Negative Feedback is a Good Thing

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Have you ever been in a class and felt really stupid?

Artists are sensitive beings. We feel our feelings at a deeper level than normal people. That sensitivity we feel as artists is also why we’re gifted with the ability to be so open and vulnerable onstage and behind the camera.

And yet, this can work to our detriment in class.

We’re in class because we want to grow. We want to get better so we can book more work. Sure, there’s no better feeling in the world than crushing our fake sides for an audition that isn’t real as our peers marvel at our talent. And yet, it’s easy to forget that the classroom is the perfect place to mess up.

I took a class recently where one of my peers got some negative feedback. To make matters worse, there were a bunch of important decision-makers in the room. This was an easy blow to the ego for a sensitive artist.

To my surprise, this student didn’t burst into tears. She didn’t break down and beat herself up. She actually seemed to be taking it really well, an example for all of us to follow.

When we learn to receive constructive feedback as helpful rather than hurtful, only then can we unlock the opportunity to actually use that feedback to become the incredible artists we know deep down we deserve to be.

This isn’t an excuse for teachers to shame or berate us. If that happens, I give you full permission to leave right then and there.

Just know that each time you’re given negative feedback, you’re in a better place to grow and change. And if you still don’t like hearing that feedback, I ask you: how’s that day job life treating you?

(I know. Same here.)

Let’s be the best we know we can be. Let’s go get ‘em.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Tony Rossi
Tony is a Chicago based actor, having performed both in the Chicago and Boston markets. His training includes the Second City Conservatory and the Business of Coaching and Speaking certification program. After hitting his rock bottom while waiting tables, Tony now coaches actors to see things differently with the things that make them stressed so they can focus on what matters. Check out the Actor Problems podcast, dedicated to the mental well being of actors.
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