Opinions are asked for to help clear up any potential problems. As an example, your friend has decided to build Fido a tree house in case of flooding or to keep his bones away from other dogs. It would be inconceivable to almost anyone that this would work -- but, not to your friend holding the tools! Someone (that's you) has to act as the devil's advocate. To protect the dog, if nothing else!
|What d'ya think?|
- Where can you get Fido trained to raise and lower that food basket?
These questions could spark some clarity for your friend. If your friend blows holes through your points, explaining Fido's love of heights and limb napping and that he can raise and lower a basket of kittens, still, you continue to press your point, you could be a naysayer -- someone who takes a negative or pessimistic view of everything. Are you afraid of new ideas? Are you jealous because you didn't think of it? Understand your motives before you bring someone else down.
New ideas are fragile and need nurturing or they will die under too much negative feedback. The best resource for an honest opinion is from people familiar with your subject. They'll focus their thoughts on familiar results and know how to counter, and you'll be able to trust them. The less your critic knows about your subject, the less effective and the more personal the comments.
- What makes you think you can do that?
- Are you out of your mind?
- What a STUPID idea!
- Oh, no! Here we go, again!
How do you respond to new ideas? Are you a naysayer? Are you a cockeyed optimist? It's not your job to tear someone else down simply because they asked for an opinion. Do you agree with everything they do, knowing they'll be humiliated, later? The old rule still holds true:
For every negative thing you say, you have to say three positive things. It's best to start with two positive things, slip in the negative, and end with a positive -- especially, if you're not an expert in the field.
- You have one smart dog, there, friend.
- Hey! This is a perfect location for Fido's tree house!
- Uh, can Fido climb crossbars?
- I love the paint color -- it's so Frank Lloyd Wright.
Believe me, there will be enough criticism when the project is ready for a more public display. Life is too short to get beaten down by people not willing to take chances, themselves, but who are so quick to judge others. As a friend or family member, try to be supportive and protective. The wolves are supposed to be outside the door. Try not to be just an automatic naysayer or Pollyanna. Playing the devil's advocate reveals potential problems in a project seen with new eyes. Letting someone go ahead with cockeyed optimism is cruel. Share your thoughts with love. After all, without new ideas, you'd be reading this on paper.
Success is 99 percent failure. ---Soichiro Honda
Go for it. All you can do, is fail. ---Sharlene Thomas
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