The average person spends right around seventeen years or so of their life in a formal classroom. That really shouldn’t come as much surprise, but it often ends up being the hang-up as we talk about sharing and putting ourselves into a position to receive feedback. Of course, when you think about performance evaluations in a corporate setting, we really do put ourselves in a position to receive feedback throughout more of our life than we realize.
Beyond the classroom, projects come from one of a handful of places: our boss/workplace, our friends and family, and ourselves. Work needs a solution to a problem, so you create something and you’re given a pass/fail rating on it once your solution is implemented. Friends and family say, “OMG, you’d be great at this,” and so you do the thing…again to a pass/fail rating, and maybe some deriding if you fail. You pick up a side interest or a pet project, and you work on it until it’s where you want it. Then you display it in your home, in your workspace, or maybe you wear it around. And again, you get feedback that tends to be of a pass/fail variety.
The point here is that in both our professional and personal lives, we’re constantly doing things, bringing things into existence. And when we choose to put them somewhere they can be seen (be it offline in our professional and personal spaces or online in our professional and personal spaces), we’re saying, “This is something I did. These are skills I can use to do something productive (or destructive, depending on what you’ve created).”
When we style our living room, we know it will be presented to visitors to our home. When we make a wearable object, we know it will be presented to those who pass us in real space. When we write, be it a blog post or a book of some format, we may expect it to be seen by someone, even if it’s just a close friend. (I am excluding here those who create with no desire to show their work. Seriously, people, let us see your awesomeness!) We’re leaving ourselves open to feedback.
We live in a time where what we do is constantly on display, with or without our being able to provide some context. Professionals and amateurs can show off their work side by side, and connect through seeing each other’s work. Fans and fellow producers comment on the same work. We never really stop being in a position to receive feedback.