In the past, no one ever won any points with Christa Thompson, a writer living in Nashville, Tennessee, by offering her negative feedback of any sort. But recently, after adopting a "growth mindset" which seeks to learn and grow, and enjoys the challenge of trying new things, Thompson altered her system, now awarding people points for presenting her with constructive criticism, provided it's couched in positive, thoughtful, and preferably lighthearted or even funny terms.
"When I can tell someone's given real thought to my work or to me in general, and finds me talented and fascinating, then I welcome their constructive criticism," said Thompson. "In other words, where the dynamic is, you're amazing, and let's take that amazingness to the next level. Let's just blow it totally out of the water."
Thompson noted that her original policy, whereby people not only won no points with her whatsoever by failing to read her work, but also lost any points they had previously accumulated, remains in full effect.
Thompson has likewise modified her points-awarding system as it relates to her personal life. With regard to potential romantic partners, Thompson used to encourage confidence tempered by vulnerability, and was highly sympathetic to addiction issues. And, while she welcomed a certain take-it-or-leave it air in the men who sought to date her, she occasionally awarded big-time points for swift, premature declarations of love.
Now, says Thompson, she still appreciates solid self-esteem tinged with moments of raw, naked self-doubt and/or existential angst, but men win no points by being anything less than unfailingly kind and considerate - and addiction issues must be fully in check. Moreover, in a marked shift from the prior policy, premature declarations of love are a complete deal-breaker under the new system, as is a laissez faire attitude to dating; men win points with Thompson only by being respectfully determined and assertive in their pursuit of her.
It's a complicated system, Thompson acknowledges, but she says it works with her.
Given the many grey areas and nuances of the modified points-awarding system, has Thompson informed anyone who might be affected of the changes to the points-awarding system?
"No," she said, with an adamant shake of her head. "That would defeat the whole purpose. People are supposed to just know."