This is the second post in a short series on what FM Alexander can teach us about steps to creativity. Last week’s post was called Make Mistakes!
Decision making is a shadowy discipline in creative ventures. We all do it, but we don’t necessarily give our decisions their full value or significance. Will I play that phrase legato or portato? Does my character say that line because he is in love with the girl, or because he is pretending? Should I blend in the vermillion, or leave a harder edge?
The Alexander Technique has a lot to teach us about the value of decision making. FM Alexander’s account of his creation of his work (in The Use of the Self) is full of it! Here are the elements ofAlexander’s endeavours that I have found useful:
1. Examine the evidence.
Alexander’s account of the evolution of his technique is bursting with words descriptive of examination and deliberation. “This led me to a long consideration…” “I observed…” “It gradually dawned upon me…” “On discovering this, I thought back to see if I could account for it…”
Alexander gathered evidence, and then he evaluated it at length. Nothing was discarded or discounted. He even included this step as part of is plan to employ his reasoning processes, as analysing the conditions present.
Do you gather and examine the evidence? All of it?
2. Make the decision!
Once FM analysed, he used his reasoning processes to make a decision, and he acted upon it. So often we try to avoid making a decision, especially if it involves difficult or equally problematic alternatives to choose from. But we need to make a decision. Until we do, we keep ourselves stuck.
3. Make the decision, then STOP WORRYING!
Often, our reluctance to make a difficult decision stems from worry about whether we are choosing the right alternative. What if we get it wrong? What if the other choice was better after all?
There are no guarantees for us, and there certainly weren’t any for FM. He was facing the loss of the career that he loved. He had no idea if the theories and physical experiments he was trying would work. But he tried them anyway, and when they didn’t work, he tried something new. The prospect of success was worth the risk of failure.
In his book Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki writes, “Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.”
Are you prepared to risk failure in order to succeed?
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