How people (including myself) react to being corrected has been on my mind this week.
As some of you know, I am reading (and have finished!) Principles by Ray Dalio and it is just fantastic. There is so much useful knowledge about life in general and working in a team that each time I sit down to read, I feel like I come away with many useful insights. There is a decent sized section in the book that discusses how people respond with their “lower-level selves” when they receive constructive criticism or things are not done the way they think is correct. Essentially, you respond with your ego as your first line of defense. Which, naturally, makes you defensive. And you stop trying to take in the lesson. Taking correction and accepting it is so important for growth. (Also, to clarify, I am mainly talking about correction coming from someone that is more knowledgeable.)
This of course made me start to think about how I respond to correction or criticism. Are there times when I respond with my ego instead of simply listening and thinking about what the other person is saying? Are there particular situations like this that cause my ego to respond more?
First of all, I want to make this clear, that I want to be teachable and I do not always have to be right. I want to be able to do things the correct way, which could be running an experiment at work or doing a particular lift with a barbell. Though I do not always respond according to my core belief. I am human and make mistakes after all.
So upon reflection, I realized that I respond to correction differently according to the way it is presented to me. At the gym, I happily take correction and use it immediately because I perceive the correction to be to make me better. However. If I perceive the correction as condescending or rude, I immediately respond with my “lower-level self” because the correction came to simply demonstrate that I was doing something wrong and not to aid in my improvement. This type of correction drives me a bit crazy because it is not a comment made to engender personal growth but to make the corrector feel better. This is pretty common with arrogant people in my opinion.
In recognizing my reactions, I can greet the emotion when it is rising up and notice how I am responding, giving me enough time to stop my ego from taking the driver’s seat. I believe that using this as a tool will allow me to become more comfortable with my emotions and learn how to tune my reactions.
So what are your thoughts on correction? Do you find that you struggle with it or have you come up with methods to deal with it? I would love to hear your story!