Within our Learning Workshops we teach participants to juggle as a way of applying a new Learning Model (Tony Buzan). Most people think that they cannot juggle, so we use juggling as a way to show them they can do a thing they formerly thought impossible! Sneaky, huh? Somehow when picking up three balls to get started that subliminal message rises to the top of their thinking, so that instead of saying, “I think I can, I think I can” like the infamous little ‘choo choo train that could'; we say automatically, “I can’t!”
“If you think you can do a thing or you think you can’t; you are right.” – Henry Ford
I remember vividly that day in August 1994 when I first had an opportunity to learn to juggle. I was excited and discouraged at the same time, because I had bought into that subliminal self-programming, “You can’t juggle”. And therefore, I could not. I was so tense that I was cramping up in my neck and back. I really wanted to be able to have the ability, but the results were slow coming. It wasn’t until I decided to STOP; take a deep breath; determine that the world would not come to an end if I could not juggle-therefore why was I so tense?! So I picked up the 3 balls again and began to toss them one at a time creating the toss pattern and rhythm just as I was instructed. Aha, I began to get a “feel’ for the rhythm. I did not complete a full cycle yet, but I gained confidence in this new relaxed state and began to have optimism and even more fun.
I continued to practice my toss and make adjustments: focusing on the process of juggling rather than the results (catching). Eventually, I broke through and was able to complete one cycle plus one toss and catch…..and the process continued until eventually I would be up to 34 tosses and successful catches, and so on.
Michael Gelb, fellow Buzan Instructor and Master Juggler dedicates a full chapter in his book, Lessons from the Art of Juggling, to the Art of Relaxed Concentration. In it he outlines the process of students tensing up when they first begin juggling three balls. He asks the class “to bring their awareness to their breathing and body/mind state. They are often amazed to discover how much a simple thought has caused them to contract. We point out that their fear-based “psychophysical preconception” has become a negative self-fulfilling prophecy.”
What new thing would you like to learn today or have given up on learning because of this fear-based thinking? Whatever the skill or goal may be, please do yourself a favor and begin with a good model (Michael Gelb is a great resource for juggling). Your model will be based on your learning style (audio/visual/kinesthetic); be mindful of your stress factor; take a deep breath; RELAX, and give it a go!
List your experience in the comments section.