Give positive feedback when it is deserved. Celebrate your successes and learn from your mistakes. View criticism as a compliment that someone takes interest in the work you are doing, but always learn from these criticisms. Change your mindset to view criticism as a necessity to success and be grateful for every step in your journey. If you can do this not only will you reach your ultimate goal faster than you ever thought possible you will enrich the lives of those around you through your honest gratitude.

This was the post I made on my Facebook page the other day. I got a pretty positive response from it. You may ask what, pray tell, inspired this stroke of genius?

Recently, a friend messaged me to draw my attention to a Facebook post from another fitness coach in the area.  My friend’s message was titled “This is what passes for coaching at (name of other institution).” The post in question said, “start looking for someone to tell you how bad you suck!” Ok, yes, I’m simplifying the post’s message…but not much!  You might think I’m paraphrasing, but the former quote was truly the coup de grâce in this display of positivity.

I didn’t have a problem with this other trainer’s message, on the contrary.  I agreed with it on many levels but my disagreement came with the delivery. I wondered if he knew telling people they “suck” would only negatively reinforce the point he was trying to make. The point of his post was that too much positive feedback is never a good thing. True, I agree. But telling people (masochists not included) they “suck” is a sure fire way to get them to stop trying.

One and the same, too much positive feedback and too much negative feedback are both excellent ways to get people to stop trying to excel. Take this for example: Your daughter does well on a math test. Do you praise her by saying tell “Amazing! You are so good at math,” or, “You did so good on your math test”?  If she only hears that she is good at math, she may internalize that she no longer needs to try.  By praising the effort she put forth you are reinforcing the desire to continue studying and doing well in the future. This same logic works in a negative scenario at well.  If your kid failed a test, would you say “You are horrible at math”? No. You’re more likely to say, “You failed one test. But if you study and continue to work on this, you can do better next time.”

It’s important to keep things in perspective and take the things people say for exactly what they are... That is to say, when you are given criticism, take it with a grain of salt. Never let anyone’s words dictate how you see yourself or how you see your path to success. You are in charge of how things make you feel. Take positive feedback and celebrate it, but move on. Take the criticisms from others as a chance to learn and get better (or take it as a sign you are doing things right because often people criticize what they envy), and then move on.

What’s the common message?  Move along. So, moving along…

There is value in winning. We should always want to win. But the ultimate victory is having the courage to step up and challenge yourself over and over again (just like the Cubs every year).  This is especially important in the face of adversity.  This is how we become better, stronger, happier human beings and how we help those around us and make the world an overall better place.

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