Archive for June, 2011

Outside Assignment

June 29th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

‘tis nobler will wait while you read the previous post.  It’s about waiting, which is a nothing act pretending to be a something action.  Believing in ‘nothing to do but wait’ can be the same as failing to realise that ‘waiting is doing nothing’.  No buts!

You can’t delegate your waiting but waiting does involve delegation.  Waiting is a form of outside assignment as you are waiting for others to do something that you can, at least in part, do yourself.  It’s a mindset that says ‘If things are meant to be, if it’s your destiny or fate, then they will come to pass’:

This form of delegation is generally regarded as a negative factor in experiential learning and behavioural change, replacing self management with external control. Performance of open-loop skills, usually in complex, dynamic environments, is a continual challenge and, when things (occasionally) don’t go to plan, it is tempting to seek and supply explanations for these failures beyond ourselves.  ‘It wasn’t my fault’, ‘look at what they just did’, ‘this thing doesn’t work’, ‘this is a silly way to conduct business’: these represent examples of attributional bias.  As you seem to be doing what you’ve always done (importantly this assessment is always from your own perspective) when an error occurs, it must be their fault, not yours.  Attributing blame to external factors is another form of delegation and another way in which you can shirk the responsibility for your own learning journey.   Even though they lead nowhere, ‘outs’ are always easy to find.

However, external control does have a positive side.  A study investigated whether external control assisted the grieving process and found that those who assigned cause to external factors – it was their time, that’s life etc – coped with the loss better (as measured by life satisfaction scores).  ‘tis nobler is wondering whether the protective benefits of external control in the grieving process extend to error or task failure.  Could something that dilutes or damages learning also offset the costs of making mistakes?

External control may be mainly a drag on learning and change but it might, just might, help you cope with the inevitable but infrequent serious failures.  Is it possible to exclude ‘fate’ from learning and include ‘fate’ in coping?  Providing a personal, durable answer to this question is not an outside assignment.

Waiting For, God, Oh, Like Forever

June 27th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

How often, if at all, do you resemble Vladimir or Estragon?  These two men are the central characters in the renowned, absurdist Beckett play, ‘Waiting For Godot’.  There have been as many interpretations of this play as there have been productions – you can read into it, and take out if it, what you will for it supports a variety of presumed meanings.  However, ‘waiting’ is a central and enduring theme as Godot never arrives.

There’s no need to do anything for better times are coming.  If we are waiting for Godot, all we have to do is wait, and wait we shall.  The wait can become a weight, a weight that prevents you doing anything other than waiting.  Things will change any time now and there is no need to do anything except wait for the expected change.

Waiting for something equates to doing nothing with nothing to do but wait.  And so everything reduces to nothing.  It’s a show about nothing:

It becomes a show about nothing with nothing happening except waiting.  But just waiting for something is really nothing.  Should you wait for learning in the same way that Vladimir and Estragon waited for Godot, pretending that doing nothing is actually doing something?

We may constantly acknowledge and affirm the challenges in experiential learning and behavioural change but this affirmation may not transcend the words for we are always looking for easier ways, ways that avoid rather than resolve the challenges.  We wait and hope for ‘a pill’ to cure our ills rather than prevent or better manage them through sensible lifestyle choices.  One study demonstrated that people reduced their likely levels of exercise upon becoming aware of new drug treatments for chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity and hypertension.  Do you think that waiting for something that will enable you to avoid the effort is worthwhile?  How long are you prepared to wait for something that may not arrive?

Waiting for Godot is absurd and therein can be found its real strength.  Waiting for, god, oh, like forever is also absurd and therein can be found the greatest danger to your experiential learning and behavioural change efforts.

Neither life nor learning are waiting games.  How will you ever find your own way if you just wait for others to show you the(ir) way?

Slow Down, It’s Sunday

June 26th, 2011 | Related | 0 Comments

Every Sunday, ’tis nobler presents seven things that you may find inspiring, intriguing and informative.  Enjoy! \

Thru Jerusalem – a local, musical, virtual collaboration.

Are we able to sense the Earth’s magnetic field?

