Are you seeking Feedback or Feedforward?

Recently I conducted a training workshop on the theme “Creativity and Innovation” for a leading manufacturing unit. When the two days session came to an end, I gave a “Feed-Forward form” to all the participants. In this form, I had requested them to share their valuable ideas and suggestions which may be useful for my future sessions.

That’s when one participant, Laddu Pinto, came to me and secretly whispered, “Sir, there is an error in your form. This should be titled as Feedback, but it seems by mistake Feed Forward is printed on it!’

I smiled and clarified. I told Laddu, “Dear, it has been intentionally mentioned as Feedforward!’ The idea is to channelize the user’s thoughts in the right direction. Time does not come with a reverse gear. There is no point, whatsoever, in looking backwards! I said further, “The question you ask decides the quality of answer you get”. Our words and questions play a crucial role in giving direction to the respondent. I am not keen about my past, but I am on the lookout for ideas to improve in future and hence Feed Forward!

Those who dwell in the domain of psychology know that a very exhaustive “item analysis” is done while the process of developing the questionnaire for any specific Psychometric Assessment. This process is adopted to ensure that the right ideas should hit the mind of the reader. The more relevant details one mentions in the questions, richer is the quality of the answers received. 

Two smokers joined a prayer club. The guru there taught the right method to offer prayer to almighty God. However, smoking and drinking were prohibited in that camp. This was a grave cause of concern for both of them. They decided to go to the teacher and ask for an exception. The first person returned hurt. He was bashed by that wise man for asking such an audacious question. However, the other fellow came out laughing. He informed, “I got the permission!” Curious to know more, the first chap asked, “How come is it possible. A teacher can not have double standards. I asked for permission to smoke while praying, and he thrashed me out.”

The second pupil said I asked for permission differently. I said, “Teacher, can I pray when I smoke?” And he said, ‘definitely yes’! 

Friends, when in life you do not get the meaningful answers, must rethink of the questions asked. Once a gentleman asked me, “Sir, how old are you?” I said I am still young, so can not answer you! After all, age is just a number and being old or young is all about our mindset. Well, the idea is the use of proper words and phrases in life. Why can’t we ask, ‘how young are you?’ in place of ‘how old are you?” Or maybe what is your year of birth!

The moment we change our words, our worlds do make an equivalent shift in the direction of our thoughts. I have seen people frequently using destructive and devastating words like problems, bad, tough, disease, past, lost, sad, defeat, wrong etc. 

When you are tempted to say, “I have a problem’, instead you must say, “I am looking for a solution.”

When you are tempted to say, “I am feeling bad’, instead you must say, “I want to feel good.”

When you are tempted to say, “The situation is really tough’, instead you must tell, “I think there is an easy way out.”

When you are tempted to say, “I have a disease’. Instead, you must say, “I am improving every day.”

When you are tempted to say, “I have had a difficult past’, instead you must say, “My experiences ensure that I will have a comfortable future.”

When you are tempted to say, “I lost my pen’. Instead, you must say, “I need to get a new pen.”

When you are tempted to say, “I am defeated’, instead you must say, “I am on my way towards a marvellous victory!”

When you are tempted to ask, “What went wrong?’, instead you must say, “How to make this situation right?”

What we make out of our life is a function of the decisions we take. Likewise, the decisions we take are based on the thoughts we create. Using productive and fruitful words is a great way to ensure we trigger only such feelings which help us move further.

Why not resolve to be consciously aware of our words from now onward? What did you say? “I can’t do it!”, well change that sentence, and say “Let me explore bringing this change!”

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.

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