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Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Power of Feedback

Could feedback be the root of all choice? If we think about all of our choices and why we made them, I would wager that somewhere in there we thought about some form of feedback. Whether it be achieving eternal life or which potato chips to buy, we make those choices based on some kind of feedback.

We start this agonizing journey of feedback accumulation when we are babies. We act and the mothership responds. It first starts with basic things (i.e. messy pants, hunger, tired) and progresses into the big choices (i.e. who to marry, where to live, etc).

How does our performance increase or decrease based on the feedback we get? This is where we feel the feedback. I love climbing sports because I can accomplish some very difficult routes with the feedback from my climbing partner/s. But not all feedback is externally based is it? We create our own feedback. I suck, I can't, I can, I'm great and so on are all forms of internal feedback. I often make a choice based off of what I tell myself as well as the comments made by others.

Ice climbing brought a form of feedback to my attention. I was used to feeling the rock, or more importantly when I was slipping off the rock. Ice climbing reduces that tactile feedback to a great degree. Instead of my own fingers feeling the rock, now they can only feel the ice tool handle and the firmness of its purchase into the ice. So, for me at least, instead of feeling the hold, now I hear the hold. I can pick up the slight sound variations the tool makes when it is planted firmly into the ice. Feedback comes in many different forms, shapes, sizes, sounds, and feelings. But it is coming at a constant rate whether I want it to or not.

The cool thing is that we can choice to filter what feedback we base our choices off of. Our minds are an incredible thing that we can actually control. I do not have to accept negative feedback. Although some negative feedback could be, and would be beneficial for me to respond to. Like the sound of moaning or cracking ice, I think it is time to bale off of the route. Take the time to think about what feedback you are basing your choices off of. Just maybe, it is counter productive to your performance and how you see yourself.


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