The clock in the mountain.  Website here.

We used to think agriculture gave rise to cities and later to writing, art, and religion. Now the world’s oldest temple suggests the urge to worship sparked civilization.

Why a good solid safety rope is essential.

Could different magnetic moments explain why there is more matter than antimatter?

L’equip petit (the little team).

Constant Mess

June 24th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

Today’s post is more than a game of connecting the dots, it’s a search for understanding what these dots mean for your learning and change efforts.  There’s an initial hint – it’s more about the constant than it is about the mess.  Firstly, let’s hear from Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Secondly, let’s hear from The Pet Shop Boys:

And then turn the title around – “What do I deserve for what I’ve done?”

Thirdly, think through the saying ‘Winning Isn’t Everything’, particularly as it relates to the way you ‘play the game’.  When you do, including all sorts of concepts such as self efficacy, motivation, engagement and success into your musings, it might be useful to know that the evidence for the relationship between ‘getting’ and ‘deserving’ supports many interpretations.  For example, self efficacy has been shown to be an important predictor of enjoyment; at the same time, enjoyment has been shown to be an important predictor of self efficacy.  Engagement can be both a cause and an effect.  You will sometimes be motivated by reasoned action and you will sometimes act on the basis of motivated reasoning.  It’s getting very messy.

Perhaps this is a Gordian Knot problem, requiring a ‘Great’ solution.  Rather than trying to disentangle the messiness, it might be better to realise that explaining this messiness, like so many other aspects of experiential learning, is subordinate to the one constant that always applies and that is your effort.

Unfortunately, effort itself can get messy and highly variable, but only if you allow it to become so.  Effort can be independent of time, place and situation.  Effort can determine if you get what you deserve and you deserve what you get.

It’s not a constant mess, for systematic effort will refine your operating systems.  Without the constant, though, things will remain a mess.  And it’s a constant struggle to overcome the mess for ‘Everyone wants better.  No one wants change’.

Looking Elsewhere

June 22nd, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

Apparently, there are over 300 species of (domesticated) goats.  As far as ‘tis nobler knows, none of these types of goat have much to do with experiential learning or behavioural change.

There is, however, another type of goat that features regularly in learning and change activities.

And this type of goat can always be relied upon to perform poorly.  You won’t necessarily find poor performance in its own eyes but you will always find it reflected in the eyes of others.  It’s a handy type of goat to have around even though you prefer to talk about it rather than to it.

It’s a scapegoat.

It’s standard practice in sporting organisations to hold coaches responsible for team performance, with the sacking of coaches being a regular occurrence.  A very extensive and detailed investigation of this activity within the German soccer league found no evidence to support sacking a coach as a way to improve team performance.  Any apparent improvement can be explained as a return to average levels of performance that are largely independent of coaching influence.

Scapegoating is yet another ‘out’, another excuse for all of the leaks in your learning and behavioural change efforts.  It’s easy to play the ‘blame game’ even when you don’t fully understand what is going on:

As a ‘solution’, scapegoating is one example of the potential for convenience to take precedence over validity.  As a strategy, blaming others is much, much more common than it is effective.  Why is it that being seen to be doing ‘something that is really nothing’ is more favoured than just getting on with the job of doing ‘something that is something’?  Pretending that the problems are ‘elsewhere’ because that is where you prefer to look is never a solution.

Where do you end up when you take the easy way out?

Where’s The Zone?

June 20th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

‘tis nobler is wondering whether you’ve ever experienced being ‘in the zone’.  If you have, directions would be appreciated.  Where exactly is this ‘zone’ that people keep talking about?  It appears to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time for you can be in it and then out of it in the blink of an eye.  It’s one of those strange places that you are unaware of entering, aware of while you hang around and always sorry when you apparently depart.

It must be a special place, an exclusive place, a highly sought after location.  You have to be invited but you have no idea what form this invitation takes.  Still, you are always excited to be there, for you can do no wrong while there.  Things just ‘click’ – being in this zone is error-free and empowering.  You never want to leave but you always have to go.

