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Why Every Successful Person Thrives on Negative Feedback

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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 September 9, 2021

              10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021

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              10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021

              Productivity planners and journals are tools of a trade. There’s an art to productivity. Just like art is very personal to the artist, productivity is very personal to the person. What works for you may not work for me. This is an important distinction if you really want get more done in less time.

              Too many of us dabble in productivity hacks only to move on to the next tool or trend when it didn’t workout for us, missing the lesson of what worked and didn’t work about that tool or trend.

              We put the tool on a pedestal and miss the art. It’s worshipping the paint brush rather than the process and act of painting. We miss the art of our own productivity when the tool overshadows the treasure.

              As an artist, you have many brushes to choose from. You’re looking for a brush that feels best in your hand. You want a brush that doesn’t distract you from your art but partners with you to create the many things you see in your mind to create. Finding a brush like this may take some experimenting, but when you understand that the role of the brush is to bring life to your vision, it’s easier to find the right brush.

              Planners are the same way. You want a productivity journal that supports you in the creation of your vision, not one that bogs you down or steals your energy.

              Let’s dive into the 10 best productivity planners and journals to help you get more done in less time.

              1. The One Thing Planner

              The NY Times best selling book, The One Thing, just released their new planner. If you loved this book, you’ll love this planner.

              As the founder of the world’s largest real estate company Keller Williams Realty, Gary Keller, has mastered the art of focus. The One Thing planner has its roots in industry changing productivity. If you’re out to put a dent in the universe, this may be the planner for you.

              Get the planner here!

              2. The Full Life Planner

              The Full Life Planner is Lifehacks’ ultimate planning system to get results across all your core life aspects including work, health and relationships. This smart planner is 15 years of Lifehack’s best practices and proven success formulas by top performers.

              With the Full Life Planner, you can align your actions to long term milestones every day, week, and month consistently. This will help you to get more done and achieve your goals.

              Get the planner here!

              3. The Freedom Journal

              Creator of one of the most prolific podcasts ever, Entrepreneur on Fire, John Lee Dumas released his productivity journal in 2016. This hard-cover journal focuses on accomplishing SMART goals in 100 days.

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              From their site:

              “The Freedom Journal is an accountability partner that won’t let you fail. John Lee Dumas has interviewed over 2000 successful Entrepreneurs and has created a unique step-by-step process that will guide you in SETTING and ACCOMPLISHING your #1 goal in 100 days.”

              Get the planner here!

              4. Full Focus Planner

              Michael Hyatt, author of Platform and host of the podcast “This is Your Life”, also has his own planner called the Full Focus Planner.

              From the site:

              “Built for a 90-day achievement cycle, the Full Focus Planner® gives you a quarter of a year’s content so you aren’t overwhelmed by planning (and tracking) 12 months at a time.”

              This productivity planner includes a place for annual goals, a monthly calendar, quarterly planning, the ideal week, daily pages, a place for rituals, weekly preview and quarterly previews. It also comes with a Quickstart lessons to help you master the use of the planner.

              Get the planner here!

              5. Passion Planner

              They call themselves the #pashfam and think of their planner as a “paper life coach”. Their formats include dated, academic and undated in hardbound journals with assorted colors. With over 600,000 users they have a track record for effective planners.

              From the site:

              “An appointment calendar, goal setting guide, journal, sketchbook, gratitude log & personal and work to-do lists all in one notebook.”

              They have a get-one give-one program. For every Passion Planner that is bought they will donate one to a student or someone in need.

              They also provide free PDF downloads of their planners. This is a great way to test drive if their planner is right for you.

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              Get the planner here!

              6. Desire Map Planners

              If you’re looking for a more spiritually oriented planner, Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map, created the Desire Map Planners. With Daily planners, Weekly planners and Undated planners you can find the right fit for you.

              Behind this planner is the Desire Map Planner Program including 3 workbooks that not only support you in using the planners but guide you in your thought process about your life and intentions you’re using the planner to help you fulfill.

              Get the planner here!

              7. Franklin Covey Planners

              The grandfather of all planners, Franklin Covey, has the most options when it comes to layouts, binders, and accessories. With over 30 years in the productivity planner business, they not only provide a ton of planner layouts, they also have been teaching productivity and planning from the beginning.

              From the site:

              “Achieve what matters most with innovative, high quality planners and binders tailored to your personal style. Our paper planning system guides you to identify values, create successful habits, and track and achieve your goals.”

              Get the planner here!

              8. Productivity Planner

              From the makers of the best selling journal backed by Tim Ferriss, “The Five Minute Journal”, comes the Productivity Planner.

