7/13/17 - Secret Weapon: Negative Feedback
If you pay attention to the men and women that are operating at the highest level, you’ll notice a commonality. They all are extremely close to their failures. Some are disgusted by them and are fueled by their lack of perfection, while others just see them as learning opportunities. Either way, the style of this is preferential. The critical piece, however, is that the best in the game know their weaknesses well. Said differently, these high performers are, at least, interested in the information tucked inside of negative feedback. As a result, they have a more full awareness. They understand their truth more completely.
Low performance individuals who are living under a thick glass ceiling are often caught interested in a false reality. They want partial awareness. They only want to know the good news. They only want to know about the parts that feel good. This, of course, means that, at best, they can be as good as they are now. What a horribly limited plight!
When looking for founders to invest in, the self-made billionaire, Naval Ravikant, believes that there are some key red flag characteristics to look for. For example, he won’t invest in alleged promising young businesses if their founders are constantly interested in positive feedback. To paraphrase his view, he believes that when it comes to the long, challenging road to start-up success that those who are interested in positive feedback likely won’t survive the trek. After all, life provides plenty negative feedback to high performers and low performers alike. The smart ones suck the marrow out of it.
Naval isn’t the only one that knows the power of awareness towards negative stimulus. Researchers often describe adverse life events as catalyst for development. In Otto Scharmer’s Theory U, he recounts transcending his current stage of consciousness the moment he pulled up to the scene of his home burning to the ground with all of his belongs inside as a child. I won’t need to do much convincing to argue that this fire was a massive lightening bolt of adversity in his life. This hyperbolic form of negative feedback was an unknowable reality that allowed for, in his case, an out of body experience where he realized that he was neither his past nor his worldly possessions, but something outside of the experience he was observing. Like I’ve said before, anything that challenges your assumptions breaks your developmental frame. This frame shattering experience is cataclysmic for growth to a new, more complex frame. We can consider the fire that erased young Otto’s material existence from the face of the Earth as a major challenge to his assumptions of his life until that point. What emerged from that lightning bolt of adversity was a newly developed state of consciousness that, while included his past understandings, transcended the limits of his previous way of thinking.
If adversity or, in this case, the act of seeking negative feedback is often associated with transitional growth experiences, we can start to make an argument that putting ourselves in environments that increase our exposures to negative feedback can be a secret weapon to achieving peak performance.
20 Overhead DB Walking Lunges (50/35)
10 Deadlifts (225/155)