Today I’ve been in two situations when an idea was challenged or questioned and it created the effect of a personal attack.
It stick to my mind, because I was in one of the situations the one feeling attacked personally and it bothered me greatly. What bothered me was not that the idea was challenged, but the fact that I felt it personally. So I did not have the patience to go in a productive mode and listen and integrate back my ideas in the feedback and get rolling a creative situation.
The feedback I received seemed to be properly given, it was not about the idea, it was about the implementation. It did not seem to criticize the idea, but rather other aspects of it. So, by theory it was a good feedback that should not have triggered my personal alert system. But it did. When I tried to figure out what happened I realized that I had no problem with the feedback and I even agree with it, but I was actually bothered by the passiveness of it.
And that is: coming with problems but not proposing any solution. Just throwing problems seemed to me as an attack, because not seeing that there are solutions and not wanting to find them together reasoned to me similar to “this idea sucks.”
Then I was thinking of similar situations of idea trashing that I am involved in. In IDAM working group we stay together 2 hours every week and produce ideas, gently dismiss ideas, trash ideas and find the best ones we can, together as a group. In this group I do not find myself going in personal defense because the purpose of the idea sharing is productive, we do it to find the best one. And my ideas, that I almost always think are GREAT, are sometimes dismissed in 3 seconds and I am more than fine with it.
There are a lot of smart things said about taking things personally and I like one from Miguel Ruiz: ‘Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you wont be the victim of needless suffering.’
Still, I think that even if I really try not take things personally there are situations like today when I will feel attacked and I will probably activate my Super Star Trek Shield: “Mr Data, Engage!”