This post is part of a series called NAMED. Seeking a way for my students to remember the steps of how to use Alexander Technique, I came up with a simple word they could remember to help jog the steps. The letters of the word stand for each of the steps.
N…notice This series was started on April 4th. 2013
A…ask This post explores a bit the “A” part of the mnemonic.”Ask.”
Once you’ve got some observations and have asked some questions, it’s time to conduct the experiment.
You’ve probably got some ideas what might be a better way to accomplish the goals you have in mind. What we’re talking about here is how you might move to put these goals into action where the rubber meets the road…how you walk your talk, so to speak.
The usual way to accomplish goals is to become urged on to do so. This is a fine strategy when tiredness or overcoming resistance is a factor. But what if those are not the issue? Does urging help when there there is plenty of motivation, (maybe too much of it) – so much desire to succeed that the person is beginning to overdo, to fall over themselves or freeze up? What happens when there is so much value riding out an outcome? For instance, how can that experienced pool shark miss that “easy” shot merely because of the pressure of it meaning winning a tournament award?
Conducting an experiment means you’ve never done it before. You’re not urging yourself on to keep going, you’re urging yourself to dare to metaphorically jump off a cliff while paying attention.
In order to learn any skill reliably, it takes practice. Practice when the pressure is off, and when the pressure is on you’ll have much more of a chance to put it into action at a crucial moment.
So the first ingredient for conducting an experiment is to make it safe for yourself to take chances. Try to put in place various guarantees on personal safety, social consequences, to take responsibility for other people’s possessions and other concerns you might need to minimize risk or loss. Find the smallest chunk that doesn’t make the alarms go off that engages the habit.
Instead of substituting one “better” set of procedures for a “worse” out-dated ones, I’m going to suggest that you merely stop doing the outdated ones and see what happens. Perhaps you do not need the put in place any other substitutions.
Stopping what you had been doing that was leading you where you did not want to go is the first step – and sometimes the only step needed for improvements to arise spontaneously.
Give it a go!