Last week, I wrote about feedback and more specifically how the best thing I had ever learned regarding the topic, was to understand that criticism wasn’t necessarily personal, it was most of the time about my work. And my work isn’t me. I still believe that , but today, at an actual feedback workshop we had at HolidayCheck, Yannick said something that made me rethink my opinion that constructive criticism is more effective than positive feedback to drive change. He said, more or less:
Positive feedback is important because it creates happiness on the receiver.
And I agree, wholeheartedly. If the result of any interaction is happiness, then that’s a valuable interaction. I had never thought of positive feedback in this way, because for me it had been all about “growth”. And understanding your mistakes was more valuable than understanding what you were doing right when it came to it.
I don’t believe this is the case anymore. I see both positive feedback and constructive criticism as two parts of a whole, both with the same intrinsic value.
A few years ago, I decided to apply a driving principle to my life. I was going to try my best to create benefit with all my actions. In utilitarianism, this benefit (or utility) is usually defined as the well-being of sentient beings, but in my own version, the benefit is all about happiness. I will do things that make me happy and try to make others happy through my actions, while at the same time try my hardest to cause the least amount of pain possible. Whenever I have trouble making a decision, I weigh both options on that scale. Most of the time, it helps, or at least makes me extremely aware of the pain my decision will cause.
Understanding positive feedback as a happiness driver will really increase the moments in which it’ll be a natural option for me. And I’m confident this will have a good overall impact on my life and that of those around me. It’s all about being the best version of yourself. And that version must be a happy one to really be the best, right?