This ‘zone’ is a very special place indeed.  Everybody knows it, everybody aspires to it and everybody hopes that at this time, during this game or in this performance, they’ll enter the zone.  The zone is a special place.

But it doesn’t exist.

To be clear, there’s no supporting (empirical) evidence from a number of well-designed studies, although many will still attest to the zone’s existence.

If you flip a (fair) coin four times and it comes down ‘Heads’ on each occasion, is this ‘being in the zone’?  Are you an expert coin flipper or just an average coin tosser who’s on a ‘streak’?  The answer to all of these questions is, of course, no (although there is some evidence that it seems possible to ‘game’ coin tossing through extensive practice) for what is observed is improbable (relative to other outcomes) but not unknown.  It’s not a ‘streak’; rather it’s just one short-term version of a larger, 50/50 pattern.

Being ‘in the zone’ is the opposite of the gambler’s fallacy, in which a perceived dependence is established between independent events.  Rather than relying on non-existent dependencies between events, this video emphasises the value of effort to improve each event – if you watch to the end, you’ll realise that Sherwin Williams is not the name of the boxer :-)

One way to avoid becoming unstoppable is to hope for the appearance of dependencies, for they will convince you that you can enter ‘the zone’ rather than invest and sustain the required effort. If you establish dependencies between independent events and then use them as an explanation for your performance, you might also be delegating responsibility for your performance to these dependencies, to being in the ‘zone’.  Are you using dependencies as both invalid explanations and poor excuses in your experiential learning and behavioural change efforts?

Slow Down, It’s Sunday

June 19th, 2011 | Related | 0 Comments

Every Sunday, ’tis nobler presents seven things that you may find inspiring, intriguing and informative.  Enjoy!

If you have ever thought about the edge of our Solar System, ‘tis nobler is certain that the concept of bubbles didn’t feature!

This is a fantastic example of street art.

The Guns N’ Roses classic ‘Welcome To The Jungle’ performed (better) by two cellists!

You might think laminar flow is boring, until you watch this video!

When hard books disappear.

From swimming pool to museum, Roubaix, France.

” ….. describes the total failure of the present global antidrug effort, and in particular America’s “war on drugs,” which was declared 40 years ago today. It notes that the global consumption of opiates has increased 34.5 percent, cocaine 27 percent and cannabis 8.5 percent from 1998 to 2008. Its primary recommendations are to substitute treatment for imprisonment for people who use drugs but do no harm to others, and to concentrate more coordinated international effort on combating violent criminal organizations rather than nonviolent, low-level offenders. Read the Global Commission On Drugs Policy report here.

How Should You See The Future?

June 17th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

‘tis nobler is sure you’ve heard things like this before:

“Can you picture yourself receiving the medal?  Can you imagine the teacher giving you an A for this test?  Can you see how your life will change when you succeed?”

It’s become very popular to imagine (visualise) a desired future as a way of motivating you to achieve it.  Will the dreamers inherit their future?

Back here, ‘tis nobler explored the potential benefits of positive expectations and negative dreams as well as the potential disadvantages of positive dreams.  That post concluded with these words:

Having positive expectations, supported by evidence (of effort, insight, progress, feedback etc), leads to success.  Having negative ‘dreams’, the images that the learning process will be demanding, time-consuming and extensive can also contribute to success, for they are directly connected with the evidence on which expectations are based.  Positive ‘dreams’ are unconnected with anything except your dreaming.

Expect the positive and imagine the negative!

Let’s expand this issue a bit by adding that the means are more important than the end for expectations, visualisations and dreams – anything that conjures up images of the future.  If you focus on the end result, you focus on the destination with little regard for the journey.  With scant attention paid to how you’re going to get there, the chances are increased that you’ll fail to arrive.  You may fail to even set off, for this type of visualisation is not benignly ineffective – it can actually make matters worse.  As The Cranberries sing, you are ‘living not for the reality, it was just my imagination’:

What do you imagine happens when it’s just your imagination? As you fail to make progress, there can also be an emotional cost when your effort, plans and journey are subordinated or swamped by a dreamy pre-occupation with the outcome.  It can make you anxious when you realise that the destination doesn’t appear to be getting any closer despite your fixations on it.  You might end up wanting it more and more as time passes but more than hope is required.  As the nursery rhyme states, ‘If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

Dream the process, don’t just process the dream.  Live the dream, don’t just dream the life.  Use your imagination to reinforce rather than remove the required effort.  You can’t arrive without leaving and you won’t leave if you just imagine that you’ve already arrived.

