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How to deal with opposition, take criticism, and learn from it all

Written by
remi.gould

Take a few deep breaths, the world can wait

We can easily grow protective of something after having placed much time and effort into its creation. When someone has critiques of our creation, the mama-bear instincts come into play. How dare they have their own opinions!? I’ve placed so much thought into this, there’s no way I’m wrong! Those thoughts seem egotistical and childish because they are…

This behavior is unfortunately manifested by a great number of us when faced with opposition or criticism. We get overcome by emotions which cause us to rush into reactions we would otherwise view as unreasonable. How do we take control of our reactions when we are barely conscious of the magnitude at which they’re affecting us?

Let’s start by taking a few deep breaths. Whether you’re knowingly practicing meditation or simply taking a few deep breaths because some guy on the internet suggested you do so, the results will be the same. Take a moment to let the initial emotions flutter by. Allow yourself to realize that both your minds are using identical neurological processes. We’re all human. We’re all flawed.

What size shoes do you wear?

Most of the time people don’t simply oppose you in spite. They’ve spent time, regardless of the amount, thinking about their stance and believe they are right. Instead of becoming defensive, which makes us closed-minded, we should respectfully ask them to explain their positions. Place yourself in their shoes even if they don’t fit. The open-mindedness to allow communication with the opposition is a very important tool for personal growth. How will you ever learn from your mistakes if you never accept that you’ve made some?

Once you’ve placed yourself in the opposition’s shoes, respectfully discussed the subject, and have allowed their thought process to sink in, one of two possibilities can occur. You have either realized that you were partially or completely incorrect in your initial thought process, or have had the opportunity to defend your stance successfully.

If received with an open mind, the former will broaden your knowledge on the debated subject. Realizing that you’ve been incorrect is a blessing. Only by accepting that we’ve been misguided in our thoughts, can we break free from our beliefs preventing us from progressing in the right direction.

If you experience the latter, it’s important to remain humble. There is no loser in a discussion of ideas, there is only learning on both sides. By defending your ideas, you are forced to explore new angles offered by the opposition’s perspective.

The earth USED to be, without a doubt, flat…

If you believe in the earth being flat and are incredibly offended by my statement, please refer to the first paragraph of this blog. I’m not trying to attack your beliefs. The simple point I’m trying to make is that certain concepts, that are believed to be common sense in 2019, were once thought of as ridiculous. Even those “common sense” concepts, may still be proven to be wrong at some point in the future. It’s important to remember how much is still unknown to us. We may feel like we have all the answers, but we don’t.

Nobody expects you to know everything. In fact, it’s impossible to know everything. Even with the immense amount of information available to us on the internet. In my opinion, the most important characteristics to maintain in order to continue learning, are curiosity, humility, and persistence. The curiosity to ask questions when you’re not certain, and to seek out the opinions of others. The humility to accept when you’re incorrect, and to listen to someone who may know more about the subject than you do. Finally, the persistence to not get discouraged and to continue the cycle, of curiosity and humility, after having been proven wrong on multiple occasions.

Communication, Honesty, Procrastination, Introspection. If you have an interest in further exploring these subjects, please feel free to visit my Youtube Channel. Bistoury!

 

Remi Gould, Technical Planner
Missing Link Technologies ltd.

More article by Remi:

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Image credit: Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

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