What Positive Feedback Looks Like

What we want is to design a plan that gives us some kind of reward or positive feeling, some kind of encouragement. And we want it to give us this encouragement regularly.

Some examples of positive feedback:

  • I do the habit and get a check mark and a ding! from my habit app
  • I exercise and get to tell my friends about it
  • I successfully complete a language lesson and feel a sense of accomplishment
  • I have a coach who gives me encouragement
  • I get a positive grade for a quiz
  • I feel gratitude towards myself for meditating
  • I get a high five from my friend after our hard run together
  • My team gets praise for our accomplishment in the company
  • I check off something from my task list

Notice also that many of these examples will have negative feedback built into them as well: I get a bad grade, my habit app streak ends, I feel embarrassed that my friends know I haven’t exercised for a week, my task list is neverending and makes me feel overwhelmed, my coach might criticize what I did today, I forgot to do the language lesson and feel bad about it.

So if most systems have both positive and negative feedback built in … what can we do?

We have to design a better system.

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