Can’t You See – It’s Right

June 15th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

Can’t you see it’s for the best?  How hard is it to see that it’s for the best?  Perhaps the best way to see that it’s for the best, that it’s the right thing to do in the circumstances, is not to see it at all.  Could it be that the evidence indicates that there is a case for the (temporarily) blind finding the right way (as opposed to the blind leading the blind the wrong way)?

When you look, you can be bombarded with the noise and clutter of life, every part of which is clamouring for your attention.  Some parts will receive it without really deserving it while you’ll overlook some important parts because you are looking over there.  One of the many benefits of sustained experiential learning is the increasingly refined process of sorting the important from the irrelevant and this advantage, while never perfect, can really help decision making.

Still, moral decisions can be more nebulous than performance decisions – compare the differences between ‘Should I say that ball was just over the baseline?’ with ‘Should I hit down the line or hit cross court?’  For a start, the former requires conscious deliberation while the latter is (after some experience) done without  conscious thought.  But there are many other differences and doing the right thing is, rightly or wrongly, often a relative and relatively difficult judgment.

Sometimes, despite the (occasionally gratuitous) advice from others, the right thing to do is not staring right at you.  It has to be disentangled from the clutter somehow and you will gradually learn how to do this in principle and through practice (but it remains something that is ‘fine’ in principle but much more awkward in practice!).

Could it be that the evidence indicates that there is a case for the (temporarily) blind finding the right way (as opposed to the blind leading the blind the wrong way)? The answer to this question can now be revealed, and the answer is ‘Yes’.  Research has shown that the simple act of closing your eyes can assist with moral decision making – ‘so close your eyes, you can close your eyes, it’s all right’:

It’s reasonable to think that this might be another reflection of the value of distance (as these excerpts from previous posts show):

Distance, whether it is physical or psychological, is one way to enhance self-control and maintain your own journey.

Step outside yourself before stepping into their shoes and your understanding of how they see you will be a better fit.

You can set your own ‘distances’ between strategies, motivations and excuses.  How will you find your own way, how far will you travel and how involved in your journey will you be?

It’s worth a try – closing your eyes – when you’re tussling with a ‘Should I’ question.  Create some distance, retreat momentarily inside your head and away from the clamour by closing your eyes.  You don’t always need to look when finding your own way.

Right Or Wrong?

June 13th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

Last week was simple and easy; actually, it was about simple (that’s hardly simple) and easy (when it becomes harder).  This week is about right or wrong.

There is a moral dimension to many of the decisions you make during experiential learning and behavioural change.  Decisions are made on the basis that they are good rather than bad, right rather than wrong, appropriate rather than inappropriate or fair rather than unfair.  However, it is never as clear-cut as these dichotomies suggest for most of these decisions occupy the grey, fuzzy space between these poles (and, to mangle a metaphor, this is fitting for they are often taken in the heat of the moment).  Moral is more tropical than polar!  ‘tis nobler could also suggest that this can also make them unbearable but that would be a step too far.

The traditional view is that we follow a systematic, methodical process in making these decisions, weighing the costs and benefits and identifying the best thing to do.  There is a range of judgments and decisions in the short film ‘Insomnio’ and it gives you the impression these are (silently) assessed over a period of time until a final decision is made:

But it’s generally not a systematic process.  The evidence indicates that the process we use to reach a ‘moral’ decision is as messy and ill-defined as the content of the question over which we are musing.  ‘How am I doing it?’ is just as difficult to answer as ‘What should I be doing?’  It’s fast rather than measured and it’s frugal rather than rich in its use of available information.

