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Feeding Feedback Loops



In high school I wanted to be fit so I could be better at basketball. Really I just wanted to dunk. Never happened but it sparked something that would serve me long after my hoop dreams faded. 

Wanting to be fit led me to learning how, which led me to training well, which made me feel good, which made me keep at it. I learned more, trained more, felt better and on and on. Wrapped up in this positive feedback loop, decades later I continue to reap the benefits. A lifelong passion for fitness, where making healthy choices has never been a chore. 

Feedback loops are powerful and are all around us. 

Costco provides quality goods at low prices, this leads to more memberships, which leads to more sales, which gives them more leverage over suppliers, which enables lower prices... 

Feedback loops can also go astray. 

Drinking soda feels good, so you drink more. You gain weight, feeling bad you drink more to feel good again, which leads to more weight....

Cycles are stubborn. Momentum takes hold and you start running downhill, for good or bad. Staying in shape is easier than getting in shape. Never smoking is easier than quitting. 

Negative cycles are easy to fall into. Immediate rewards makes them attractive. Fast food, procrastination, infinite scrolling. All feel good in the moment. The consequences come later.

Positive things require delayed gratification. 

An introvert taking the first step to be more social will feel overwhelming anxiety. With persistence, the anxiety lessens, they gain confidence, leading to more social behaviour, which builds more confidence... 

Every action we take, we're reenforcing some feedback loop. If we're mindful, we can leverage this power to move and easily stay in the direction best for us. 

 



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