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How I Rewired My Brain To Love Critical Feedback

Written by: Greg Smith

The internal feedback I get from my team can be brutal. One recent review: you tell people what to do instead of showing them how to problem-solve for themselves. You race through solutions without stopping to hear that we’ve already tried them all!

It was direct, and it was hard to hear. But my first thought: what a gift. I’m genuinely grateful for you telling me how much I suck.

To be clear, that sort of reaction wasn’t always the case for me. It’s instinctive now, but the fact is, I was sensitive and insecure as a teen. It took years of conditioning to turn those exquisitely compromising moments into an occasion for — and I’m being honest here — joy. But with time, I was able to rewire my body’s response to criticism.

And if I can turn a scathing critique into my day’s highlight, anyone can.

Now, more than ever, this ability to find joy in failure is not just a work skill, but a life skill. We’re living at a time of reinvention and change, trying lots of new things and (to be frank) probably doing some of them terribly. Developing that ability to absorb and really cherish critical feedback is a critical competitive edge for entrepreneurs, leaders and pretty much anyone seeking to get ahead. For organizations, learning how to rewire failure at a company-wide level can mean the difference between thriving and flailing in the post-Covid economy.

Importantly, this isn’t just wishful thinking. It’s a rewiring of the brain, and it works.

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