The phrase “feedback is the breakfast of champions” is one that sticks for me.
I’ve found for myself that the level of feedback I get does indeed relate remarkably well to the speed at which I improve.
If I don’t know what to do in a situation I go for the option that will give me the most feedback. Often that means working out how to fail faster.
Micro-feedback. Feedback on the smallest little aspects of what I do.
Fast feedback. Feedback that comes in as soon as I’ve done something so that I can judge how I am going.
Clear feedback. Knowing that there is a direct relationship between what I did and what results came up.
Universal feedback. The good, the bad, the awkward, the painful, the surprising – all of it and more.
Safe feedback. Feedback that doesn’t cripple me from trying again, either emotionally (and that’s for me to handle mostly), but also physically, financially, practically as well.
I’ve watched my 3 children learn how to have a bath as they grew up.
At first I put in all the work. Holding them up in a sitting position with their head out of the water.
Then they are sitting for themselves, and with all their wobbling and wavering they are mostly okay. They just look shakey and have me reaching my hands out every few seconds, then every few minutes.
My goal was to catch them only when they couldn’t recover for themselves.
If I thought there was no way they could find their own way out of it, then I’d help them, but otherwise…
I remember my youngest daughter as a baby falling back and ending face up at the bottom of the bath where for a brief moment her surprised face was staring at me through the water above.
I brought her up and she was fine but she didn’t like it one bit.
One time after this when she fell back she managed to grab a hand rail on the side of the bath as she did so. Her outstretched arm was saving her, but she was stuck, hanging in midair just above the water surface. She knew that this wasn’t right, but she’d never been in this position before so she just hung there.
I watched, moved close enough to catch her, and waited until she unfroze and started to wriggle.
The first time this happened she wriggled so much her hand came loose and she fell into the water again where I plucked her out. The second time she found a wriggle that got her out of it and my hands never touched her.
If you’re going to practice you need feedback.
Gravity is ideal feedback.
Water is ideal feedback too.
Almost everyone learns to walk and manage a bath safely, but in reality both these skills are immensely complicated ones.
Anyway I’m heading off to my counseling practice now.
How much of YOUR life do you think of as practicing?
-Dr Martin Russell