“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
Martin Luther King Jr
When was the last time you took a moment to reflect on a particular experience? Even in positive moments, it is often easier to identify negative aspects and focus on areas of improvement.
Think of how we each define success and failure. Whereas one individual may consider who they were with and how they felt, another may prioritise what they were doing and where they were. Each element is important and can provide ample feedback and yet, focusing on them separately can lead to inaccurate evaluations of our experiences. This is also true in moments of self-reflection. Although easy to consider our external or internal traits exclusively, including both is bound to provide a more complete picture of our current state. Furthermore, we are often guilty of attributing physical ailments to a particular movement pattern. Although this can be the cause, it fails to acknowledge the effects that our emotional state can have on our symptoms.
In addition, the scientific community has also tended to focus on negative emotions when conducting research. As they were often a larger source of problem conditions, logic dictated that they required solutions. However, Barbara Fredrickson’s pioneering study in 1998 suggested that one model incorporating both ends of the emotional spectrum would provide more accurate evaluations of an individual’s state. Her study even advocated the addition of four previously undocumented positive emotions: joy, interest, contentment and love. This helped start the trend of researching the many effects of all the positive emotions which are now commonly known!
Moreover, what do we look for when we evaluate someone else? Do we use the same criteria that we use on ourselves? And how would it feel if we knew they were applying the same criteria to us? Receiving feedback can be a highly rewarding but also challenging experience as it requires a certain maturity to accept our blemishes and use the information accordingly. Either way, remembering to incorporate feedback into our own evaluations can provide greater accuracy and a more holistic overview.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Albert Einstein