I am ready to learn and advance
I have seen people enroll in a martial arts course for the purpose of learning things that they want and need and do not yet know, and then display displeasure when they are given guidance as to how to learn what it is they want to learn.
“Flex those knees deeply and see what that does for increased power.”
Grim frown and tightened shoulders. “Sorry”.
Sorry? You are taking lessons for the purpose of learning new stuff, and you are “sorry” when you demonstrate that you do not yet know that stuff you came in to learn?
When you do something wrong and someone you trust points that out, the only proper reply is, “Thank you! I’ll work on that.” The most pointless thing to say is, “I’m sorry.”
If you see feedback as helpful and are excited about gaining new skills and knowledge, you will be happy to learn what is blocking your goals and what can be done to improve your efforts to attain what you want. Sure, it may sting to hear that you are not already the perfect package, and it would be so much easier if you already had what you wanted and did not have to be open to change. But seeking information and guidance for ever improving skill is the path of the best of masters.
Of course you have the option to disagree with any feedback. The more you practice listening to advice from others, the more skillful you will become at discerning what is helpful and what is not. Not every advice-giver is worth listening to. But you will never grow if you consider skill-yet-unearned as a flaw and feedback as criticism.
My top students crave my advice. They pressure me to show them their “areas for growth” (polite term for “mistakes” and “goof-ups”). They are so powerful that they no longer need me as some Dad figure to pat their heads and coo only praise. They want to know how to get what I have gotten, and do what I can do, and they are impatient if they suspect my feedback is softened to pablum for the delicate system of a newborn.
“I am working on _____ and I feel I could be doing it better; what is one aspect that I should be improving more effectively?” – asked with an ardently probing face – is the question I love the most as a teacher. It gives me full permission to offer the best of all guidance without having to guess whether or not real input – as opposed to reassuring praise alone – is truly desired.
And then I love to hear, “Thank you. I’ll work on that.”