

                Once you’ve got your goals together, you’ll need to put in 110% of your effort in order to transform these visions into reality. To increase your motivation to work at a consistently high level, take a look at the following words of wisdom:

                “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”–Aristotle


                “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”–Charles R. Swindoll

                Desire is the key to motivation

                  “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”–Mario Andretti


                  “The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.”–Pearl Buck


                  “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”–Vince Lombardi

                  Quotes about Determination and Persistence

                  Since every business or other endeavor is bound to hit some rough patches, it’s often a person’s level of determination and patience that brings about either success or failure. These positive quotes give you an extra boost of encouragement:

                  “Enter every activity without giving mental recognition to the possibility of defeat. Concentrate on your strengths, instead of your weaknesses… on your powers, instead of your problems.”–Paul J. Meyer


                  “Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”–Hal Borland


                  “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”–Calvin Coolidge

                  quote-Thomas-Fuller-an-invincible-determination-can-accomplish-almost-anything-92190

                    “An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.”–Thomas Fuller

                    Quotes about Leadership

                    Whether you use it to engage your employees, to encourage teamwork or motivate others to follow your unique way of thinking, leadership is crucial. Take your leadership cues from these renowned leaders’ famous sayings:

                    “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born — that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” –Warren G. Bennis


                    “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”–John Kenneth Galbraith

                    Leadership is not magnetic personality

                      “Leadership is not magnetic personality — that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’ — that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”–Peter F. Drucker


                      “The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.”–John Buchan


                      “High sentiments always win in the end. The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.”–George Orwell

                      Quotes for Success

                      Think of success as a holistic process – one which results from the combination of goal-setting, excellence, patience, determination and leadership you prioritize throughout your career. These highly successful people provide you with an excellent source of motivation:

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                      “Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.”–Stephen Covey


                      “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”–Norman Vincent Peale

                      Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

                        “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”–Winston Churchill


                        “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”–John Maxwell


                        “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”– Thomas J. Watson


                        “The great successful men of the world have used their imagination.  They think ahead and create their mental picture in all its details, filling in here, adding a little there, altering this a bit and that a bit, but steadily building – steadily building.”–Robert Collier


                        “It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.”–Arnold Toynbee

                        Sports Quotes for Athletes

                        You don’t need to be a Michael Jordan-caliber athlete to draw inspiration from the following quotes. Even if you’re just a recreational player or someone who’s using sports as a means to get back in shape after long periods of inactivity, the following motivational sports quotes will encourage you:

                        “My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”–Michael Jordan


                        “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”–Lance Armstrong

                        Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.

                          “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”–Arnold Schwarzenegger


                          “I know what I have to do, and I’m going to do whatever it takes. If I do it, I’ll come out a winner, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else does.”–Florence Griffith Joyner


                          “Every time you stay out late; every time you sleep in; every time you miss a workout; every time you don’t give 100% – You make it that much easier for me to beat you.”–Unknown


                          “If you are hurt, whether in mind or body, don’t nurse your bruises. Get up and light-heartedly, courageously, good temperedly get ready for the next encounter. This is the only way to take life – this is also ‘playing’ the game!”–Emily Post


                          “We must train from the inside out. Using our strengths to attack and nullify any weaknesses. It’s not about denying a weakness may exist but about denying its right to persist.”–Vince McConnell

                          Quotes to Motivate Learning

                          Committing yourself to pursuing knowledge in a single area is a tremendous endeavor – one that often seems overwhelming given the depth and breadth of information that’s available today. Keep the following motivational quotes in mind if you’re learning:

                          “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”–George Washington Carver

                          quote-William-Arthur-Ward-if-you-can-imagine-it-you-can-36189

                            “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”–William Arthur Ward


                            “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”– Aristotle


                            “Success is not the key to happiness.Happiness is the key to success.If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”–Albert Schweitzer


                            “Wear your learning, like your watch, in a private pocket: and do not pull it out and strike it, merely to show that you have one.”–Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield


                            “He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”–Chinese Proverb


                            “Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing.”–William Arthur Ward


                            “Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled ‘This could change your life’.”–Helen Exley


                            “A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.”–Chinese Proverb

                            All-Time Favorite Positive Quotes

                            Finally, whatever your goals are in life, you can’t go wrong by taking the advice of the following famous motivational quotes:

                            “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”–Norman Vincent Peale


                            “Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”–Steve Jobs


                            “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”–Maria Robinson


                            “Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity.”–Albert Einstein


                            “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”–Lyndon Johnson

                            If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.

                              “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”–Thomas Edison


                              “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”–Wayne Gretzky


                              “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”–Winston Churchill


                              “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”–Ralph Waldo Emerson

                              Final Thoughts

                              To use these motivational quotes effectively, find the one that speaks to you. Although all of the phrases listed above can be considered “motivational,” only you can decide which one resonates with you most directly.

                              Next, take the quote you’ve settled on and copy it onto small index cards or other pieces of paper that can be stored around your home and workspace.

                              If you’re creative, you can create inspiration boards, signs or other decorative displays featuring your favorite motivational quotes – really, though, the most important thing is that your chosen phrase be accessible in a variety of different places. This will make it easy to access and review whenever you feel your motivation slipping away.

                              More Inspiring Quotes

                              Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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