As I look over at the beautiful Hawaiian beaches, I am thinking about what it really takes to get better at something. I just finished speaking several times over the last few days and now I get a chance to enjoy the beauty of this place before getting back on a plane and head home. This is a great place to relax and think.
I am thinking that there are probably few people, if any, who enjoy hearing about things that they don’t do well at. Many seem to be happier by going through life unaware of the “blind spots” in their personalities. I cannot say that I love to hear about my blind spots but, over the years, I have come to terms with the concept of self-evaluation.
I call it “self” evaluation because I have to initiate it myself and not because I just ask myself what I need to improve. This process of self-evaluation must include other people. They are the ones who can see our blind spots where we can’t. Many cringe at the thought of asking someone to honestly speak to them about areas of improvement. But there comes a time when we have to just get over our own selves and be willing to listen to what others have to say.
I have made it a practice to look for people who think differently than I do and then I ask them if they are willing to share some truths with me. Some people eagerly accept the opportunity (sometimes I wish they were not so eager!) and provide invaluable feedback that I can apply in my life. Some people agree to provide me with feedback but do not follow through with honest feedback. You see, they feel that they need to be nice and only tell me good things. Even though I love to hear affirmations anytime of the day, that is not the assignment. But I understand that sometimes it is hard to give honest feedback to someone else.
Of course, there are those who take it upon themselves to provide their opinion and criticism even when they were not asked. This kind of feedback is even harder to take. In those cases, I am careful to double-check their comments and I even look at their motive.There may be some truth there, but their approach makes it difficult for me to find it.
I think that a life well lived can only happen through honest, and sometimes difficult, self-evaluation. Maturity comes as a result of experiences, challenges, and constant evaluation of our lives. More and more, I appreciate getting older because I know that I stand a chance of getting wiser too. Whether it is spiritual, emotional, or relational maturity that I seek, I must include a healthy dose of self-evaluation in order to achieve it.