Listening to the Suck with Curiosity

 Failure, setbacks, and rejection are a part of life; but they still suck and can get us down from time to time.  Truthfully, this is an area of life that I used to be really terrible at handling.  Receiving harsh feedback or feeling rejected would create in me self-doubt and defensiveness.  I would want to attack and respond and explain my stance and prove that I was right and the other person was wrong.  However, what I’ve learned and what I want to share with you is some things that I’ve learned over the past year and started practicing during those tougher times.

 I’ve started practicing breathing, staying calm, and listening during those tough conversations.  The reality is that biologically we are wired to have that defensive response and we will always have to actively practice staying calm and listening rather than giving into our body’s desire to react.  Staying calm and listening to the person you’re receiving feedback/rejection from can help you gain many things.  The first being that you won’t ruin that relationship with the person, just because you’re having to hear something you don’t enjoy doesn’t mean you want to ruin the relationship forever.  Showing the person respect by stifling our natural reaction of fear and defensiveness can help create a deposit and keep a relationship strong.  The other thing you’re going to gain by staying calm and listening is you may learn something.  Just because it’s hard to hear doesn’t mean it isn’t truthful and if you honestly want to improve and get better at something hearing the truth should be what you want.

 The acronym LSC stands for Listening to the Suck with Curiosity and it’s a concept by scientist Safi Bahcall.  I love this so much and it has really put in perspective for me how to really handle those tough conversations and failures I face in my career, social, and personal life.  When we listen and engage in those tough conversations with sincere curiosity instead of defensiveness or emotionally shut down we are guaranteeing that we will move forward from these stumbles.  Whether we enjoy it or not failure and rejection are part of life and we can either be stifled by them or motivated.  Motivating starts by utilizing LSC to gain further knowledge and perfect our performance, idea, or interactions.  

 This is not only a principle for when you’re interacting with others.  This is something we can all practice with ourselves.  How many times have you finished a workout and just been so frustrated that it didn’t go as planned?  Don’t lie to me!  We have all had those moments and they’re tough to handle.  The negative self-talk in our heads can be deafening and it seems like no matter how many people try to cheer us up we just can’t get out of that funk.  

 What we need to do is apply LSC and dive into that failure or mistake and ask why it happened.  Did we go out to hard?  Did we forget to hook grip?  Did we attempt too big of sets and die out?  Did we underestimate a movement and it’s effect on our bodies?  Did we not eat enough that day?  It’s not an excuse hunt, what you’re doing is analyzing the facts and curiously deciphering what you can learn from those events to improve in the future.  If we do nothing and just call it a bad day we sacrifice the opportunity to learn and move forward which is a waste of a growth opportunity. 

- Coach Courtney