I Asked You Because I Know I Can Trust You…
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
Last week, my housemate talked to me about his problems. He had some problems regarding his relationships with certain friends and housemates. He asked me about my feedback on him and how to settle his problems. Although there was a little bit of quarreling and resistance from him before he got down to my opinion, he accepted it and promised to do something about it. I could see a ‘defensive mechanism’ working, as usual but he had the courage to ask for feedback and talk face to face. Of course it was hard for him to accept everything at that moment but I asked him to take time and rethink about it. Above all, I appreciate his courage to ask for improvement even though he is elder than me. Deep in my heart, I hope he can make it up.
In our life, being corrected by other people or asking for feedbacks are two different things although the results are still the same. Both will get other people’s views, opinion and feedback on us. The different is the courage to go in front and ask for it. It’s also the same courage needed to listen to negative responses from others, still smile and willing to respond. Take words from Winston Churchill;
“When you are being corrected, what does it take to accept it with smile and say to that people thank you? It is courage and faith. It is about getting opinion of people around you to improve yourselves. It will give you chances to take care of your weaknesses and maybe can open up a new opportunity on you. Be positive and be optimist.”
For me, feedback or response can be positive and negative. A lot of people tend to prefer the positive such as praises, happiness, awards and good results. It makes us feel better and appreciated. It also tells us that we are right on track doing the true thing. However, the diverse goes to negative feedback. It gives us criticism, complaints, unhappiness, inner conflict and pain.
While accepting negative feedback is hard and feels bitter, it has as much useful data and information in it as there is in positive feedback. In fact, it’s so valuable that I like to refer it as ‘improvement opportunities’. The world has simply given me opportunities on where and how I can improve myself or what I am doing. It’s like riding a car to a destination but mistakenly taking wrong course. However being reminded by Garmin GPS, we take off the course, make a detour and find a new, true path.
‘Feedback is the breakfast of a champion’. I forget who said it but it gives me a realization on how much it works on people who aim for improvement and success. Here is a place to get better; here is where we can correct our behavior to get even closer to what we dream for – success in career, a better relationship, wealth or self improvement towards God. So, why don’t we embrace it welcomingly, the same way when we receive the positive feedback?
In my life, I observe how people react to it especially to negative feedback. I also learn it through my own experiences, when I did mistakes and how I unconsciously respond to it. (1) Some will break down and cry, “I can’t take it anymore. It’s too hard to take this negative criticism. I quit!” (2) Some will get into defensive mode, become mad and reacted with anger and hostility toward someone who was giving the feedback. (3) The remaining will just ignore it. Of course the first and second are simply ineffective. The third one is totally out of question. Although it may temporarily release whatever emotions build up but it takes us out of the game. It’s simply information that may be useful for us in the future, no need to take it personally. Just welcome it and use it thoughtfully.
Nonetheless, I also learn how much people are not voluntarily giving feedback. They feel scared, uncomfortable with possible confrontation or bad outcome. They don’t want to hurt our feeling and afraid of our reaction. So, sometimes we have to approach them, ask for it and make it safe for them to talk. Be willing to ask, be willing to face it and be prepared for the ‘truth’. Truth is truth. It won’t change. Better off knowing the truth than not knowing anything. At least you can do something; you can fix what’s broken or impaired.
What is the worst part if we avoid it? You will be the only one who is not in the secret. The opposite possibly has already told their friends, parents or anyone about what they are dissatisfied with. In the other hand, you are still in your own world. You still did the mistakes and eventually you deprived of the very thing you need to improve. Although you may know it one day but its hurtful once you know because the closest person to you never mentioned it but people has already know. That’s why now and again, we need to be more proactive; beware of the changes and take one step forward to solve it first.
Bear in mind that eating those words has never give me indigestion. I can still eat like before, I can still sleep after putting a thought on it and it feels great to know the truth. So, what’s wrong in doing mistakes? By doing more mistakes and mistakes, we can evolve more and more to the better level. For me, it is the successful recipe of the well known people in this world. For real, be an optimist person. It does not seem too much use being anything else. Put action on it, work on it. Make the improvement. There is nothing else to offer except honesty, courage and trust; to be a different people who dream big and bear large responsibility.
“Human beings were given a left foot and a right foot to make mistake first to the left, then to the right, left again and repeat.”
Nevertheless, being a good Muslim is not about doing the same mistakes repetitively. Do one mistake, learn from it, improve and never do the same mistake. Whatever it is, it’s important to listen to any feedback. Simply take a step and listen. Listen externally to what others may be telling you, but also listen internally to what your principle, your feelings, your intuitions and instincts may be telling you. If you are as good to go; you feel the path is right for you, in this world and hereafter, just proceed with your life and pray that God always with you.
I happened to did mistakes some times and I tried my best to acknowledge it. I wrote it down in my private blog – My Insight file, read through it often and inscribed several improvements. I learned to thank them for the feedbacks whether it’s positive or negative. Maybe sometimes I tried to explain, justifying and blaming but in the end I felt it was a waste of time when it came to a certain situation.
I remind myself that my dream, successful life consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. It is just one step ahead of me. So, I must not give it up. Positive attitude and optimism is a little thing that will make a big difference in my life. Takes time to refocus on vision, incorporate the lessons learned, recommit to original plan or create a new action plan and get on with it.
Just stay in the game; be patience and keep moving forward toward the fulfillment of our dreams and destiny.
Before we finished our talk, I told my housemate, ‘It’s a pain for me to keep a lie and pretending like I don’t know. So, I am here, talking honestly to you so it will remain till I died. Just like Prophet Muhammad SAW said;
“When we died, there is only 3 things that are continued to give us benefits in afterlife; a good child, a useful knowledge thought to others and the charity we gave.”
‘Hopefully you can take my feedback and rethink about it. It’s not like you has got to do it all at once but the courage of you to ask and act on it, it will make a difference.’ He thanked me and before he left, he said,
‘I asked you because I know I can trust you…’
After all, it is about courage, trust and faith.