“The only way to avoid criticism is to do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard

Learning how to properly use negative feedback for your own growth is a useful tool in your personal development toolbox. In this post I’ll be discussing some ways you can use negative forms of feedback to accelerate your growth and development.

I’m confident in saying that you most likely welcome positive feedback with open arms. Some examples of positive feedback include a raise or promotion; praise for a job well done; your kids or spouse being overjoyed when you come home from work; realizing that you can run longer or lift heavier weights; losing an extra five pounds; or a general feeling of wellbeing.

With positive feedback, you know you’re on track and that your heading in the right direction.

But what about the negative kind? When your boss yells at you, or you lose money in a business venture, or you start to develop love handles, these forms of feedback cause discouragement and often keep us from moving forward. The thing is, negative feedback is just as important as the positive variety. But the key lies in how you deal with it.

There are essentially three ways you can deal with negative feedback:

  1. You can agree with it. This is what many of us do. We assume that it defines us, so we give up any hope that we can change — and as a result we don’t.
  2. You can deny it. You may feel better by burying your head in the sand, assuming that nothing has happened. But the truth is, you still do not make any progress.
  3. You can learn from it. This is the best way. There is a lot to learn from negative feedback, but you must be willing to dig deep and seek out the lessons that it contains. Failure or rejection are not negative things in and of themselves. They always contain deeper lessons if you are willing to look for them.

Overall, negative feedback allows you to constantly grow and improve yourself. Seeking excellence in life requires that you take an active part in seeking for ways to improve your personal development — learning from both the good and the bad.

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