Art Class as Metaphor I: The Power of Pure Positive Feedback

Would you like to absolutely make someone's day?

Have you ever had someone compliment you, and then dull it with – "but…" or "except for…"

Wow, that takes the wind out the compliment, doesn't it?


In business we're taught to use a "feedback sandwich" which says:

tell three positive specific things,
give one stretch,
then finish with a global positive.


Well, I followed that system for awhile, until I saw that really it can waste the beautiful impact of the positive feedback.

And it made me remember:

When I was in college the second time, I took an abstract painting class. (I was much wiser about my course selections in my 40's than I ever was in my 20's!)

The class was really simple.


We painted, a lot.

We chose the favorite things we were working on at any given time, and lined them up along the wall to be part of the critique session.

Now, that may sound scary – but here were only two rules for the critique session:

Speak sincerely.

Speak only about what worked in any given painting.

WOW! Talk about inspiring. It made us look at the elements of design, and how they look when they really work. It made us take in what we were learning inductively – so the insights were ours, we owned them. Especially our own insight about what had NOT worked in our own paintings. Through this process, we could see them just fine, as we went along.

AND it felt FABULOUS to have the whole class talk about what worked in our painting – even if it was one litle tiny black mark off center with a wonderful little flourish we had added almost by accident and had almost covered up.

TELL other people what you see in them that is beautiful. What you see them achieving in the world that is making a difference. What you feel of their heart. Sincerely.

Watch the results flourish around you.


And by the way – if you are of the misguided notion that your comments don't really matter to someone – think again, and offer them anyway. See what a beaming smile of gratitude you get in return. No matter how "big" you think the person you are complimenting is…they are still a person, just like you.

Namaste, beautiful!

And as always, thanks in advance for your comments!


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