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How To Make Your Changes Stick

No time to slow down? Need a way to make your changes, and make them stick “on the run”.

Then I’d like to share with you the way to make the changes you want without ever having to slow down. In fact, this way will actually help you make your changes more quickly and easily, and guarantee they stick, as well.

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
Alan Watts

First let me share with you an experience I had this week here in Portland. The circus was in town! Well no, not the circus, but the most amazing collection of human and 4-legged performers I’ve ever witnessed; Cavalia!

What we can learn from extreme performers

Cavalia is a collection of 65 horses and 54 riders, aerialists, acrobats, musicians, and artists that perform feats that amaze and delight, several times a week and twice on Saturday and Sundays.

There are many facets of this traveling band of performers but one, in particular that has to do with the topic here in this post; learning, specifically learning on the run.

The show consists of so many variables any of which can, at any time, shift so that “mistakes” are made, be it a slip or miscalculation by either horse, rider, or acrobat that sets a series of “unplanned” or “undesirable” results in motion.

But Cavalia understands something overlooked in most learning and even performance environments and I think it’s the reason it delights so many and is so successful.

Cavalia policy during a performance is this: any “mistake” is viewed as the opportunity to perfect the “trick”, “movement”, or “performance”. No matter what happens, if a slip occurs, those involved simply do it again until it is successfully accomplished, thereby “anchoring” it correctly.

Not only is this useful to the performers who get to “cement” the correct way of performing, using muscle memory, in the moment (rather than anchoring the mishap) but the audience loves it! A sense of satisfaction, contribution, participation rises and joins the performers to the audience. And the result is something completely magical!

Ahh, that we could all have been raised with this attitude!

But if you were not, it doesn’t mean you can begin to adopt it now, in your own life. And the best news is that it doesn’t involve anything hard. In fact, you don’t even have to slow down. Simply back up, or circle back around briefly and enjoy a “do over”.

What this accomplishes is this:

  • You release the “mistake” and anchor the “desired result”.
  • You teach your body/self what it is you do want in terms of performance; we call this learning
  • You pave the way for an increase in your capability to perform

What this might look like practically

This might mean getting off the phone in a conversation that didn’t go well and immediately picking up the receiver, pretending the person is on the line and aloud practicing what you wish you’d said instead.

You can pause during a presentation, take a breath and reword a thought or idea testing so that it expresses what you really wanted and you see understanding dawn on the faces of your audience.

You may ask a co-worker if he/she would be willing for you to attempt a certain action once more so that you can accomplish it in a way that feels better.

And I’ll bet you can think of some other ways to use this idea. The magic happens when you do not wait, but reattempt in the moment. Then you get the learning.

True, lasting change is about so much more than just changing our thinking

There is so much talk about managing our thoughts these days. But this is what is most people do not understand: that change only happens when it finally anchors in our body, in our action. The fastest, most “sticking” way to create the changes we want happen through action, in our muscle memory in the present moment.

And when we make a mistake, the way to undo and strengthen what we do want in our actions is to catch it in the moment and perform “correctly”.

I’d love to hear how you’ve either used “learning on the run” or could use it, in the comments below.

0 thoughts on “How To Make Your Changes Stick”

  1. A great reminder to lovingly try again and make room for the learning process. The show with the horses is such a beautiful example of something we can practice everyday, and that even the learning & practicing is art! Thank you for this, Deborah!

    1. That’s what struck me too, Danielle. I love the way you phrased that, “even the learning and practicing are art”. That’s what I saw in the performance and it made me wonder how quickly we could all learn and evolve if we stopped, had a do over in the moment. From what I saw, it can heighten learning for all, intimacy, closeness, and excitement. It seems we fear the opposite (or I know I was taught to do so). Imagine the world as one big playground where we were all just playing with our “tricks” for the fun of it!

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