You all know the feeling: The quarterly report you poured your heart and soul into is bleeding with red ink, and it feels like you got punched in the stomach. In times like these, it's easy to allow your defense mechanisms to cloud your judgement, rendering you nearly incapable of absorbing the critical but important feedback scrawled in red.
While taking criticism is no easy feat, hearing exactly what your work lacks may be the only way to improve and truly master your craft in the long run. The benefits of constructive criticism are boundless; from enabling yourself to view your work from a different perspective to venturing outside of your comfort zone, the positives truly outweigh the negatives.
Unfortunately, the human brain is hardwired for defensive action, even when the imminent threat isn't a life-or-death situation (as with constructive criticism). Knowing this, psychologists have long been researching ways to keep the defensive demons at bay, and have found a solution in cognitive behavioral therapy. Simply put, cognitive behavioral therapy asks you to pause, take an inventory of your thought patterns, and replace fear-based thoughts with sentiments more grounded in realistic thinking.
"[CBT was created] to help us become less trapped by feelings of fear, insecurity, doubt, and loss of confidence that come with distorted thinking," writes The Harvard Business Review. Classic CBT principles and techniques allow people to "reframe their initial, automatic thoughts, and become much better at giving and receiving feedback productively."
Would you give CBT a try? Share your thoughts below, and shop this book on the CBT basics to learn more.