Once you begin to take action on a project or a goal, you’ll start getting feedback about whether you’re doing the right thing. You’ll get data, advice, help, suggestions, direction and even criticism, which will help you constantly adjust and move forward, while continually enhancing your knowledge, abilities, attitudes and relationships. But asking for feedback is really only the first part of the equation. Once you receive feedback you have to be willing to embrace it and respond to it.

Two types of feedback. There are two kinds of feedback you might encounter, negative and positive. We tend to prefer the positive: results, money, praise, promotion, raises, awards, happiness, inner peace, etc. It feels better. It tells us we are on course and doing the right thing. We tend not to like negative feedback: lack of results, little or no money, criticism, poor evaluations, complaints, unhappiness, inner conflict, pain, etc.

However, there is as much useful data in negative feedback as there is in positive feedback. It tells us that we are off course, headed in the wrong direction or doing the wrong thing. This is priceless information.

How most people handle the negative. Three of the most common—and unproductive—responses to negative criticism are:

  1. Caving in or quitting. How many times have you or someone you know hit an obstacle and given up the goal because it was too hard or “not meant to be”? This is a poor way to respond to criticism, because all it does it keep you stuck in the same place.
  2. Getting mad at the source of the feedback. How many times have you responded with anger, hostility or resentment when someone has given you negative feedback? This serves only to push away the messenger and the feedback, when the message may be exactly what you need to move closer to your goal.
  3. Ignoring the feedback. We all know people who tune out everyone’s point of view but their own. The sad thing is that the feedback they are blocking could significantly change their lives, if only they would listen.

If you fall into any of these traps, try to remember that feedback is not criticism. It is simply information—corrective guidance that’s meant to help to get you back on course to achieve your goal. I like to refer to negative feedback as information for “improvement opportunities.”

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Jack Canfield, America’s success coach, is the founder and co-creator of the billion-dollar book brand “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and a leading authority on peak performance. If you’re ready to jump start your life, make more money and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your free success tips from Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com.