The most critical part of the feedback loop model for action is Assessment: evaluating how your needs are being met based on your experience and using that judgement to form your vision and beliefs.

Vision is imagining the ideal life that fulfills what you want. A vision serves as a target to move towards [1], increasing the chances that you’ll achieve what you want by helping keep a focus – rather than just drifting through life. As the feedback model shows, vision is the input to a control loop that tries to use planning and action to minimize the gaps between reality and vision. Note that thinking in terms of a feedback model is aligned with Scott Adam’s advice to follow systems over goals. Keep in mind that success depends on strategy and execution. There are usually many strategies available to form good plans, but our beliefs play a large role in how we take action to execute these plans.

We tend to form our Beliefs with little rational judgement as to whether a particular belief may actually be true – especially early in our lives. In fact, there are strong reinforcements from confirmation bias to ignore evidence that a belief we are forming may not be true. We may end up reinforcing the limiting belief that prevented moving toward the vision, since confirmation bias will cause us to accept failure as evidence that the limiting belief is true.Without critical thinking around our beliefs, we are susceptible to accepting limiting beliefs that prevent us from taking proper action.

The combination of a rationally formed vision and irrationally formed beliefs can lead us to cognitive dissonance. Holding ideas and beliefs that are in conflict will lead us to try to find consistency either constructively (resolve the conflict) or destructively (ignore the conflict). In order to resolve the cognitive dissonance, additional limiting beliefs may be piled on until we again have a consistent world view [2].

Unfortunately, we often go through this process unconscionably and end up blind to beliefs that may be blocking our progress. This is why it is important to examine our assessment process, strive for critical thinking, and “mind our steps”.