Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Half the time, we’re fooling ourselves, and not twice, but several times; over and over again. Self improvement, career progression, creative insight or learning in general will almost always get better for you as time goes by, as the subconscious feedback you’ll receive from trial and error will happen quite seamlessly. However, leaving this for your subconscious self is like waiting for life to get better by putting in very little or no effort, it might, but let’s be frank, it’s not going to happen in a reasonable time-frame or to the extent we would like — if we don’t put in the effort.
Classic long-winded article introductions aside, you deliberately need to assess actions you perform in all aspects of your life to truly understand if you’re progressing or you’re stagnating. There are many ways you can do this, you can educate yourself, find a mentor, keep giving it your full attention. Though, I’ve found that all of that becomes nullified if you haven’t implemented a feedback loop that keeps you on track.
Action > Outcome > Assessment
You’re unhappy about something, you want a change, you want to better an aspect of your life, so what do you do? You take some sort of action, and if you don’t, you’re doing it wrong. Inaction breeds stagnation.
After taking the action, you will reach some sort of outcome. This outcome may be immediate, it may not have occurred yet or it may be a bit of both. Either way, you’re continually assessing this outcome. You started hitting the gym? The short term outcome is that you’re struggling to fit things into your schedule, you’re feeling sore, you might be feeling more energised.
Your assessment is that the soreness will go away, progress will be slow and you need to find a way to re-organise your time. There you have it, you’ve gone around the loop once, so you take another action.
Your new action is to address the earlier assessment. You start sleeping earlier and waking up earlier to fit your workout in before you start your tasks for the day. The outcome is that you’ve successfully integrated this new activity into your life, the soreness has gone away but according to your assessment, you might not be making the right amount of progress. So you take another action to address your assessment. Maybe you switch something in your diet. You get the idea.
You may be thinking, “Hey I do this already Sherlock.” And you may be, your brain has got you this far, I’m sure it can make decisions on the fly. The problem isn’t that you don’t do it, the problem, like mentioned earlier, is that you’re not 100% conscious of it happening.
If you make the switch to consciously stick things into a feedback loop like the one above, you’ll immediately start seeing the different. This may be anecdotal but I’m sure it’s not just me — 90% of the time, the feeling of being overwhelmed, your thoughts being scattered, the feeling of hopelessness can be traced back to not knowing what to do. Not knowing what to do with a fitness routine, a career decision, a relationship and I dare say life in general.
By having a framework to make these decisions, by consciously assessing the outcome of an action you’ve taken. By deliberately doing things with a combination of pro-activity and reactivity, you will become a decision-making powerhouse. Will it always be the correct decision? Hell no, but it’ll be better than rolling the dice with your subconscious. Less stressful too, believe me when I say that…
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Here’s another article that I think you’d like — It’s 8 Tiny Things You Can Do To Immediately Improve Your Life In Less Than 3 Minutes
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