Feedback. We're scared of it. But we want it. But we're worried how strong it'll come. But we want it. But, shit...here it...ahh! Hey, that's not so bad?
One of my favourite authors, Stuart Chase, in his book 'Power of Words' left an impression on me with what he describes as the 'feedback principle". He writes, "physiologists find that our bodies are full of feedbacks (purposed) to stabilise the organism. A man standing on his two legs is one of the least steady of natural constructions. His weight is seldom adjusted to keep him upright, and he is always about to fall over."
What seems to hold us on course, and keep our 'falling selves' steady is this magical set of feedbacks. And it seems we really need them. Chase writes, they're "in the canals of our ear, in the nerve ends of our feet, in the horizon sense of our eye. These send messages muscles via the brain to keep us from capsizing."
It's an interesting thought, huh. If we're so "naturally anatomically unstable", yet still we have these favourable, inbuilt sensors to keep as from toppling onto our arses, why then are we not naturally wired to be so warm and welcoming toward this other kind of feedback - you know, the verbal stuff.
We need this feedback stuff. Feedback from people experiencing your project or idea is nothing but gold. And hearing it and digesting it allows our mind to evaluate what we're doing, with a sense of gifted credible insight. I feel theres a constant growth curve around this topic - we're touchy about it. We're not sure how much we want of it, and rightly so sometimes.
Do you listen to feedback? What are your audience saying? It is healthy if it comes from a decent place. If the deliverer comes with daggers and cacti in pots, we ought to discern and sift a little, but that feedback, ironically, is still pretty valuable. It's all in how we perceive it. Thats another topic alone.
I have a reasonably satisfying openness to it, after years of tries and fails, and guess-timated ideas and projects. When I'm developing a project now, I feel it out and throw it about over a period, and I'll run it by a handful of people I particularly value the feedback of (brother, partner, close friend, parents). It's a good process. It shows me which pieces are pointless, and highlights those parts I thought were 'ground-breaking' - well, those ones often turn out to be too niche, too confusing or already done! It stimulates finding better ways to do and say things - which is really what its all about.
Just like a glass or two of liquor (and we do like those) tends to throw off our anatomical balance - I'd say somewhere between door wide open and door half closed is a good way to look at it. Maybe one ear open, one ear blocked? Shoot me some feedback.