Monday, 29 February 2016

Apply Self-Regulation and Accept Feedback

"We reap what we sow."





This is the fourth installment in my discussion of the 12 principles of permaculture. This time I am sharing my thoughts on the principle, Apply self-regulation and Accept Feedback.  Please go to this link for my thoughts on principle three. 

Self-regulation is not a term we hear bandied about in general conversation, so first I think it appropriate to define self-regulation. It is the ability to monitor and control our behaviour, thoughts and emotions in accordance with one's own long term best interest and in a way that is consistent with one's personal principles. It is considered to be a core component of emotional intelligence. Applying self-regulation enables us to choose the best response in a situation rather than acting from impulse or habit. 


Examples of how I apply self-regulation  in my life include:
  • I regulate my expenditure by maintaining a budget that works for me and my husband.
  • I regulate the amount of TV I watch


Inappropriate growth and behaviours can be limited or prevented when we apply self-regulation and accept feedback. Accepting feedback helps us to grow  and adapt to changes in our environment. Here is an example, my husband and I planted a sprouting choko which died. We planted a second choko which also died. So here we have two examples of negative feedback. If we were to move on from this stage we had to accept the feedback and find a better way forward. I asked someone who had grown chokos about how to plant them and it turns out ours were planted upside down. So we accepted the new feedback, planted the choko correctly and it grew and fruited. 





Self-regulating systems are one of the main goals of permaculture designs because less work is needed for them to be maintained.  An exciting (for me) example of this is the vegetable garden we recently constructed. It is a keyhole style garden with a compost basket in the centre. The compost is watered and the nutrients spread through the garden as does the moisture. We have never had plants take off and fruit so quickly. 

In the future I  would like to harvest plant my own seeds which over time should adapt better and better to my local conditions, and by monitoring the growth of the different seeds I could obtain feedback as to which are growing best in our conditions.

For me an inspiring example of people who, in my opinion, apply self-regulation and accept feedback are Mr Money Mustache and his wife Mrs Money Mustache. They both retired in their 30’s and live on income generated by investments. They achieved this by regulating their consumption (money and energy), living what they call a frugal life, but from what I read on their blog it is a fairly abundant life too, not lacking in anything they need to achieve happiness. They believe masses of people could do this as well by ceasing to live ridiculously expensive lifestyles full of consumption and waste. http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/about/)

Are you familiar with permaculture? How do you apply the principle "Apply self-regulation and accept feedback" in your life?

8 comments:

  1. I am a long-time fan of the Mustaches. They sure rattle me out of my complacency!

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    1. I too am a long time fan of the Mustaches. They are a source of inspiration for me, and when I start to wonder if breaking free is really possible I check out Mr Money Mustache for a pick me up.

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  2. I hadn't thought about this principle in a while Sherri so thank you for the post, it allowed me to revisit and give this some thought. I suppose I apply self-regulation mostly in my attempts to restrict consumerism in our household - trying to spend only on needs not wants. Without self regulation it would be easy to just be sucked into the consumerist whirlpool.
    My lemon tree gave me feedback last winter. I had failed to fertilise it regularly, or use eco-oil when I should. It rewarded me with citrus leaf miner, stink bugs and no fruit. Subsequently I made up a calendar marked with a fertilising and spraying program. My reward is glossy green leaves and fruit!

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    1. Your lemon tree is a terrific example of this principle in action Hutchy! As part of my course I had to do a huge monthly maintenance calendar that had to include six areas of maintenance each month, with plants being only one of the six areas. That was quite a job but it will help keep me on top of things around here.

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  3. Great post and great example with the poor upsidedown chokos! I think this principle is so important and often overlooked in our society. I think it also includes constantly questioning what else could we do? How else could we reduce waste or consumption etc? And then applying that feedback. Kind of internal feedback as well as external :)

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    1. Yes Liz, I agree that evaluating what we do and looking for better ways forward is so important. Finding time in our busy lives to do this is the challenge. I find I can be so tied to my "to do lists" and my desire to get everything 'done' that I push away the need to think and reflect before acting. However the permaculture course I am doing forces me to gather lots of information and evaluate the information and then to demonstrate how I am putting it all into practice. (Much to the expense of my precious'to do lists')

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  4. Sherri, I badly need to have a maintenance calendar. I love the story about the choko plant. I have never grown them so would probably do the same thing. LOL!

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    1. Truth to tell the choko story doesn't quite end where I left it. Some time after discovering the right way to plant a choko, we had a choko ready to plant and I mentioned to my husband one day I was going to plant it that day. My husband, being a very helpful fellow went ahead and planted the choko for me. When he came back inside to tell me he had planted it for me, I asked him if he had planted it the right way up, his face froze for a moment and then he said, "Of course". I knew in that moment he had planted it upside down again, and we raced out to the garden each of us trying to get to the choko plant before the other to re-plant it the correct way.

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