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April 11, 2022

The Positive Feedback Loop

Watch as John goes transforms social anxiety, a fat body, and a low self esteem into a completely different person. And it's all thanks to a mental model called the positive feedback loop.

Watch as John goes transforms social anxiety, a fat body, and a low self esteem into a completely different person. And it's all thanks to a mental model called the positive feedback loop.


Episode 41 for the College Prep Confidential Show, we’re talking about the positive feedback loop, oooooooo, I’m frothing at the mouth to tell you this.


Meet John Doe.


John is a college student


He’s 35 pounds overweight. The poor guy can’t even see his feet when he stands up. He struggles to find a job. He has social anxiety and struggles with confidence. 


He dresses like a homeless person.


Needless to say, he’s coasting through life.


However, deep down, he’s got a sliver of motivation to make a change. However, he hasn’t found the right place to start.


By a small miracle, one of his classmates invites him to a jujitsu class. John goes and gets pushed around and banged up for 45 minutes. Afterwards, he’s hurt, tired, but something happens. He likes it. So he goes home to lick his wounds and comes back for another class. And then another. Within a few weeks, he’s lost 10 pounds. 


John decides to start beginner’s weight training to get stronger with jiu jitsu holds. After a few weeks, he loses 10 more pounds. 


He gets better at jiu jitsu and starts to lift more weight, and now he’s down 30 pounds.

He looks in the mirror one day and sees double chin has been replaced by a decent jawline.

He walking more confident with his shoulders back. One day, another classmate mentions open positions with a telemarketing firm. He takes the job to pay some bills and starts off rough, but has confidence in improving. He starts to make sales. Then more sales. His confidence from jiu jitsu carries over to the phone.

Now he looks in the mirror and decides to make a wardrobe change. No more dressing like a homeless person. He goes to a tailor and gets a solid selection of clothes.

With the weight loss, stronger body, and sales skills, John’s confident grows. He walks better, talks better, stronger, and now, what happens? Women start to notice him. They start approaching him.

Now he’s got female attention.

Eventually, the female attention turns into dates. 

The confidence, the girls, the strength all build up his confidence to the point he’s getting noticed more at work. His boss recommends him for a promotion. Now, John’s raking in 40% more money.

Wow….What happened here? All of this transformation happened in 3 months. If you saw John now versus 3 months ago, he’s not even recognizable.

How does a guy make this kind of transformation in 3 months? If you rewind time and see John’s life in the last 3 months, you can trace it all back to one inciting event…The jiu jitsu class invite from his coworker. And John’s willingness to keep going after the first class, even though he was bruised and banged up. Each small change reinforced John’s confidence and triggered more positive changes in his life. 

We call this the positive feedback loop, and it’s one of the most powerful mental models on the planet. We see this with compound interest, where interest on interest keeps snowballing. Think of it like a runaway train in your favor.

The chance invite to the jiu jitsu class kicked off a series of positive returns. First, the classroom bonding. Then the strength. Then the weight loss, then the confidence.

And it all built on to more confidence which turned into a job which turned into more confidence which turned into a promotion which turned into more confidence which turned into female attention.

The toughest part to get the positive feedback fired up comes at the beginning. We’re always fighting inertia. In order for motion to occur, we need a motivation or force to start it. Think of a snow covered mountain. And a small kid sits at the top. He rolls up a small snowball at the top of the hill and start rolling it downward. At the beginning, the snowball doesn’t have much momentum or size. But as it rolls down the hill, gravity and compounding take over. The snow accumulates more snow, building up the surface area, which accumulates more snow.

Positive feedback loops enhance or amplify changes. Over time, you move away from an equilibrium state like John did until you are a completely different person. In biology,  A positive feedback loop occurs in nature when the product of a reaction leads to an increase in that reaction. In John’s case, the reaction was confidence. Each level of confidence powered John to make more improvements which built more confidence. After the first few weeks, his life went on autopilot to new levels of achievement and joy not seen in years.

The positive feedback loop can happen anywhere, at any time. For college prep, grades, sports, extracurricular activities, social life, physical fitness, the list goes on and on. So how do you find the catalyst for a positive feedback loop? Try one change in your life in any of the list above. For example, for grades, try studying with somebody different. For social life, try approaching somebody new and striking up a conversation. For fitness, try a new food or exercise routine.

The key to finding positive feedback loops comes from testing. New situations, new habits, and new outlooks. All it takes, like John’s story, is one to transform into a catalyst to changing your life. 

We covered a lot in this episode. And I want to help you crush college prep. So I put together a list of expert resources for you. Resources like Test prep, financial aid, and personal coaching. Go to cpcshow.com. That's c-p-c-show.com. If you liked this episode, why don’t you subscribe to stay up to date on a treasure chest of college prep resources and tips? Also, if you enjoyed prior episodes, I’d love it if you gave us a rating on iTunes. Thank you for listening.