Approaching feedback the sensible way

feedback1

I have a strict philosophy of never taking anything at face value.

This has been the way I've done things for decades. Every piece of information I rely on has been tested through the ages, through my own set of observations and experiences - and the experiences of those I trust the most.

During times of great change, I will get a lot of feedback. Some of that feedback is my own volition. Other times it's unsolicited

When it comes to feedback, there are a number of rules that I follow. This is to also to apply the principle of maintaining a sense of self

Here are those rules:

Look inward, not outward first

My first gut instinct to a problem I am dealing with, is often times the correct one. Because my first impression is also one that is predominantly based off of a subconcious level-reactions. It can't really be explained in words all the time though

At some point I will sleep on these decisions. Over that time frame, I will let things in slowly overtime, to essentially test out whether that gut instinct is correct

I will look around me, and ask myself whether it aligns with what I know. Things will become more of an internalized thought process instead

Once those are cemented, it's then that I will ask for externalized feedback

This is especially true if I am doing something community oriented. Such as designing a logo. Other examples could be feature development for a video game, for instance

Get indirect feedback

Determining and narrow out bias is a bit tricky. Here is a good example of handling unbiased feedback:

If you are determining a city in which you want to live in, you can do "idea shopping", or "window shopping". You have a goal in the back of your mind, but you don't explicitly state what it is, and instead ask for what's great and not so great about a city

This is one way of getting unbiased feedback. There is no stipulation involved, you are not directly soliciting feedback. When you do solicit feedback, there is always an inherent bias in it, depending on your association with that person

Getting biased feedback

At some point you want biased feedback

This is feedback that is directly through people you know. Although different people in your life might know you for different things

So every opinion is weighted just a little differently.

Say for instance you are picking a new city. Those that know you the least, will probably recommend a city that is the least likely one that your values aligned with

Here's an example: in Tampa, I am known as the tech guy. There is some stipulation that I love tech, but the reality is I am one of the least tech based people I know of.

In this instance, I will get a recommendation for San Fransisco. Startup culture is not really my thing, e.g. it's a city that does not really vibe with me at all

This is just one of many examples. There are those that will understand more about what I am looking for, and understand me as a whole better

Things you should not do

Don't ask for feedback from complete strangers you don't know anything about. It puts you in a vulnerable position that greatly affects what the final outcome is, and you roll the dice here. This might be what you want in the moment especially if your less experienced, but the outcome might not be great

Feedback should always come in iterations.

  • First, inward
  • Then to the circles closest to you, from those who understand you best, and affect your judgement the least. Then radiate this decision outward over time. The bigger the decision, the longer you should wait

Don't rely on an askreddit posts unless you don't have a lot of experiences in general to fallback on, or the feedback is more empircal in nature (e.g. learning a subject in engineering)

There is always ways to solicit information after the fact, as many people have asked the same question - but be aware of how far of a rabbithole you go down here

Hi 👋

I'm Vincent Tang, a software engineer specialized in product design and manufacturing. I [learn without boundaries](https://www.vincentntang.com/learn-without-boundaries/), and write lessons I've learned to my past self. From engineering, to manufacturing, to leadership, and psychology. I'm the founder of Tampa Devs and I also run a coding podcast called Code Chefs

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