              Combining the Ivy Lee method which made Charles Schwab millions with the Pomodoro Technique to stay focused in the moment, the Productivity Planner is both intelligent and effective.

              It allows for six months of planning, 5-day daily pages, weekly planning and weekly review, a prioritized task list, Pomodoro time tracking, and extra space for notes.

              From the site:

              “Do you often find yourself busy, while more important tasks get procrastinated on? The Productivity Planner helps you prioritize and accomplish the vital few tasks that make your day satisfying. Quality over quantity. Combined with the Pomodoro Technique to help you avoid distractions, the Productivity Planner assists you to get better work done in less time.”

              Get the planner here!

              9. Self Journal

              Endorsed by Daymond John of Shark Tank, the Self Journal takes a 13 week approach and combines Monthly, Weekly and Daily planning to help you stay focused on the things that really matter.

              Self Journal includes additional tools to help you produce with their Weekly Action Pad, Project Action Pad, the Sidekick pocket journal to capture your ideas on the go and their SmartMarks bookmarks that act as a notepad while you’re reading.

              Get the planner here!

              10. Google Calendar

              You may already use Google Calendar for appointments, but with a couple tweaks you can use it as a productivity planner.

              Productivity assumes we have time to do the work we intend to do. So blocking time on your Google Calendar and designating it as “busy” will prevent others from filling up those spaces on your calendar. Actually using those blocks of time as you intended is up to you.

              If you use a booking tool like Schedule Once or Calendly, you can integrate it with your Google Calendar. For maximum productivity and rhythm, I recommend creating a consistent “available” block of time each day for these kinds of appointments.

              Google Calendar is free, web based and to the point. If you’re a bottom line person and easily hold your priorities in your head, this may be a good solution for you.

              Get the planner here!

              Bonus Advice: Integrate the 4 Building Blocks of Productivity

              Just as important to productivity planners as the tool are the principles that we create inside of. There are 4 building blocks of productivity, that when embraced, accelerate your energy and results.

              The four building blocks of productivity are desire, strategy, focus and rhythm. When you get these right, having a productivity planner or journal provides the structure to keep you on track.

              Block #1: Desire

              Somehow in the pursuit of all our goals, we accumulate ideas and To-Do’s we’re not actually passionate about and don’t really want to pursue. They sneak their way in and steal our focus from the things that really matter.

              Underneath powerful productivity is desire. Not many little desires, but the overarching mother of desires. The desire you feel in your gut, the desire that comes from your soul, not your logic, is what you need to tap into if you want to level up your productivity.

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              A productivity planner is just a distraction if you’re not clear on what it’s all for. With desire, however, your productivity planner provides the guide rails to accomplish your intentions.

              Block #2: Strategy

              Once you’re clear on your overarching desire, you need to organize your steps to get there. Let’s call this “strategy”. Strategy is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle. You must first turn over all the pieces to see patterns, colors, connections and find borders.

              In business and life, we often start trying to put our “puzzle” together without turning over all the pieces. We put many items on our To-Do lists and clog our planners with things that aren’t important to the bigger picture of our puzzle.

              Strategy is about taking the time to brain dump all the things in your head related to your goal and then looking for patterns and priorities. As you turn over these puzzle pieces, you’ll begin to see the more important tasks that take care of the less important tasks or make the less important tasks irrelevant.

              In the best selling book, The One Thing, the focusing question they teach is:

              “What’s the One thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else is easier or unnecessary?”

              This is the heart of strategy and organizing what hits your planner and what doesn’t.

              Block #3: Focus

              With your priorities identified, now you can focus on the One Thing that makes everything else easier or unnecessary. This is where your productivity planners and journals help you hold the line.

              Because you’ve already turned over the puzzle pieces, you aren’t distracted by new shiny objects. If new ideas come along, and they will, you will better see how and where they fit in the big picture of your desire and strategy, allowing you to go back and focus on your One Thing.

              Block #4: Rhythm

              The final building block of productivity is rhythm. There is a rhythm in life and work that works best for you. When you find this rhythm, time stands still, productivity is easy and your experience of work is joyful.

              Some call this flow. As you hone your self-awareness about your ideal rhythm you will find yourself riding flow more often and owning your productivity.

              Without these four building blocks of productivity, you’re like a painter with a paintbrush and no idea how to use it to create what’s in your heart to create. But harness these four building blocks and find yourself getting more done in less time.

              The Bottom Line

              Your life is your art. Everyday you have a chance to create something amazing. By understanding and using the four building blocks of productivity, you will set yourself up for success no matter which planner, or “paintbrush”, you choose to use.

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              As you experiment with different planners you will narrow which one is best for you and accelerate your path to putting a dent in the universe.

              More Tools to Boost Your Productivity

              Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

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