And, as you would expect, the process is not immune from external influences.  A dirtier, immediate environment can see you making ‘dirtier’ decisions while cleaner surroundings can see you making ‘cleaner’ decisions.  The process can be affected by mood and situations – holding a cup of coffee in your hands can see you making ‘warmer’ judgments of others – and there is also a ‘ripple’ effect in which a motivating experience leads to ‘better’ behaviour in the short term.  You have been ‘primed’ to act more morally.

When you consider this ‘moral decision maelstrom’, you appreciate how challenging it is to be consistent in the frequent decisions that you must make within your own ‘world’.  We rarely, and fortunately, need to confront big decisions; rather, it is the endless, little decisions that can chip away at our commitment and erode our self-management.

And this is further complicated by our lack of self awareness, of the things going on in our own head.  ‘Should I have a third chocolate biscuit?’  ‘Would it be OK for me to miss a practice session today?’  These are small questions in isolation – perhaps a messy, inconsistent approach to resolving them doesn’t matter.  But you don’t live your life as a series of discrete and independent events – your life is an aggregation of these events.

There’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer to any specific decision you must make but there is a better or worse pattern that emerges from the sequence of decisions you make.  This is the essence of robust and resilient self-management, indulging in occasional, minor lapses as the exceptions that prove the rule of a more positive and sustainable behavioural pattern.

Slow Down, It’s Sunday

June 12th, 2011 | Related | 0 Comments

Every Sunday, ’tis nobler presents seven things that you may find inspiring, intriguing and informative.  Enjoy!

Could the Argumentative Theory represent a unifying theory of human reasoning?

Self control in the Age of Abundance.

Perhaps the Uncertainty Principle is not as uncertain as we’ve thought to date.

Global Slacker – just play the One Day video.

Your online behaviour is very odd when taken offline!

For those with a nut allergy, a technique to produce hypoallergenic peanuts could be a lifesaver.

A new, atmospheric music video from Memory Tapes – ‘Yes I Know’.

For Better Or For Worse?

June 10th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

If you somehow combine the two previous posts, you end up with a post that’s about simple choices.  This is that post, except I might delay writing it for a while.  I should write it now to conform to the posting schedule but I might choose to do something else.  Should I delay implementing my default (scheduled) option?

What is the relationship between simple choices and procrastination?  The relationship is summarised in the title of this post – for better or worse.

And it all depends on the nature of the default option when confronting a choice.

Simple choices often have a standard, popular, normative or default option, for it is the obvious that makes the choice simple.  If the default dominates, choosing is not complicated for the choice, in a sense, has already been made.  This is usually helpful for life is too short to be spent mulling over simple, perhaps irrelevant (to your life) choices.  Of course, the default may not always be the best option (for you or others) – can you imagine the inertia this introduces into attempts at behavioural change?

When choices are delayed, the evidence indicates that people shift from the default and so the effect of procrastination reflects the quality of the default.  If the default option is objectively better, the eventual choice will be worse; conversely, the eventual choice will be better when the default is objectively worse.

And so everything depends on your assessment and/or acceptance of the default.  Serendipitously, the name of this band is ‘Default’ but it’s the title of the song that is the point:

Are you wasting your time when you delay a choice?  Only you can answer that and your answer should reflect much more than your subjective view of your default options.  There are times when simple choices are hardly simple and there are times when easy choices should be made much harder.  Naturally, there are also times when simple choices are simple, easy and correct; at these times, delay can have a real opportunity cost.

When should you choose default and when should you choose delay?  Perhaps the rule of thumb for defaults and delays is ‘for better or for worse’!  And ‘for better or for worse’ is not really a choice, it is more likely to be a decision.  Decide to find your own way – for better.

When Easy Seems Hard

June 8th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

The previous post, ‘Simple Is Hardly Simple’ explored unnecessary complexity; let’s continue to explore this area by listing a few statements that ‘tis nobler will leave to you to unpack.

Choices are choices but decisions reflect skill.

You make choices but you learn to decide.

You do decide to choose but you don’t choose to decide.

Choice is intentional whereas you may not be aware of many of the decisions you make.

