I've had the privilege to meet with many smart people on my journeys and have always been better for it; a meeting a few days ago was no exception.
I was part of a sit down with a "domain expert" to discuss an opportunity we were working on; as we worked through the time available to us, she was quick to offer constructive criticism, injected astute observations, identified realities we were going to have to overcome, and came up with many suggestions. In the end, she looked at us empathetically said, "Sorry to deliver all this bad news."
We told her that her feedback was appreciated, that it had given us much food for thought (mostly because it was all very insightful and spot on), and thanked her for her time. As we debriefed later, worked through our disappointment and started to get our heads around all the work that needed to be done, I couldn't help dwell on her parting words because nothing in what she had said was "bad news" in my mind - I have heard bad news before and what she said was not it.
Bad news would be the doctor has just told you that you have incurable cancer. To offer an even greater perspective, horrific news would be the doctor telling you that your child has incurable cancer - Bad news takes away potential and the future possibilities.
The "news" we heard did none of that.
There is this tendency to identify "easy news" with GOOD and "hard news" with BAD, where in fact it's simply an aspect of the degree of difficulty to deal with it (be it work involved or emotional effort); be it "easy or hard" (as well as the iterations in between), your potential to deal with it is not impacted - It becomes an exercise in how to figure it out.
Truly BAD news (and some of it's more horrific versions) takes away your potential to figure it out and your future possibilities. That is what makes it so BAD.
So in the end all we heard was "hard news", as our potential and future possibilities were still intact.