Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The path to personal power

"Three things" is an exercise I've suggested to folks attending seminars I've conducted for The Artist's Way, The 100% Solution and others intended to boost self esteem and getting us in touch with all the intelligence and power we never use.

It's said that we use *less* than 10% of our intelligence in everyday life. That's less than 10% of the intelligence we are capable of using. What's going on with the other 90%? It sits there, lying fallow, subject to atrophy or disappearing.

If you've watched any of the American PBS series on the brain, science has proved at this point that the way to keep our mind sharp is to continuously learn new things.

To expose ours brains to new information, skills, ideas, subjects, activites and problems to solve.

This means new *different* data and movement.

For example, if you play piano, it doesn't mean learn new piano pieces, it means pick up the guitar as well. Learning new piano pieces keeps you where you are, taking on a new instrument fires up your brain to be more responsive, faster and actually smarter. Especially as we age.

Now, here's the "Three Things" exercise:

1) For every single thing you do, dream up two more ways to execute them, perform them, do them. 2) For every thought you have, dream up two more ways to think or respond to what's going on.

If you wake up when your alarm clock goes off, think of two other ways to get yourself up. You can have someone call you, wake up on your own, wait until your pup or kitty jumps on you or licks your face, set your cell phone, get a sunlight lamp to waken you.

If you ordinarily get out of bed by pouring yourself out on the left side of the bed? Think of two other ways you can get your feet on the floor. Get out on the right side, get off at the end of the bed. Two other ways.

If you ordinarily start your day by thinking about how you dread going to work, create two other thoughts to kick off the first day of the rest of your life.

If you ordinarily get pissed when someone cuts you off in traffic, think of two other responses you can have to the event, like: 1) Nice. Time to slow down and smell the roses. Or, 2) Guess I can't say anything - I've accidentally done the same thing myself and more than once.

Now when it comes to the "doing" - you don't have to actually do anything differently, you just have to come up with two other ways you could.

So if you ordinarily have cornflakes for breakfast and think of two other things you could eat - soft boiled eggs or yogurt - you don't actually have to consume either of the other two choices. But before you chow down your flakes, be sure to consider your alternatives.

I can guarantee you, as you get started, you can't do this for more than a couple hours - if that - before you get tired, because we're not practiced in the habit of coming up with other choices; we usually do "the same old thing," and wonder how we wake up one day in the place we are - finding ourselves in a rut.

For artitsts? If you always use blues, why not reds? Yellows? Greens? New mixtures?

For writers? If your protagonist is always in Los Angeles, why not Paris? Why not Geneva?

Mind you, if you make your living photographing flowers, that's terrific. But think of two different objects to shoot as you do this and you'll always come up with a fresh angle and see your subjects with new eyes.

If you only write books, why not explore a screenplay, a poem, a lyric? Most writers I know create work for all genres and mediums. I think it keeps us and our work fresh.

Likewise, as a writer, I work alone long periods of time. That's why it's fun for me to coach people one on one as well as do occasional seminars and attend social engagements surrounded by people.

As a writer, director and coach, I'm in charge. I like doing things where I am just one of the bunch, not in a leader position or have anything to say about anything. I like to think of myself as an equally good teacher, student and observer.

The outcome of doing this exercise - at least beginning your day doing it - is twofold.

First, you'll be thrilled at how powerful you are! It is shocking to experience all the power we can use when we choose.

Second, you'll be totally bummed by thinking about all the personal power never used, all the missed opportunities and brainpower we've wasted.

But here's a way to ramp up your mind, your self-esteem, your relationships, job, dreams, goals, everything.

If you're feeling trapped, pour on the Three Things exercise about anything and everything until you start coming up with other ways to manage your life that don't include captivity.

Brain power!

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home