Self-Amplifying Feedback Loops


Recently, I’ve made a conscious effort to restore some of the work-life balance in my life.  This comes in a variety of forms, some more challenging than others, but all seemingly worthwhile.

One part of this is the drive to continue to ensure that I’m always awestruck.  That is, something, somewhere creates a new experience that simply inspires awe.  There’s a theory that every time someone experiences something that captivates them – that causes them to stop and stare or gasp in awe – that the human body actually experiences a biological reaction that increases our ability to be more, well, human.  Basically, you see something so amazing that your brain has to grow to process that experience.  That is part of what this blog is about.  There’s an excellent video that explains this idea in ways I never could.  Take a few minutes and watch it.

The other part of this is the self-amplifying feedback loop and the power of optimism that comes from it.  This idea is that you brush fate aside and control your life doing the things that you want and building up positivity.  Again, I’m not going to explain it when Jason Silva gets paid to and make videos like this one…  Just watch it.

Both of these ideas really lend to a much healthier lifestyle and a constant mental check to think before you speak/act, and many times for me, to maybe forego something I might want to say or do because I realize it’s something negative.  It works the same conversely.  Surround yourself with negative people and you get caught up in a negative self-amplifying feedback loop.

You may be asking, why the about-face all of a sudden?  Well, I’m glad you asked.

I recently spent a very large amount of time on Facebook, on my own wall.  I went back from today all the way through the very beginning of my account and I read everything I’ve ever posted.  (Yes, it took a LONG, LONG time.)  As I took the journey back through virtual time, two things became increasingly clear to me:  It’s a great way to relive every single daily event, news story, or thought I’ve had since 2008 (good and bad), but more importantly, I started to get a very clear picture of what a negative person I was.  And it was like looking into the mirror of someone I didn’t want to be.  It was a rude wake up call.

Post after post I deleted.  I couldn’t believe how many things I complained about.  I had thought that by posting those complaints that I might be spreading news, or waking people up to something they should know about, or just generally expressing feelings of “meh” or frustration for the day.

When I got to the last post, (which would have been my first post in 2008 to Facebook), I saw that it too was negative and realized that this social media tool has been a conduit for negativity in my life, and that it was long past due to change that.  Delete.  All of them.  It was therapeutic.  It was like a purge, albeit virtually.  And in today’s world of social media, maybe that’s exactly what’s needed.

I encourage you to try it for yourself.  Take the time.  Go back through your wall and relive the ups and downs from the beginning of your account.  Some of you may be naturally positive and I applaud you for that – you can hang out with me and my new positive self-amplifying feedback loop.  But I’m sure others may experience the same thing I have.  And I can tell you, there is a better way and I’ve already noticed a difference in my own attitude.

Try it.  Or don’t.  Just don’t tell me if you don’t, because I’m trying to stay positive.

Good luck!


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