Moving through our life we go through an endless series of feedback loops, that come together to shape the path that we are moving forward on. Whatever we do triggers some form of reaction (internally or externally), which provides us with new information, that we can use to prepare our next step. We received some form of feedback.
If we weren’t able to receive and assess new information, nothing would ever change or we would do everything completely at random all the time. But that’s luckily not the case. Quite the contrary actually, as we can also take feedback that other people received and add it to our information portfolio. Therefore, not everybody has to do to the same mistakes and bad experiences for us as a whole to progress. Isn’t it good to be social1.
This situation has put us in the position in which we can achieve many great things without having to collect our own feedback first. We can cook fantastic meals that we have never cooked before by following a recipe, as somebody else already refined it and figured out what works and what doesn’t. Tutorials and guides exist for almost everything and are widespread thanks to the internet. Collecting our own feedback seems to have become optional for many things.
However, since we are individuals, we won’t ever be able to solve everything with the information that others collected. Some things will always require us to make our own moves, receive our own feedback and make our own moves based on it.
Therefore, feedback in different ways has an important role in our life reaching for goals.
Anticipated Feedback is the Reason behind our Goals
Behind every great goal is the imagination of receiving some specific feedback once we have achieved it. We build up an expectation in our head about how it will be when we reach this specific goal, about what will happen and how we will feel. The expectation of receiving this imagined feedback is what gets us to take action in the first place. The outcome seems valuable enough to pursue.
While things can always turn out differently as we expect, as long as we have the capability to imagine a valuable feedback to wait for us upon reaching the goal, we will be able to take continuous action.
From time to time, it makes sense to assess whether or not we still have this capability driving our actions towards a goal, or if we simply got into a routine that we rinse and repeat without checking in with ourselves. In many cases we can gather more feedback while taking the action towards the goal, but it actually changes our opinion about the value of reaching that goal in the first place. What seemed desirable, suddenly doesn’t anymore. Then it is time to make a new move.
However, often times it is also just a lack of new feedback over a longer period of time that makes us feel doubt about our plan to reach that goal. It might make us want to give up. Then it can help to acquire new sources of feedback to reinforce our initial belief.
External Feedback can Fuel our Motivation
Sometimes we just keep working towards something, but after a while when the initial excitement wears off, it doesn’t feel as simple anymore to keep putting in the effort. We have all experienced this situation many times before, and the longer it takes to reach a goal, the tougher it gets to move through such phases.
While it’s probably impossible to completely change this scenario, we can ease it by finding ways to receive external feedback. Enabling ourselves to receive input from someone else is highly valuable as it might provide us with more information that we needed to see our initial vision again.
Personally, I have made great experiences with that by connecting with fellow bloggers in a chat group and by receiving comments from random people reading my articles. It has only been a few so far, but sometimes they came exactly when I needed to hear some kind of encouragement. They really make a difference and I’m really grateful that people take the time to write a few words.
Three comments that I received on articles on this blog
It is definitely worth to actively find ways to receive external input. It might be all it takes to keep at it, when we feel that our motivation is thirsty for some guidance, new ideas, or just some attention. It is normal, so why should we deprive ourselves of it, when we can also use it as a tool to get closer to our goals.
Obviously, it is also possible to receive negative feedback. But chances are that when you work on something that you consider to be valuable, that many others actually feel similar about it. And after all, also negative feedback can provide valuable information.
Feedback Enables us to See Things Differently
Since feedback is simply put new information that we can add to our inventory of knowledge, there really isn’t any harmful feedback. For sure, others might criticize us or correct us on some occasions, but that can also be beneficial in terms of finding a better way to do things. Also, sometimes we actually do stupid things, and then it is good to have somebody questioning us and forcing us to reflect on it.
Receiving feedback is also a matter of keeping our emotions and rationality in balance. When we are too emotionally involved into something, it will be difficult to make the right move with regards to the bigger goal. Then it can help to actively bring a rational opinion into the situation, that is completely detached from the topic and can provide us with the needed balance. Or the other way round.
Instead of trying to protect ourselves from different, negative, or unpleasant opinions, we should always be encouraged to receive any kind of feedback. Over time, this will also help us to develop the skill of better understanding which feedback is actually valuable, and which we shouldn’t consider imooportant.
There’s really nothing to lose when we decide to examine how we respond to and rely on feedback and how it can help us to reach our goals. Therefore, it is just as important to establish ways to receive feedback as it is to set goals. Then we have access to it when needed.
Personally, my ways of receiving feedback regarding my print on demand business is sharing knowledge and ideas with my best friend, who is also in it. Also, we have established a small group call each month with other friends pursuing their own business goals, where we share our goals, progress, and keep each other accountable, as well as expressing honest opinions.
In terms of my blogging efforts, I have set up traffic analytics for my website, to see whether or not my content is found and read by users. As mentioned above, I also joined a chat group with fellow bloggers from the Coil platform, which motivates me to keep at it, and serves as a place to share thoughts and get inspired.
Looking forward to hear your thoughts on acquiring and dealing with feedback in the comments below this article.
- Social: “relating to society and living together in an organized way” as defined in the Cambridge English Dictionary.