April 29th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments
This is what the dictionary says about ‘faultless’:
“Without fault, flaw or defect; perfect”
In experiential learning and behavioural change, it is better to adopt a literal definition – fault less – rather than confuse faultless with fault-free.
Performance is not about absolutes but, rather, all of the shades that exist between unlikely, polar extremes (utterly hopeless, utterly perfect). The same extremes, and their irrelevance to performance, apply to consciousness, The dictionary defines ‘conscious’ as:
“Aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts, surroundings, etc”
And yet one fundamental aim of experiential learning is to remove ‘conscious’ from the performance equation, to operate below the conscious level. But this should never be taken to mean that you can also remove awareness and attention from the equation.
There is no such thing as a human autopilot, performance that is free from human (self) intervention. When operating below conscious level, you may not be aware that you’re aware, but you are aware. When operating below conscious level, you may attend to your attention but you are attending. One implication of operating like this after much practice is the inability to describe what you’re actually doing when you’re doing the ‘acting’ for the ‘why’ is being handled subconsciously. It is possible to describe the ‘how’ but, in the scheme of things, the ‘how’ is relatively unimportant.
But even highly automated behaviours carry the risk of error, for this risk is never set to zero. It is possible for even the most experienced performers to slip from subconscious to ‘unconscious’ performance. Not literally, of course, unless they faint but the chance of slipping below minimum levels of (subconscious) awareness is ever-present. We’ve all heard people say – “What was I thinking? I’ve done this a million times before.” – as though practice, competence or expertise should provide immunity from mistakes. But “it can happen to anyone of us …. cos I made a stupid mistake’:
Faultless isn’t. Tomorrow, when you’re leaving for school or work, please double-check that you’re wearing trousers!