Complexity is a strategy affecting choice and a challenge to be mastered in decisions.

For choices, easy can often seem hard.  For decisions, hard becomes progressively easier.

In experiential learning, detail aggravates until experience aggregates.  One of the benefits of ‘time on task’ is the way in which you ‘see’ the world around you – no longer a large number of little bits.  You see the whole rather than the parts; you see the patterns rather than the pieces.  Details lose their capacity to aggravate as they disappear into a bigger picture.

In making choices, however, detail aggravates because experience cannot aggregate the detail.  They remain details, mainly because these details are constantly changing form.  Colours change, packaging changes, options change, new information is presented and the choice you made last week may no longer apply.  In choice, you must constantly re-invent the wheel.

And so we spend more time and invest more effort because we perceive a simple choice as more difficult than it actually is.  This has been described as a metacognitive mistake and the paradox of choice.  These details aggravate because constantly dealing with the world in terms of the myriad bits comprising it is ineffective, inefficient and exhausting.  What is the best mobile phone plan?  What is the best breakfast cereal to buy?  As The Hoosiers sing, “You demand I make my mind up, I decided not to care, Stop giving me choices’:

Is choosing to decide the only sensible choice?  Strip away the unnecessary complexity of choice and focus on developing and validating the decisions that underpin your experiential learning and behavioural change.  It’s not your choice – it’s your decision.

Simple Is Hardly Simple

June 6th, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

Mustique is a small island in the Grenadines island group, part of the country of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Mustique has nothing to do with this post, other than to introduce unnecessary complexity, something that skilled performers at any stage of their learning are wont to do.  Of course, something that is unnecessary for task performance may be highly desirable for the social ‘performance’ that accompanies the task – look at me, look at me!

This post is more about mystique than Mustique.  ‘tis nobler seems to recall that Mystique is the name of a perfume, which is yet again another layer of unnecessary complexity that is designed to throw you off the scent.  Mystique isn’t mystique and mystique isn’t Mystique.  Mystique both is and isn’t Mystique (it isn’t if you could begin a sentence without a capital letter).

This post is getting very complicated, a sure sign that ‘tis nobler must be clever, skilled and (possibly) very handsome in order to handle its demands.  It’s odd that, as you de-mystify performance for yourself through experiential learning, you often try to increase the mystique for others.  Is it because people favour being seen as ‘better’ rather than hard-working?  Is an explanation based on personal qualities preferable to one that proffers effort as the reason?

Continuing to complicate things as they in fact get simpler, whether through jargon, exaggerated effort (the tennis ‘grunt’ for example) or opinion, is creating a rod for your own back.  Think of your learning journey as a search for the simple.

There should be no doubt in our mind that the power of simple is significant and far-reaching.  Simple underpins efficiency and fluency in many aspects of behaviour and skilled performance – there is much evidence that ‘simple’ is seen as more intelligent, more attractive (in commercial and literary senses), more pleasurable, more effortless and less dangerous.  In many of these areas, ‘simple’ can be manufactured; in experiential learning, however, ‘simple’ must be earned.  In this early Katy Perry song, she sings:

…that it could be so simple, Life could be that simple, I wish it were just that simple

But wishing doesn’t get you to ‘simple’, effortful learning does.  And life is never that ‘simple’ but a sustained commitment to experiential learning can, and does, make it simpler.  Just remember what Einstein said:

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

‘tis nobler thinks you know what is fundamentally required to make things as simple as possible.  The ongoing challenge is to avoid going straight to simplistic, a destination that is on the other side of ‘too simple’.

Aim to achieve the power of ‘simple’, recognising that getting (and staying) there is hardly simple!

Slow Down, It’s Sunday

June 5th, 2011 | Related | 0 Comments

Every Sunday, ’tis nobler presents seven things that you may find inspiring, intriguing and informative.  Enjoy!

The most detailed representation of the local Universe – meet the neighbours.

There might be as much water on the Moon as there is on Earth.

Rather than brute-force association, is this how infants learn words?

Staggeringly beautiful – what an astronaut’s camera sees.

