WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO

RC_WhatToDo_1600x1200_v1-600x400I probably love certainty and knowing more than most people. I just want to know what to do…and do it. Which makes not knowing what to do very uncomfortable.

While there is likely an organic reason I feel this way that has been strengthened based on my history, there is a reason why I like to think in these terms. We want there to be a tight feedback loop between knowing and doing.

So what do you when you don’t know what to do? What do you do then? You focus on knowing.

Sensation and action…it all comes back to that. When you don’t know what to do, you increase your knowing. You start seeking.

Even I have more than one interest. And when I can’t make progress in an area, I move to another area. And then I ask the ever important question…

What more do I need to know before I can do more? There will be some unanswered question that I’ll try answer. So I’ll start my research.

I’ll start with reviewing what I know in all the areas I’m stuck. If that yields not fruit, I’ll see if I have anything on my reading in those areas. And if that leads nowhere, it’s time to change directions.

I’ll start researching something I’m interested in but not doing yet. It may be a book I’ve already wanted to read or a video series on youtube. New inputs often lead to new outputs.

I’ll take a new action in a new direction. Or maybe this information will clear my mental palette. Maybe I’ll be able to act a new way in an old direction.

Whether I learn something new, take new action, or am once again able to take old action…it’s a win. Progress in any direction potentiates other directions. And eventually, I’ll know what to do.

Before I didn’t know what to do. But when I worked to increase my knowing, I learned new things to do. And when I did those new things, I sensitized myself…so that I knew more.

Doing potentiates knowing. Knowing potentiates doing. It’s a dyad that constantly grows…and grows you.

WHAT I WANT

Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 10.28.22 AMI spend a lot of time in physical practice. Whether I’m on my own practice mats, home gym, at a commercial gym, or visiting a dojo, I see a lot of people physically practicing, too. But it seems they’re all practicing the same thing.

Bench Press, biceps curls, triceps press downs, and cable crossovers make up the repertoire of the men’s physical practice in the gym. Squats, deadlifts, and donkey kicks make up the build of the women’s physical practice in the gym. I’m not practicing any of those exercises.

When I go to the dojo, I see the more athletic guys practicing their arm attacks. And I see the lankier, more brainy guys working their complex guard combinations. I don’t fall in either of those camps, either.

When I’m in the gym, I’m working on two classes of things. The first class is what I “have to.” If I’m experiencing pain or limited functioning, I’m working on reducing that pain and restoring that function.

The second class is what I want to. I want to be able to successfully take down people when I grapple…so I practice the takedowns I think will work. I want stronger hands so I train the types of pinch and support lifts that test well for me to practice.

I don’t think practicing takedowns is for everyone. Nor do I think practicing grip strength is for everyone. But what is for everyone is individual practice based on need and want.

And so what I keep workings and what I want is simple…but not easy. I want people to work on two things. First, I want them to work on what they need to work on.

I don’t want them to avoid an exercise or movement if it has hurt them in the past. I want them to break it down, work on the parts, and then put it back together again. The only way to become whole is to reclaim what was lost.

Second, I want people to work on what they’re uniquely interested in. No matter how different their physical interest is, I want them to pursue it. Be the weirdo in the gym…if you’re a weirdo.

Remember, you have to train every single motion…periodically….or you’ll ultimately lose every motion…one by one. This is what you have to do. And when you do that, only then will you be able to do what you want to do. And when you do what you want to do, you’ll become more than you ever were before.

ONE BITE AT A TIME

howtoeatelephantProbably the joke I tell most often is, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The message behind the joke is to take the big parts of life and break them into bite size chunks.

I’m usually telling this joke to a person who is overwhelmed by some big task. It’s meant to bring a little levity to a challenging situation. But it’s also meant to be instructive.

As mundane as the advice is, it’s among the most important I give. And it’s not just advice I give, it’s advice I take. I, too, have to take life…one bite at time.

I’m partnering in a startup at the moment. The product development is at a stopping point. We have arrived at the marketing phase.

How do we get from where we are to where we want to be? One bite at a time. But it’s hard to know what the next bite is.

What’s the easiest way to solve a maze? Work it backwards. We have to start where we want to be and go backwards…until we can go forwards.

Our target market is independent MDs. We have some insider knowledge about the culture and workflow of the independent Doctor’s office. Plus, we know where we are.

Those are our two data points. Now to draw a line. What is the closest distance between where we are and where they are?

