As part of my “NBA Playoff thoughts” series, I will be exploring introspective thoughts that come to me throughout the duration of the NBA Playoffs. In this article, I will be exploring the importance of feedback. Related: Everyone needs to warm up – NBA Playoff thoughts pt 1, The benefits of having a mentor – NBA Playoff thoughts pt 2.

The 2017 NBA Finals features a highly anticipated rematch between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. For three consecutive seasons now, the Warriors square off against the Cavaliers.

With the Warriors, we (I’m saying “we” as a Dubs fan) have 4 NBA All-stars, and 2 MVPs. The Cavaliers have a dynamic duo in Lebron James, who is arguably the best player in the league right now, and Kyrie Irving. Both teams are heading to the finals with tremendous momentum.

There’s an air of revenge that’s sweeping through the bay area. Right now, the Warriors are a bay area attraction for basketball fanatics and casual observers. We are still healing from the 3-1 debacle that occurred last year. I believe the only way to fully close up that wound will be to win, definitively.

It’s the rematch everyone in the Bay Area has been waiting for since last year! Go Dubs! Source: @johnasilo.png

Despite the rivalry between the two strongest teams in the NBA right now, the Warriors and the Cavaliers share one thing in common with the rest of the NBA teams. Feedback from the media is abundant.

With the proliferation of social media outlets and “Freedom of Speech”, anyone can become a sports critic. Whether you are a casual fan or professional commentator NBA players are inundated with ways they can become better players.

If you go onto any NBA Facebook post, Instagram video, or Youtube highlight reel, you will find that everyone is suddenly a qualified sports analyst. People’s opinions, feedback, or criticism about players and teams floods the comments section.

The players cannot control what people will say about their mistakes, strengths as a player, or areas of improvement. However, what they can control is who and what to listen to.

 

Let’s define feedback:

feed·back

ˈfēdˌbak/

noun

noun: feedback

  1. information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc., used as a basis for improvement.

 

There are a few caveats to feedback. Feedback can either be detrimental or beneficial to a player’s or person’s progress. Additionally, feedback will only work if the person is willing listen and improve.

In my experience, whenever I have received feedback, it happens in two phases: Phase 1 – sulking and regret & Phase 2 – planned progression.

Phase 1

Now to start off with the bad news. Feedback has the potential to make someone feel defeated and demoralized. It’s a normal and rational feeling. Nobody I know genuinely enjoys being criticized. It’s a tough pill to swallow whenever someone is pointing out your mistakes and flaws.

The key thing about feedback is that it isn’t personal. At least it shouldn’t be. In my opinion, anything that attacks an individual’s character, personal life, or personal features is an insult.

As long as the criticism is constructive, and surrounds things a player or person can improve upon, then it can be categorized as feedback. Undoubtedly, it is a painful experience hearing about your shortcomings.

That’s when Phase 1 starts.

Personally, even if the feedback is constructive, I will harp on what I did wrong. I’ll go through all the scenarios where I COULD have done this, or I SHOULD have done that. Sometimes I beat myself up a little too much.

Phase 1 sucks, but for me it’s a necessary step towards accepting feedback and improving. Source: Inside Out

I understand that brooding is unproductive. Ultimately, I do not have a time machine where I can rewind the timeline and fix my mistakes. Thus, the past is irrelevant.

When I realize that my mistakes and weaknesses can only be fixed for the future, that’s when Phase 2 starts.

Phase 2

At this point, the dust settles and reality sets in. The feedback I received no longer phases me. My perspective shifts to an optimistic view.

I make a cognizant decision to stop sulking. My brain power now focuses on how to improve. The benefit to constructive feedback is that, you know exactly what to work on.

High-quality feedback contains a specific fault, and an accompanying solution to correct the issue at hand.

With a solution in front of me, I can start working on progress. I am empowered with a plan. I know that I am at “Point A” and that I need to get to “Point B.” The solution will help get me there.

Phase 2 is all about progress. Understanding my specific shortcomings empowers me with insight on how to improve. Source: Amazon.com

This is not to say that every solution I come up with will automatically work. It may take a few iterations to correct my shortcomings. I keep in mind that a failed solution is still progress! It’s an opportunity to learn what does not work for me. Trial and error can be a viable approach to success.

Whenever that happens, I simply go back to the metaphorical drawing board and establish a new plan.

Feedback is only as good as you want it to be

Some of the best feedback shared with me stung when it entered my ear canals. At the same time, I am forever grateful for the person’s observations. Without it, I cannot improve.

Resistance to improvement is only controlled by the receiver of the feedback. In my case, it’s my choice to implement a solution to avoid making the same mistake twice.

I can have every world-class financial adviser consult me on my personal finance mistakes. Unfortunately, I fail to take action, then their feedback falls on deaf ears.

Ultimately, I am the gatekeeper to my feedback I receive. My decision to accept or reject feedback dictates its effectiveness.

Sometimes feedback is easy to accept. Sometimes the reality check from feedback is hard to digest. Regardless of how the feedback feels, I highly recommend trying to view it as objectively as possible.

If you want to refine your skill in anything, exploring feedback in a strategic, constructive way is an accelerated path to success.

Readers, what feedback have you received that led to an improvement in your personal or professional life?