Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thinking & Acting on Manual

Every time we have a mishap, almost without exception, it is due to some sort of lapse, error, mistake, calculated risk or violation. If we were children, we could almost certainly be characterised as either childish (unintentional motivation) or foolish (intentional motivation) in these situations.

The trouble is we’re all fallible humans. No matter the planning and any amount of risk mitigation we put in, there will still be incidents. Some are because we intentionally violated the rules; others because we just didn’t think. Some others, further, because others didn’t think and we’re caught between the proverbial rock and hard place.

Natural consequences come to bear.

It’s like me walking along a paved pathway. The slightest irregularity in the butted pavers or slabs is an ever-present hazard. You guessed it, if anyone’s going to have an embarrassing slip it will be me! I have the clumsy gene.

About the best thing we can do to lessen our chances of having mishaps entirely is learning how to think manually and then do this eventually (over time) in automatic.

To think and act manually means staying present, and thinking with focus in the present world context and acting accordingly. For instance, when we walk we focus on the actual placement of the foot with our proprioceptive senses alive to all irregularities so our body responds appropriately and safely. Result: no sprained ankle or knee when the ground gives way, or we miss our footing, as happens occasionally does.

This works in every way we use our bodies. The following steps are exercises for building manual thinking/acting, excerpted from You Lead, They’ll Follow:[1]

  • “Frequently stop and ask yourself the key awareness question: ‘Right here, right now, what is happening, internally and externally?’

  • “Every half-hour stop whatever you are doing and ask the key awareness question.

  • “Every time you change direction, whether walking, turning your head or moving differently, ask yourself the key awareness question.

  • “Constantly practice being your own silent non-judgmental observer or witness.”

This might appear to warrant an excessive amount of concentration. It actually works in reverse to this. I believe we actually build more capacity and broader focus capabilities when we build our thinking/acting manual skills. It’s a mental discipline and skill that almost anyone can learn if they’re determined to.

And it’s not only going to help us not make slips and mistakes with our safety, it will also alert us to bad moral choices and failures too.

Think of the person deceived over time to enter into an affair. They’re clearly not thinking manually, logically. They’re living a fantasy, which is heavily contingent on the thinking of both the past and future, but executed in the dangerous present.

Also, when we take the easy way out (which is an immoral choice) we’re choosing to ignore the present needs for both ourselves and others affected. There’s a delusion present, and because we aren’t i.e. present, we go blissfully unaware of the fact. Ignorance reigns.

The present holds the key to our lives. It’s the place of universal influence as we create our own futures using the God-given potential we all possess.

Embrace it; the present!

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.

[1] Acknowledgement: Daniel Kehoe, You Lead, They'll Follow: How to inspire, lead and manage people. Really. Vol. 3 (North Ryde, NSW: McGraw-Hill Australia, 2004), p. 74-75. Material in this article comes from these two pages of the book. Daniel Kehoe acknowledges the contributor, David Deane-Spread, as the author of this particular material.

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