5 Reasons You and I Need Outside Input

Everyone battles arrogance at some level. Yes…even you and me.

Does that statement frustrate you? If so, I get it. It frustrates me as well.

You know why? We all struggle with arrogance. We hate admitting that we don’t know it all or can’t do everything. When the skills of others supersede our own, we feel inferior. We hate getting outside input when we know that it might be negative input.

We want to contribute. We want others to value what we do. We desire significance. We crave purpose.

When we answer a question incorrectly, let others down, or don’t know how to answer, frustration ensues. We experience a loss of purpose. We wonder how we will contribute. We feel insignificant. We begin to ask if we actually have any value. (Note: You can find exceptions to all of these. I don’t seek to communicate a blanket theory for all people in all contexts. But these general emotions, thoughts, and gut responses consistently repeat themselves in the lives of those I’ve met and in my own life).

Arrogance will rear its ugly head occasionally (let’s face it…it will), but we can intentionally work on it as well. I believe that when we get regular doses of outside help, we establish a healthy rhythm that reminds us of our need for others.

We need other people. All of us do. Don’t isolate yourself.

We all live under the cloud of our own perspective.

We see the world through a certain “lens”. We do what we do because at some level those things bring us pleasure.

Think about a task-oriented person. This person doesn’t set out to hurt people by seeming to occasionally ignore people. This person strives to get things done, in order to gain some sense of pleasure. That could be the feeling they get from making more money. Maybe they love the praise they receive from others. Perhaps it helps them eliminate the fear of failure. Whatever the reason, they usually get tasks done for some reason that brings them pleasure.

But when this person overemphasizes tasks at the expense of relationships, their pleasure increases while other people experience more frustration. Here lies just one instance where outside input can help improve a relationship or situation.

Outside Input

5 Reasons You and I Need Outside Input

1) Outsiders See Your Faults More Clearly

When an outsider sees your mistakes, he or she instantly thinks: “Why in the world would you do that?” In this sense, outside input is scary.

For the outsider, your faults show up easily and clearly. They don’t struggle to admit where you struggle. They likely don’t regularly commit the same mistake. The newness, peculiarity, and blatant abnormality smack the outsider in the face.

Long story short: outsiders can facilitate your development by quickly pointing out faults and helping to fix them. It may also lead you to start focusing more on your strengths rather than (previously unknown) weaknesses.

2) Outsiders Speak Without an Emotional Connection

When an outside voice addresses a struggle or fault that you’ve faced, they do so without emotional baggage. You likely make a few of the same mistakes over and over again and need someone detached from your life, family, business, or other organization to help you get clarity.

It is amazing how things change and how much clearer you will see your challenges when you can remove the emotions from them. (Note: If the situation directly affects you, it will likely take time to remove or decrease the emotion involved. Regardless you should get an outside voice to help determine how much your emotions impact your challenges.)

3) Outsiders Broaden Your Thinking

Outsiders diversify your experiences by adding their experiences.

No two people experience the same things in life. Even siblings have different relationships with the people in their community. All that to say, everyone you meet can enrich your perspective in some way due to their varied experiences.

Outsiders diversify your experiences by adding their experiences. Click To Tweet

4) Outsiders Question What You Dare Not Question

The things you regularly do are done because you derive some benefit out of them. But an outsider lacks the same attachment to things you have been unwilling to change.

Outsiders question almost everything more effectively than you can. Even a close friend, family member, or colleague, will question your challenges in unique ways. Be careful here as their questions will likely frustrate you and challenge your categories for life. Either get started changing or tell the person you talk to that they should leave. Have an open mind and do not be quick to judge. Listening to their feedback will require change and growth on your part, even if it’s painful.

5) Outsiders Want to See Change More Than You Do

I really believe that outsiders want to see you change more than you do. I initially deleted this point, because I considered how outsiders experience less emotional connection to your challenges than you do. However, outsiders do want to see positive change in your life or else they wouldn’t waste their time talking to you.

Outsiders cheer for you by helping you design a new path forward. They embrace you as you embrace change. You clearly haven’t wanted to change various areas of your life, if you haven’t already. An outsider may have an interest in what occurred in the past, but they strongly want to see you experience a new future regardless of what happened in the past.

(To be clear, mental illness is outside the purview of this post. For those battling mental illness, change is more difficult than making small changes or getting an outside voice; we shouldn’t belittle the enormity of the illness they face daily.)

Take this quick test:

You should get a pretty clear idea of what these questions are intended to elicit. Score each question on a scale of 1-5 (1 = Yes, 2 = More Yes Than No, 3 = Neutral, 4 = More No than Yes, 5 = No). Total up your score at the end.

  1. Do you enjoy it when someone tells you how to do your job?
  2. Does it feel good when you are wrong?
  3. Think about your gut reaction to anyone who “calls you out” for a mistake. Would you describe your thoughts as positive?
  4. Do you naturally let other people get attention or credit, even at your own expense?
  5. Are you genuinely grateful the instant you see negative feedback on an evaluation at work or other context? (I’m not talking about your philosophical perspective on feedback. I’m talking about the instantaneous internal thoughts or feelings that enter your heart and mind.)

Score of 5-10: I love outside input.

Score of 11-19: I have a love/hate relationship with outside input.

Score of 20-25: I hate outside input. (Although you may know you need it).

What steps do you plan to take in 2015 to get outside input? Be intentional to learn from those around you and seek out people who can provide a fresh perspective to help you make 2015 the best year yet.