Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Love Weakness, Ignore Strength

Love weakness and ignore strength. In other word, some people love to know and highlight more about someone’s weakness than highlighting and appreciating someone’s strength. And it is not only happened in one way. When people give others feedback, the feedback ONLY will be heard and appreciated more on weakness or things need to be improved while the strength or good things included in the feedback will be ignored by replying with only simple ‘thank you’ or silent smile.

I feel something is wrong here. In a regular meeting of Toastmasters, we heard feedbacks during speech evaluations and general evaluations that including language evaluations. How many of you leave your notebook blank and save your ink when it comes to “…the things I like the most about you are…”? But ONLY pick up your pen to write (read as “pay attention, feel like it is important, and want to remember”) when it comes to “… suggestions for improvement…”?

I witnessed several time, when people show me their blank notebooks or papers with dissatisfied faces, “I have no weakness that I need to improve?” when their evaluators ‘failed’ to spot their ‘weakness’. Not only evaluation by others, one day I was voluntarily giving feedback to someone, when I feel like I can offer him more than his speech evaluator gave him. I gave him three (3) things I like the most about his speech. However, after I finished and said ‘all the best for his future speeches’, he replied “aik? You only wanna say good things about my speech? No suggestion ha?”

I actually could leave the room since the meeting already over and go home as early as I can, no need to waste my time sharing my thought with him, right? Huh…!!!
Do you know, we are not paid to give evaluations in Toastmasters? And do you aware we spend a lot of time and attention to give our best in listening, digesting and give feedback to you? And do you know the meaning of word ‘grateful’?

I don’t feel this is wrong and feel hurt when comes to me giving evaluations; because I always have ‘weakness’ to offer in my feedbacks (the formal @ assigned evaluations). But I feel unhappy when I see my friends, Toastmasters family, don’t feel grateful when they received feedback, as I am, INCLUDING their strength highlighted by others.

When people give me feedback, I am not only jotting down the ‘weakness’ but also the strength. For me, it is MY ASSETS and who will appreciate your assets and gifts more than yourselves? 

When people highlight my strength or things I did well, I feel motivated and happy. And I always want to really remember and understand it, so (1) I know when and how I can use that strength again in future. And sometimes, the good things they appreciated were done without my intention. So telling me that kind of strength will be very helpful because then (2) I know, I will need to use the strength again. The more important thing for knowing our strength is, I then start thinking, how I could have that strength. Is it by practice? Someone told me to do so? Or from a reading? So then, (3) when I meet someone else in future that needs that same skill, I can offer him/her how I have that skill.

So, I appreciated people when they acknowledge things I did well. Not listening to them and act like I gain nothing, like ‘those’ people. I have no idea, how can I ignore all praises (pujian) given to me. And I have no idea how people can ignore all praises given to them too.

Please, be happy when your ‘weakness’ highlighted to help you stay hunger of improvement. At the same time, please be grateful when your strength and skill appreciated by others to help you stay hunger of giving to others. Toastmasters are humble, willing to serve for others and happy to improve themselves. We have no space for arrogant people.

~Ain Cantik~

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