Personal Challenges

“how do people respond when confronted with challenges that are personally presented?”

When you think about it, no matter how much experience you have, there is always the next moment when you might discover something new, right?

The characteristics of discovery is partly what AT is about. How to recognize a discovery when it does emerge.

Mostly people are defensive when challenged. This happens for many reasons; because most people assume a challenge means a contest determining a winner and loser. If they can courageously rise to the occasion and possibly realize that defensiveness either isn’t necessary or is actively not particularly fun or creative, things get interesting. Let’s say the nature of the challenge is you ask people to change their manner of speaking, ( for instance.) Most cannot do that for very long. They will see it as a personal affront to be challenged in this manner because they can’t do it or sustain it. Most adults are not used to being made into a beginner. They had to accept when young, and thus they react as if threatened – many attempts to demote people into beginners is regarded as a sort of “hazing.”

Once people become willing to challenge themselves, I noticed that people seem to have a “favored” way of directing their attention – and also a “favored” way of evaluating results. It is always fascinating to describe these and compare them to other possible styles and preferences.

Usually people do not know that there are other styles and ways of evaluating, so this process is quite eye-opening for them (and fascinating to me.) For example of various favored computations used in making decisions or evaluating results:

  • Some people “add up” results, searching for similarity or grouping what they determine belongs together by their own somewhat idiosyncratic associations.
  • Some people will “match” looking for a exact “fit,” of course, casting aside things that they assume do not fit. Some people “contrast to reveal differences” which is a more appropriate strategy for tapping the unknown.
  • Some “subtract” to “distill the essence” which implies there is already a criteria and a priority in place.

You could generally think of these points as being tied to the various means of critical thinking. Critical in the sense of being able to make critical or operative distinctions, rather than critical in the sense of passing judgment or assuming a position or opinion that then must be justified or gain agreement.

This process is related to AT because objective description of the sensibility of the instrument and how you are using it will, obviously, direct the possible results. As teachers, we are asking students to abstract the specific examples we give them in order to apply them to other situations and circumstances.

OK – what do you think about this?

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