I was hiking earlier this week, when I slipped on a rock, and mentioned to my friend who was with me “I’m getting old.” To which she responded, maybe you are or maybe you aren’t, but either way it doesn’t matter unless you connect the action to some meaning.
And with this idea, and the idea of feedback loops, I think we can explain most of what makes each of us tick.
A Feedback Loop is a self-reinforced idea. So for example, if I already think I’m old, then every time I experience something that reinforces this idea, this thought of being old gets stronger. Not only that, I start to ignore all of those times when there is evidence in the other direction, that I am not old. Eventually, this becomes a foundational personal belief.
We have these beliefs from childhood rattling around our brains, and the first step to change is awareness to the meaning we are attaching. From there, we can question this meaning, and begin stopping the negative feedback loop we have created, replacing it with something more positive.
In fact, the goal is then to create a positive feedback loop, where you no longer even think to consider that the original belief is true.
So, for example, in my case, the fact that I slipped was not due to “getting older” rather just slipping. I’m sure I slipped when I was younger too. Correlation is not causation, so now instead of blaming things on my age, I know to instead not attach any particular meaning to it – and at the same time remind myself, I’m not so old. And with that small mental shift, I now feel more invigorated, and younger.
It all starts with the awareness of the meaning we are attributing to things in our life. So start paying attention to the little voice below the surface, and questioning what it is telling you.