Learning from feedback

We are all inundated with feedback continually. We could all be learning from everything that happens. Most of us only acknowledge delivered feedback and fail to discover the abundance of other useful feedback. We don't see what we're missing or how to grow, change and learn from our latest experience.

Delivered feedback comes in two flavors: objective and subjective. We cannot argue with objective feedback. Formal systems of evaluation are based on this. All the stats in professional sports, scores in computer games and grades on college transcripts -- deliver objective feedback.

We can argue with subjective feedback. It's not based on fact. It's subject to interpretation and frames of reference. Informal learning and relationships are based on delivering this feedback. Referees, juries and critics all make judgment calls about our conduct. We get told we are out of bounds, guilty or breaking the rules. We also receive word that we are exceptional, valuable or likeable. It depends on who says it, how they see us, which mood they are in at the moment and what we've done to our relationship with them.

Discovered feedback also includes objective and subjective varieties. We cannot argue with what happens, what works or how things turn out. Outcomes provide objective feedback if we discover the results that occur, the effect of our actions or the fallout from our efforts. We fail to discover objective feedback if we rely on fragile or fortressed cognitive structures. We then talk ourselves out of considering the bigger picture and long range consequences.

When we discover subjective feedback, we are interpreting our selective perceptions. We are aware we are framing the evidence, skewing the data and biasing the diagnosis. We discover how we are focusing, spinning or storying the evidence. We use a post modern outlook and appreciate the subjective nature of everything we perceive. We adopt a worldview where "we reap what we sow" and "what goes around, comes around". We look at the outside world as a reflection of our inner psychological condition. We discover countless ways to grow from adversity, change our outlooks and learn from the evidence of our state of mind.

Discovery systems support the use of discovered feedback. Where a delivery system is saying: "now hear this!", a discovery system asks: "how is this useful?". Without being told what to think, learners think for themselves and serve as the best judge of their experience. They learn from how they are treated, framed and allowed to deviate the norm. They discover feedback in everything.

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