What Jiu-Jitsu’s Teaching Me About Business and Life, Lesson #11: The Perpetual Feedback Loop


Feedback – it’s that thing that many of us don’t like to get.  Feedback occurs in various forms in our life such as a teacher telling us where we messed up on a test, a coach telling us where our deficiencies are, or a boss highlighting what we need to improve on.  From the time we are little kids we constantly get feedback.  We get feedback from our parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, bosses, spouses, friends – some of it solicited, and a lot of it unsolicited.

Feedback is critical to growth.  In most cases the people who are giving us feedback are doing it in our best interest, and they have something that they can share with us that, if we put into practice in our life, we will be better at what we are doing.  The problem is that, in many cases, when feedback is received, we don’t embrace it, especially if that feedback is unsolicited.  Many times our egos get in the way of embracing the feedback that is given. Criticism (which in reality is just feedback) can sting if we are too attached to our actions, and not emotionally detached enough to see things objectively.  Also, our pride can jeopardize at times our ability to embrace the feedback that is given.  We may think we know better.  We may disagree with the advice that is given.

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, feedback is immediate, and instantly given, but it comes in a unique way.  A way that is done without needing to say anything, but in a way that when given, we never forget. 

The feedback is physical.  When I’m rolling with someone who is better than me, or even at my same skill level, but they catch me in a submission, my body receives immediate feedback, and registers it instantly in my mind:

Don’t do that again.  Watch for when that happens.  When I’m in that position in the future I need to do this.  I shouldn’t immediately do this with my arm. etc. 

When I catch someone in a submission, again my body immediately receives the feedback and registers it in my brain:

I got that one because I did this.  I need to make sure next time I watch for that signal.  If I use my legs in this way I have more leverage. etc. 

Feedback, both positive and negative, is critical to my development.  The amazing thing about BJJ is that all of the feedback comes without ego and without attachment.  I can’t have an ego when I get caught in a submission.  It is what it is.  It is reality made manifest.  I can either learn, or simply get caught again.  Likewise, when I catch someone in a submission I can’t get caught up in ego because I know that it is only because of certain variables playing out that I got the submission, and in the future those variables may not present themselves in exactly the same way.

Jiu-Jitsu is one continual feedback loop.  This is something that makes it amazing, and addictive, because I am in a state of perpetual learning, where ego doesn’t exist. 

I think about this often in my life and my business.  I want to live in a similar perpetual feedback loop, basically where everything that happens to me is just feedback that I can use to get better.  No emotions.  Just a constant state of evolution, and learning.  I have found that when I am learning, and when I am evolving, I am at my most fulfilled state.  If I live with a mindset of a perpetual feedback loop, where everything that happens to me is instructive, and part of my growth and evolution, I cannot help but be fulfilled.


2 comments on “What Jiu-Jitsu’s Teaching Me About Business and Life, Lesson #11: The Perpetual Feedback Loop”
  1. donfm says:

    Reblogged this on I am Don F.M. and commented:
    Nice post about my two of my favourite things.

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