Listening, Learning, Understanding, and Reacting to Different Perspectives

Listening, Learning, Understanding, and Reacting to Different Perspectives

Getting constructive criticism, feedback, or having to listen to something you don’t want to hear can cause negative reactions, emotions, and future problems among coaches, players, and even parents.

Do you get defensive when someone else has a different opinion than you? Some of us can be so quick to feel attacked and judged, leaving us with a sour taste in our mouth. But why do we feel like we only have two choices? We either hold our tongue or nod our heads while allowing it to bother us, cause us to lose focus, and control our emotions, or we lash back with a critical comment on their opinion leading into an unnecessary argument or punishment. Instead, why don’t we just accept their opinion, and then ask a question that involves learning about their perspective? Maybe instead of feeling like we all absolutely have to be right, we can learn and grow. For some ridiculous reason we tend to feel threatened when someone doesn’t see what we see, believe what we believe, or hear what we hear. Who knew opinions could cause such a stir!

Opinions are the beauty of learning and growing whether it is in the classroom, on the field, or in life’s circumstances. Instead of getting defensive and only seeing in black and white, we should embrace the grey area. Listen to what you don’t know. Listen to what you don’t understand. Don’t backlash because it’s different and you feel embarrassed, or demoted. You may surprise yourself when you open your eyes to something new and actually learn from it. You may learn something you never even considered, and finally be able to fix one of your weaknesses or reach one of your goals!

We all place walls up, guarding ourselves from feeling inadequate, misunderstood, or under qualified. Break the walls down! We shouldn’t hold ourselves back. We should embrace the difference in opinions, perspectives, and beliefs that others share. I’m definitely guilty of feeling defensive when someone else didn’t agree with my opinion while I was growing up. And I definitely held my tongue when I wasn’t sure about another point of view. Instead of listening, I completely ignored it, and put up a wall. I could have learned something new, broadened my viewpoint, and created a completely new understanding. I could have developed my growth in that specific topic, whether it was a trigger for understanding my perspective with new insight I was able to exemplify, or maybe it encouraged a new perspective and understanding of a subject or skill. I could have gained more knowledge and input, but I faltered and just blocked out any opinion that wasn’t my own, or judged it for the differences. I should have just listened and asked questions with curiosity, instead of feeling defensive and attacked. Luckily, when I matured, I realized the importance of multiple perspectives, asking questions when I didn’t understand, and applied my new learnings in helping me reach my highest potential as an athlete, student, and person! I want the same for our athletes! They shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions, be frustrated with the difference in opinions, or feel the need to be defensive when they don’t understand. They should be excited to learn and grow as athletes of the game, students in the classroom, and as a person in life itself! If they build walls up, they won’t be allowing themselves to ask questions, reach new underatandings or perspectives, and the ability to apply and react in a manner of optimism, determination, and motivation in becoming a stronger, more knowledgeable, and mature athlete, student, and person!

We all have to remember that constructive criticism isn’t a judgement full of negativity, it is an observation backed by knowledge and care! Our coaches, teammates, parents, or guardians wants to HELP you succeed! Understand that the more accepting we are of others opinions, constructive criticism, and differences, the more you will learn, the more we will succeed, the more we will be able to help yourself and others, and the more likely we will be in reaching our highest potential!

Opinions will always range in any subject and topic. Opinions will change, subside, become strong, weak, and everything else in between. Opinions are what we create based on our knowledge, morals, and understanding. Opinions shouldn’t be seen as black or white, right or wrong. Look into the grey areas. Find more meaning, understanding, and optimism that will encourage a stronger, different, new, and unexpected point of view. Learn, grow, and never settle for the black or white, right or wrong that has become comfortable in your mind. The world is full of opinions. So if you are willing to share yours, listen, and hear what someone else has to share as well, you just might be surprised.

Written by Nikoli Sharp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>