A plant bends with flexibility - changes as it needs

Flexibility and Change

I want to let you in on a little secret. 

You are much more flexible at changing and evolving than you think you are. 

I’ve spoken before about how humans tend to be scared to evolve in life: how flexibility and change can seem daunting. But when you have self-confidence and self-faith, that ability to really trust in yourself, your soul mission, and your deep patterns, that’s when your self-growth and evolution exceeds every expectation you’ve ever had of yourself. 

Feedback and Change in the Plant Kingdom

The plant kingdom has a very specific way of teaching you how to build your self-trust and confidence, and it involves taking in as much information as possible to create what the natural world knows as a feedback loop; a cyclic information flow that allows an organism to modify a reaction appropriately. 

None of us are strangers to the unexpected, right? No matter how much you try to control every little thing that happens within your life, change is inevitable. So much so, that at Damanhur we say, “The only constant is change.” One minute you’re sitting in a homeostasis nirvana, then BAM… in comes a foreign object or species that changes everything. Key elements of your world are called into question and you find yourself wondering what to do next: Do you defend? Do you engulf? Do you partner?

You can adopt feedback loops into your personal or business life, wherever you need to, so when things change in the blink of an eye, you can trust yourself to respond and make decisions in the best possible way.

Observing The Environment

Plants are highly attuned and responsive to kin’s local environment for this very reason. Any change can be an opportunity to evolve, therefore plants develop many different kinds of feedback loops to constantly receive information. Here’s one of the first things plants taught me: good information is the key to a conscious decision made with confidence. Flexibility and change can be made from a place of wisdom.

Back when I was a release project manager at Microsoft, I discovered that the more data I could process about how the software development was progressing, the more effective my decisions. I didn’t have to trust myself, as much as I had to trust in my ability to process, organize, and react to data.

Kind of like Acacia Trees in Africa…

When herbivores come in and start nibbling on the leaves, these trees send out a distress signal so that other plants become aware that herbivores are in the vicinity. At first, the signal is light. Something along the lines of, “Hey everyone, there are some hungry folks around here. Take inventory of what you can spare to feed them and plan accordingly.”

If the number of herbivores increases or there are extenuating circumstances, such as drought, the signal might be a little different: “Alright everyone, we have a bit of a situation here, so you might have to take some stronger measures. If you feel your life is in danger, up your tannin levels. There will most likely be casualties, but that’s OK. A number of them and a number of us will survive, so we can find the balance again.”

What This Feedback Loop Shows Us

This is a great example of how in nature, most feedback loops are short, strong, cyclic, and well-tuned between the signaler and receiver. When a feedback loop is triggered, plants look to see who triggered it and why, ready to make modifications, as necessary, based on the answers. 

If it creates a disturbance, they work to get back to balance in order to ensure that the situation doesn’t create further damage because, in kins world, balance or homeostasis is always a key goal. That balance can either be by going back to what was or by using the stimulus to reach a new balance, whichever is more adapt to the given situation. 

When the stimulus is positive, such as rain after a particularly dry season, the plants work to use the situation to create a new set point. In that moment, the goal is to quickly evaluate how to make the most of what just happened. They are cautious not to create an unsustainable new set point, so just one time the stimulus is triggered is not enough change permanently, but it does give kin the ability to test new permutations and create new feedback loops so that if it happens several times again, it can become the new normal.

Test, Adjust, Be Flexible, and Make Change

Creating a relationship with the world around you and understanding the environment you’re immersed in is also an effective way of developing enough trust within yourself. In this way, you can more easily test new ideas and models to meet your goal of sustainable health and happiness. 

If you’ve spent time in nature, you’ll notice that plants often look for multiple, low energy expending ways to achieve the one goal. Then, using feedback loops, kin determine which is the best one to use and direct the most energy into that path. For you, this is a great way to look for small ways to test change and evolution in your life to build resilience, self-trust, and tailor your decision making processes in your professional and personal environments.  

A great benefit of exploring many different routes means that you’re not falling into the trap of believing that putting all of your eggs in one basket is the most efficient way to achieve your goals. Modelling how plants explore multiple options and embodying their resilience rather than focusing on efficiency is a way of developing skills and knowledge to build your own confidence. 

It, admittedly, does take time to build up your confidence in yourself! 

Feedback Loops For Yourself & Building Confidence

I’m not saying it’s a matter of clicking your fingers and boom your confident, but recognizing and creating your own personal feedback loops—actions you take that you then receive feedback from and can build on—is an incredibly beneficial way of building your confidence over time because the more you see the results of previous decisions, the more easily you trust what decision to make going forward.

Just as nature has its seasonal cycles—which is probably the most obvious form of a feedback loop nature demonstrates—so do you. Building your self-knowledge and awareness of your own natural cyclical patterns and processes are steps to building your self-trust. Knowing your general characteristics means you can work in alignment with them and your true natural self to reach your goals and make decisions in harmony with your values and beliefs. 

Your Own Toolkit for Change 

Using tools like journals and project management systems are great ways of tracking your feedback loops and periodically reviewing how your behaviour and patterns might change depending on what’s happening in your world around you. They also give you the opportunity to see your strengths and allow you the opportunity to know yourself, without judgement, making it easier to understand your own feedback loops and also recognise your feedback loops with others. Doing so allows you to increase your self-confidence and self-trust to use this information in your career, personal life, relationships, and decision making processes. 

Improving feedback loops in your personal or professional life could be the most high-leverage intervention you could use to catalyze innovation, increase effectiveness, and stimulate self-growth. 

I’d love to know, were you aware of the concept of feedback loops? Do you feel like they are something that could help you to grow your confidence? 

Tigrilla is a Nature-Inspired Leadership Mentor and World Ambassador for the Plant Kingdom. She helps leaders achieve personal and professional success by integrating nature-inspired innovation in order to bring meaning to Life and make an impact with work.

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