At the end of my junior year in high school, I got into fashion and was determined to improve my appearance. How you look can affect your mood and esteem and is an excellent part of yourself to work on. Some months earlier, I saw some maroon Sperry boat shoes on sale out of town and quickly snatched them up. I finally found something to wear with them and I went to school with my first actual good outfit. I received a crazy number of compliments and actually felt great with what I was wearing.
Another day I wore another outfit that looked good on me, except I wore some hideous glasses. I didn’t mind the glasses as I didn’t really pay much attention to them. I went to school to get feedback and people constantly told me that my glasses didn’t look right. I initially took this personally and was determined to wear them anyway out of spite… until I looked in the mirror. One of the very few times I actually looked in the mirror, I saw what people were talking about. I couldn’t help but laugh seeing how goofy I looked with the glasses. Remembering this from junior year, I understand the importance of a mirror. A physical mirror shows you what you look like as everyone else sees you. As important as a physical mirror is, we need a mirror for our work and what we create for our audiences.
Create the Mirror
Our thoughts towards what we create tend to be far from how they really are. We may think we have produced the best product in the world but what we think of our own product is biased. That is why we need a mirror. A mirror to show our work for what it really is away from our thoughts and ego. This mirror is our audience’s criticisms, both positive and negative.
We have two options when people criticize us. We can either seclude ourselves in a corner, ignoring it and continuously holding on to our ego or create a mirror and actually use the criticism to correct and improve our work. I think we all know the latter is the proactive option. To improve your work you need to get feedback from your peers or audience. They are the ones that see your work as it is. Gaining their feedback creates a mirror showing you the shortcomings and strengths of your product as it is. If you pay attention to their criticism, you will start to see the differences in how you feel about your product vs. how it actually is. From here, implement the feedback and improve the weak spots and continue on what is working well.
This works for many endeavors, not just a product. Use it for improving yourself as I do with clothing and my appearance. Build your mirror of feedback from your audience and peers to see your work in reality, outside your mind. I hope this post shines a new light on criticism. It is a powerful tool for your arsenal. Love it. Don’t shy away from it.
*Note – Avoid feedback from close friends as they may also be biased and may give inaccurate feedback. Use judgment!
**Another Note – Gauge your feedback. Make sure it is accurate by getting criticism from a variety of your audience.