Want to vs. Need to Hear

I am coming to realize that I receive criticism in two ways: one way is from someone with whom I have built a long-term relationship who can objectively and constructively provide me feedback (wouldn’t be great if we always received feedback that way). The other way is when someone has a message I need to hear that I don’t want to hear.

It has taken me a long time to realize which professional areas I need to improve upon. For a long time, one of the areas I need to work on has been my writing. I was convinced I was a proficient to moderate writer although I was told multiple times I needed to improve my grammar and structure. It took a number of comments from people who were much better writers than I for me to start to see how much my writing needed to improve.

Through those experiences I started to learn how to receive information I needed to hear but didn’t want to hear. It is altogether too easy to listen to those people in our lives who will only affirm us and tell us we do everything well. But it takes a lot of internal strength to receive criticism.

Do you have any tips and techniques on how to receive this kind of information? Leave a comment below.

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4 Responses to Want to vs. Need to Hear

  1. […] We’re Reading, Week of 11/30 From Small Change… Want to vs. Need to Hear I brief but thought-provoking post from Jason at A Small Change about how we all view and receive […]

  2. Oh there’s nothing like swallowing your pride and hearing what needs to be heard! I think it’s important that if you are receiving feedback, to be as objective about yourself as possible. We don’t want anyone to talk bad about our families, our homes, or anything we possess, because we have an emotional attachment to them. So the thought that anyone can pick on us directly is just stirring. Yet, do we really need to focus on our weaknesses? Many people spend alot of time trying to improve their weaknesses and not focusing on their strengths. I think one of the best ways to become more effective is to look at your assets, your underlying strengths, and use those as leverage to accomplish your goals.

  3. I too am a person who has difficulty hearing what I need to hear but don’t want to. However, it does need to happen for change and learning to occur. As you wrote above, you eventually became a better writer as a result of the interaction with others. It is terribly difficult to listen to as it is happening, but after-the-fact, it can become a tiny blessing in disguise. I am a pessimist by nature and as a result I use this as a strength rather than a weakness. I see it as a means to protect against any possible eventuality that might occur. I prepare and quite possibly over-prepare for anything that I need to do to make sure that the worst doesn’t happen. It makes me a detailed and thorough person as a result. I say look at these times as learning experiences and see it as an exercise in humility. We aren’t all born with the skills that are necessary to survive, they must be taught. So too with any other skills. People skills, street smarts, etc. it is all a matter of learning from someone else or through experience. At least that is my perspective on the matter.

  4. […] }); // A couple months ago, I wrote a post, Want to Versus Need to Hear. I had some great follow-up comments from that post, but I didn’t really give any practical […]

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