Most people simply don’t receive feedback well, especially if it’s negative. We get defensive or don’t take any action at all. The key to receiving feedback is to determine and understand what is meaningful and what isn’t. I make no claims at being an expert on this, but I can confidently state that I’ve gotten better at it over the years.

Consider creating the following feedback filters; the lower the number, the less credence you should give that feedback.

Feedback Filter 1: People you don’t know

I give feedback from this group little credence; many psychologists say the feedback people in this group provide really is meant for their benefit, not yours.

Feedback Filter 2: Coworkers

You work with them, and they may seem like friends. But, again, I rarely give much weight to feedback from co-workers. There are too many competitive pressures and workplace dynamics to create much value.

Feedback Filter 3: Family and friends

This is an important group. Although they don’t always see things through the same lens as you do, these people presumably (barring dysfunction) are the most important people in the world to you and have your best interests at heart.

Feedback Filter 4: Trusted advisors

Individuals you respect for their accomplishments, and who you truly believe have no agenda, are the ones who have your best interests at heart. This will be your most valuable group to cultivate and from which to seek feedback.

Regard feedback according to this scale, and you’ll have a better of idea what matters and what doesn’t.