Stephen Fry goes (and meets) Gaga.

The new geopolitics of food.

This fantastic music video answers the question, “Who’s going to save the world tonight?”

How Slippery?

June 3rd, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

Split Enz sang that they had ‘just spent six months in a leaky boat, looking just to keep afloat’.  Many people spend a lot of time pursuing goals; this pursuit also ‘leaks’ and you have to keep looking (at what you’re doing) to stay on track.

Deviations from the pursuit may last seconds, minutes, days or forever.  You may get back on track very quickly, you might have to work your way back after a significant departure or you might elect to follow another path (something which can be healthy and positive.  It may be that you spend little time on track during the pursuit for you slither and slide from one side to the other in an erratic fashion – too far off to one side, overshoot the track when trying to get back and go off to the other side and so this cycle continues.  If you are trying to control your behaviour through ‘mind control’ alone, things will probably only get worse!

It is reasonable to expect that minor or transient behavioural deviations will occur as nobody is perfect.  The worrying aspect of these little ‘blips’ is that they can turn into bigger ‘BLIPS’, aggravating further, larger deviations rather than initiating a ‘return to normal’.  As April Lavigne sings, “All my life I’ve been good, but now I’m thinking – What the hell”.  If you substitute ‘diet’, ‘exercise’, ‘practice’ or ‘study’ for ‘life’,  you can find yourself confronting the ‘what the hell’ effect:

However, it is equally possible for these little ‘blips’ to trigger compensatory behaviour and a renewed focus on goal attainment.  The evidence for ‘little blip’ effects is contradictory, with empirical support available for both (diametrically opposed) outcomes.  This is understandable when you consider the range of situations, activities, motives and personalities that interact to produce either outcome at different times.

Sometimes, it really is ‘What the hell, why not?’; at other times, it can be ‘What the hell am I doing?’  It is essential to remember that reliable does not mean robotic.  There will be diversions and deviations along the way, for no journey is entirely smooth and straight but this never means that the journey has come to an end.  Self management involves enjoying the highs and coping with the hiccups in order to continue the journey in the right direction.

Experiential learning and behavioural change can be a slippery slope at times; sliding back seems easier than holding your ground.  It’s your journey – you set the direction, you define the next destination and, at all times, you determine how slippery the slope actually is.

Take Them Off

June 1st, 2011 | Specific | 0 Comments

In ‘Step Outside’, ‘tis nobler asked:

How do I gain insights into my own behaviour by gaining insights into the way you see me?

And then noted:

The short and incorrect answer is to put yourself in the other’s shoes.  The starting point for this leap into different footwear is the way you see yourself; you take your view of yourself and transplant it onto them.  This is where the inaccuracies emerge for research has shown that there is little or no association between my assessment of your view and your view itself.  I don’t fit into your shoes!

Don’t just put yourself in their shoes for this act simply changes your shoes.  Step outside yourself before stepping into their shoes and your understanding of how they see you will be a better fit.

But, and it’s a very important ‘but’, this is much easier said than done for there is a lot of evidence that supports the view that we are generally inaccurate in our assessments of our own behaviour and that such assessments are positively skewed.  Wrong and too rosy is a difficult combination to overcome, in part because being accurate and honest can be confronting.

‘Know Thyself’ may be one of the more common philosophical principles and yet may be the one that is most difficult to achieve.  You might find it difficult to know others for what they do tells you more about the situation than it does about who they are.

And you will always find it difficult to know your own behaviour if you persist in wearing rose coloured glasses.  As Kelly Rowland sings:

Everything is beautiful when you’re looking through rose coloured glasses,

Everything seems amazing when you see the view through rose coloured glasses,

Take them off.

Self monitoring and self assessment are core elements of experiential learning and behavioural change.  The ongoing question concerns the person being monitored and assessed.  Is it actually you, is it the ‘you’ you think others want to see or is it the ‘you’ that you’d prefer to be?  Wear clear lenses when monitoring and assessing your behaviour.  If the lenses have a rosy tint, there’s just one thing you must do.

Take them off.