"Thank you for sharing your perspective."

creativity personal development stoicism Aug 18, 2021
image of cat with critical expression

Let's be clear. Feedback is important.

If you're going to get better at making a bigger difference, you must seek and reflect on the insights and questions shared by learned and trusted friends and fellow travelers.
But not all feedback is created equal, and all too often, the volunteered comments of acquaintances or strangers are neither on point nor helpful.

If you're doing work that matters out loud and in public, you're going to receive unwelcome and unhelpful reactions and responses from well-intended critics, know-it-alls, and self-selected "experts." What to do?

Thank them.

Most people who volunteer comments on other's efforts think they're being helpful and generous. Almost no one wakes up thinking, "Gee, I hope I can cause someone distress and harm today by sharing unwelcome thoughtless and myopic advise."

Regardless of its motive or utility, recognizing someone else's opinion keeps it at arm's length. You can hold it out, turn it over, and examine its intent and value and then decide if there's a there worth considering.

Acknowledgment is not the same as endorsement. It's simply a way of accepting what is without giving it the power to take over your inner dialogue. You can allow an opinion without ceding to strong emotional reactions and unhealthy value judgments about the comments, its source, your work, or yourself.

"Thank you for sharing your perspective" is a phrase I keep top of mind and close at hand for the daily drip of commentary that flows my way. What's your strategy for navigating the inevitable slings and arrows of outrageous and unsolicited response to the difference only you can make?


Scott Perry, Chief Difference-Maker at Creative on Purpose.

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