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Criticism, Adrenalin Spikes & Improving Relationships

by Rick Baker
On May 15, 2017

Some people naturally repulse criticism. These people may show outward signs of their repulsion. These people may not show outward signs, or their repulsion may hide so well it would take a professional observer to notice it. Regardless, internally, these people churn in reaction to criticism. For these people - even small, innocuous pieces of feedback can trigger intense internal reactions, floods of adrenalin – adrenalin spikes.

  1. Do you know people who show vehement reaction to tiny criticisms…people who have zero tolerance for incoming criticism?
  2. Do you know people who, at first, show no outward reaction to criticism then, later, strike excessive reactionary blows against the person who delivered the criticism?
  3. Do you know people who have the habit of claiming they are the victim of undue criticism?
  4. Do you know people who repulse criticism yet deliver it to others with gusto and righteousness?

These are four common reactions to criticism.

I have personally exhibited at least three of these four reactions to criticism…and, probably, many people would think I’m selling myself short by not admitting to all four.

Why?

Why would I have had such reactions to criticism?

Not having much knowledge of physiology or biology and only dabbling experience with psychology I answer that question this way:

  • When people criticized me, I experienced adrenalin spikes [or was that cortisol?]. I felt strong, churning, tightening sensations in the gut…quickly followed by combinations of anxiety and anger, often intense anger...then excessive negative thoughts and behaviour.
  • This reaction must have started when I was a very young child. I have no memory of reacting any other way to criticism [until the last decade, that is].
  • Perhaps, my criticism-repulsion was are due to genetics? Perhaps, my childhood environment? Perhaps, my early experiences with authority figures? I expect it was some combination of these things.

Here’s a curious thing. When you experience criticism-repulsion as a child you can be quite oblivious to other people. And, this can cause challenges…a large variety of interpersonal challenges. Left unattended, these interpersonal challenges can last a lifetime.

Here’s some good news. It is possible to gain self-understanding and create strategies to overcome the interpersonal challenges. The starting point, or at least one starting point, is recognition of the physiological changes that signal less-than-ideal reactions to criticism. People, perhaps most people, can alter their bad habits [including adrenalin spikes] if they choose to make the changes and do the work required.

 

PS: Perhaps, the people who experience the criticism-repulsion I have described are most capable of identifying it in other people? ... and helping others?  

Howling at the moon won't make it any brighter & yapping dogs don't make their owners any smarter.

by Rick Baker
On May 7, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Constructive criticism is an oxymoron...in relationships, it's an interpersonal liberty taken one step too far.

Tags:

Criticism: Constructive Criticism is an Oxymoron | Humour | Thought Tweets

Some ancient wisdom for Success: Have bone in back, not bone in head.

by Rick Baker
On May 3, 2017

The Thinking Behind the Sales Tweet

Probably no ancient person ever said that. But, we will never know for sure. On the other hand, I did write “People should work at having thick skin and thin skulls”.

Thick skin will help people be less influenced by the criticism of others.

A thin skull will ensure important stuff gets in easier.

No question about it, people are interested in learning how to kill good ideas

by Rick Baker
On Apr 27, 2017

A number of years ago, I posted the following thoughts about how to kill good ideas.

It is interesting to see a number of people liked the contrarian approach. Perhaps we should spend more time communicating about how to kill good ideas? Perhaps that would encourage people to come up with more-creative ways of squashing one another's innovations, inventions, and creative thoughts? Perhaps this could go a long way toward throttling that annoying habit called Curiosity?

Regardless, at least we have 4 proven ways of getting the job done!

 

4 ways to kill a good idea

By Rick Baker
On Oct 4, 2011

As mentioned recently, I read a really interesting book. It taught me how to kill good ideas.
 
Here is a sample of what I learned, 4 ways to kill good ideas:
  1. Fear Mongering…use genuine facts from the past to create a picture of a fearful future You know many people agonize over the mistakes they have made in the past. And they worry horrible events will repeat themselves…causing misery. So, when someone has a good idea and you want to kill it you can try this strategy. Just recall some extremely painful event from the past and express your concern that this terrifying situation could happen again if we accept this new idea.

  2. Death by Delay…one great way to do this is send the idea to a committee 

    Here’s a nuance you can incorporate when you use this strategy. Dig up some abstruse fact from your company’s history. Applaud the idea then introduce the abstruse fact and talk as if you are convinced the idea and the abstruse fact must be addressed by a committee of various intelligent people. Suggest a chairperson for the committee…i.e., suggest someone you know to be a curmudgeon. 
  3. Confusion…inject lots of irrelevant facts and support them with illogical arguments

    Keep a list of irrelevant facts in a file in the MemoPad area of your BlackBerry. Gather these over time, wean out the weakest ones, and replace them as you find really-choice irrelevant facts. Have at least a dozen fresh irrelevant facts ready for use. Then, whenever people come up with ideas pull out your BlackBerry while stating something like, 'What a synchronicity…I was writing some notes around that topic last week'. Then go on to cite a list of irrelevant facts…keep it up until at least one person dozes off.
  4. Ridicule…with a good-natured demeanour and calm voice, assassinate the character of the person who has the idea

    This one should come with a warning: DO NOT show anything close to a negative emotion while you do this. That could backfire on you, making you look like some sort of unreasonable person. CAUTION: this will take practice…if you are real busy then pick another strategy. To pull this one off you must be pleasant and calm. You must prepare your assassinating words well in advance and practice them in front of a mirror so they come across just right. I recognize that is barely an introduction to this 4th way to kill ideas. But, a more-detailed explanation is beyond the scope of this Thought Post.
You may be saying to yourself, surely there must be more ways to kill good ideas.
 
Yes, do not fret; of course there are many other wonderful ways to kill ideas.
 
Footnote
The book I am referring to is ‘Buy-In, saving your good idea from being shot down’, John P. Kotter and Lorne A. Whitehead. According to the authors of the book I just read, the average person receives about 10,000 ideas [other people’s plans, demands, suggestions, and proposals] every week. That’s a lot of incoming ideas to deal with. Many people are overwhelmed. Most people figure out ways to kill the vast majority of those ideas. The authors provide some solutions…i.e., how to save your good ideas from being shot down. But, it’s a double-edge sword…you can also use their wisdom to hone your skills at killing good ideas.

Do Unto Yourself Before You Do Unto Others

by Rick Baker
On Apr 18, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Do unto others as you would have them do to unto you

[The Golden Rule...the foundation of major religions]

***

Don't do unto others what you wouldn't want them to do unto you

[a restatement that aligns with a Spirited definition of Integrity]

***

Do Unto Yourself Before You Do Unto Others

[a restatement that adds even tougher limits...and thickens the skin]

***

He who carries the gold makes the rules

[as if that's not enough of them - another Golden Rule]

***

Constructive Criticism - make sure you can take a self-injection of that oxymoron

The less confident you feel the more you criticize others.

by Rick Baker
On Apr 15, 2017

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

So, Confidence is criticism's antidote.

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