What is it they need to see…to hear in order to change what they do? When we answer that question, then we’ll know what we need to build, what we need to present. And then the experiments start.

For each failed experiment we run, we change at least one variable…the variable they were least positively responsive to. For each successful experiment we run, we repeat it. Over time, we find the most successful approach.

When we’ve found the most successful approach, we reproduce it…in a big way by going after Doctors virtually. But the data collection doesn’t stop there. Now that we’re working with a bigger sample, the data we collect is even more meaningful.

That’s just the first few marketing “bites.” That isn’t the entire elephant. But that’s OK, we’ll keep moving forward…one bite at a time.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU?

Silhouette of a woman standing in 2018 on the hill at nature

I’ve written a couple of texts on productivity. One was THE PROGRESS (RE)SOLUTION. The other was YOURS TO DO.

They’re the most popular at the beginning of the year. It doesn’t hurt that I run a sale on them. I will again this year.

As each year starts, we’re left to contend with how we fared last year and what we want from the next. Maybe you got far last year, maybe you didn’t. So what’s gonna change this next year…what can change?

A common analogy to use is that via tissue turnover, over time, we replace all parts of our body. In a very real way, we become a new person…kinda. We’re an iteration of what we were.

What we have done, what we have put into our body for raw materials, and where we have been all help to determine what kind of iteration we will become. And we’ll become either better…or worse. And what determines better or worse?

The pain sciences and the mental sciences measure one common thing to determine severity of conditions: functionality. How much a person does or doesn’t do tells us a lot about how much pain or how well they’re mentally functioning. In short, the more function, the better.

We don’t just want to be a new person. After all, we don’t want to be a worse version of ourselves. We want to be distinctively better.

Better entails two main divisions: feeling and doing. We want to do better and stop doing worse. We want to feel better and stop feeling worse.

While that seems simple enough, it’s far from easy. But becoming a new you requires a few birthing pains. But in order to do and feel our best, we have to minimize that pain of change.

A lot of people are selling (and we have been buying) that change is hard and painful. Big, positive change is. I think that’s why so few of us change for the better.

Positive change doesn’t have to be painful. But if it’s too big, it will be painful. So find the smallest positive change possible. Then the next time around, see if you can’t go bigger.

And sometimes positive change means not only doing more but doing less. And often doing less of something isn’t that easy. That’s when it’s time to once again turn to what you can do.

Sometimes the best way…and the only way…to stop doing what you don’t want to do is to displace it. There is only so much time in the day. You must displace what you don’t want to do with something you can do.

So what can you do? That is the question. And there’s a way to make that question even better.

Ask, what can I do that would make me feel better? And then follow it up with another question, now what can I do? As you feel better and do more, you become more than you were before. A new year can bring a new you.

SEASONS CHANGE

seasons1_tcm424-25832This year has ending. A new one has begun. Do these ritualized milestones mean anything to you?

What are you ending this year? What are you starting the next? What will continue?

What have you learned this past year? What is still a mystery? What does 2018 hold in store for you?

I understand that our calendar year is somewhat contrived. Nevertheless, it holds a power over me. And it’s not just me, it holds our collective attention. And where other people focus affects my focus.

And so I turn my mind to the past year…and the next year. What do I want to change? What do I want to remain the same?

Did I head in the right direction? Am I going the right way now? How has the past year going to affect my next year?

This past year was one of the most challenging of my adult life. So many things that could go wrong…did go wrong. Want a partial list?

I moved-twice. Made less money than ever before. I lost an important adult friendship.

I developed a new pain issue so I wasn’t able to practice BJJ. Since I wasn’t able to practice BJJ, I lost my adult social outlet. And then finally, my Father died.

Many of the “downs” I experienced in 2017 were beyond my control. It was just part and parcel of being alive. Which leads me to the ever present question in my life: what can I do?

What can I do about my living situation? Money? Friendships?

What can I do about my pain? My Martial Art? My loss?

For every season, no matter the season, there is a question. That question is the same question: what can I do? And no matter whether I’m in the midst of a low point or high point, I ask that same question.

As the new year approaches and I think what I want to different this year, I’m asking that question. And the answer to that question tells me my first action. And if I can’t perform that action, I ask the question again. I keep asking until I find something I can do.

The basis of what is taught in The Movement is the relationship between sensation and motion…between every feeling and action. For every feeling, there is an action. For every seasonal problem, there is a question and there is an answer.