Never make a promise when you’re happy. Never make a decision when you’re angry.
Information and knowledge is power and yet we choose to ignore or discount perhaps the greatest source of knowledge for personal growth: FEEDBACK! We don’t like what we see or hear and defense mechanisms kick in and reality isn’t met head on. Business entrepreneurs agree that pivoting (immediately changing direction and pursuing a different strategy when encountering failure) is a necessary action when growing a business. This is also empowering behavior in one’s personal life. The ego is reluctant to let go (it has a vested interest in the status quo and doesn’t like change), but successful healthy people do it all the time. It’s called growth.
Feedback (if paid attention to) can lead to change. We can change the dynamics of a relationship or the perceived hopelessness of a situation. The power of a smile should never be underestimated. Consider the impact a genuine warm smile has on a relationship. Good feelings abound and trust is made possible. Do you smile frequently? How do strangers relate to you? A dating tip – if you look unapproachable you won’t be approached.
We prefer others to change (e.g. why won’t they listen to me) but the reality is we are the ones that need to change because we have that option. We can influence others and be a catalyst and be supportive but the desire for real change has to come from within if the change is to be lasting and sustainable. If others won’t listen to you, could it be that your method of delivery is lacking or that message is offensive, boring or being broadcast to the wrong audience. Toastmasters is a wonderful experience for those who wish to enhance their public speaking skills.
On being a catalyst – don’t expect immediate transformation and accept that some will be indifferent to your message regardless of how well intentioned you are. Just observe how others respond (body language, facial gestures, verbal responses etc) and adjust/tweak your message and communication style to encourage change. It’s an iterative process that takes time.
You tell a joke – are there nervous titters from the audience or uninhibited guffaws? The responses should tell you a lot about the audience, context, timing and the appropriateness of the material. Sarcasm can be funny but are you getting the feedback and response you desire. There can be positive feedback (tell me more or that’s really a good idea) which creates connection and fosters intimacy or there can be negative feedback (intimidating behavior, put downs etc) that causes alienation and distancing.
Humor is a strange creature. Maggie Smith (a legendary British actress) has a line “whose yacht is that?” in the play Private Lives. It never fails to bring the house down. Maggie is said to have timing from God.
I consider exploitation as a type of feedback; it says volumes about the health and effectiveness of your boundaries, the strength of your convictions and the value you place on your time. We teach people how to treat us.
Behaviors can be strengthened and confidence can be built with positive feedback as all good parents and managers know. Develop the awareness to discern behaviors that should be reinforced and provide appropriate feedback for those behaviors.
Feedback shouldn’t be volunteered. Unsolicited advice is unwelcomed and usually ineffectual. I’m thinking of an elderly woman (former movie star) who had lots of plastic surgery and the risk she might encounter if she asked for feedback. One commenter said sarcastically “nipped, tucked, pulled, stretched, injected , implanted … you too can look years younger”