The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Currency of Time

Quite often I find myself pondering on how we perceive time in its various forms, and how we understand the 'currency of time'. Rather as with money, this fuller understanding of time as a 'currency' helps us spend it with more wisdom.

The Inner and Outer temporal worlds

Time is a very spacey concept and I believe that the more ways of looking at time we give ourselves when we are young, the greater the understanding we have of how (a) we fit into time outside of ourselves, (b) we can manipulate our perception of time within ourselves and (c) how time intervals have a bearing upon our sequenced thoughts and actions.

Like most things, we first come to getting an understanding about time from our parents and older siblings. Through this understanding and multi-modelling process, we form our own perceptions of time and how we run our lives relative to the past-present-future continuum, time intervals and sequenced thoughts and actions.

The Importance of Now

Recently I was coaching a group of young players all aged 10 and under - and at the end of the session, after a very exciting game, they all sat down and I just recapped what we'd been doing, and how they'd all fared etc. Finally we went into a short 'Q & A' to finish the session.
This is usually where the children ask questions ranging from something we've just been doing to just about anything else. Its all conducted on a very quick and snappy basis by them and me, and its a good way to spend 60 seconds or so of final interaction. Often interesting remarks bubble up to the surface, and this time was no exception.
"What Time is it?" asked someone, and as I glanced at my watch I couldn't resist responding with the famous quote from Yogi Berra, "You mean NOW?"
Curiously, a level of quiet fell over the group, and it was one of those occasions when you always wished that the 'cameras are rolling'. I grasped the opportunity and continued: "The Time is Now," I said. "On my watch its always Now. Yesterday, or earlier, has gone. You don't ask someone 'what time is it ten minutes ago' do you? No you ask about Now. Tomorrow, or later, has yet to arrive. When it does get here it will be Now. Only Now is right Now, here and now. And Now," I said very slowly, "is the only place to Be." It was literally one of those timeless moments, as I could almost hear the words landing in their collective unconscious.
It certainly wasn't quite like this scene from the movie SPACEBALLS -

For most people, time is a real and almost tangible thing. Amusing as this graph is intended to be, it illustrates very well how we unconsciously 'bend' time, how the currency of time has a different value depending on whichever "land of the Now" we are residing in.

Controlling Our 'Tide of Time'

I've written elsewhere about how we each make up our 'world' - our own individual realities - and I call it the 'Reality Building'. Within this 'Building' are 3 vast temporal rooms or 'Halls': Memory, Now and Future. We see and run our lives in these Halls, and generally we move in and through these Halls in a fluid, flowing way. A lot of the time though we just get carried along by "the tide", without realising that "the tide" is something WE CONTROL, not something we are CONTROLLED BY.

Whether we are 'living in the past', or putting off our lives for something in the future (the "I'll be happy when..." people) - we always feel that the tide has taken us into that particular Hall. Whereas the reality is that it is OUR TIDE - and we choose where it goes and how it goes.

The Impatient Client

I once had a session with a client who "wanted help with time". Sadly, she never allowed our discussion to get beyond the pre-requisite of her telling me what HER perception of 'time' was. As I asked her various questions to elicit the information she stormed out of the session saying, "All you do is ask questions - this is a complete waste of time." Ironically, if she'd seen a video of herself doing this - then she'd have got all the answers and help she needed. I did think that if she came back I'd ask her one more question -

"When you come to a road and, given that you want to get to the other side, you can do one of a number of things - just walk across without looking, look to see if there's any traffic, ask someone to help you across, or you could stay where you are. So, which do you want to do?"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Confidence and The Leap of Faith

In a recent post in this blog I wrote about the Magician's Mindset, and how taking this single-minded approach to what we do - especially in terms of a contest, a performance, taking an action - is a choice that liberates us from the debilitating shackles of self-questioning and self-doubt.

In terms of an illustration for this I always use this clip from Indiana Jones, called the "Leap of Faith"


The thing about self-doubt is that it is like a stalactite or stalagmite, built up by drip-drip-feeding from failure, lack of success, non-success, shortcomings, the damning effects of "could do better", the inability to please others or ourselves. The other thing is that once it has grown in one particular place, then a pattern has been established (a blueprint if you like) that allows it to be replicated in other parts of our life.

There is another blueprint - for self confidence, built in a similar way, and that pervades, by replication, other parts of our life.
And stepping back to take in the bigger picture, there are a whole range of blueprints, channelled by experience, that we build and use in all parts of our lives.

The Cache for speedy processing

These blueprints sit on the shelves in our chart-room along with our maps of the world - waiting to be consulted for whatever we are doing, or are going to do. The thing is that the more we use certain blueprints and maps, the more we are likely to use them again and again. Rather like the 'cache' in our computer's memory, we keep these blueprints and maps close to hand for quicker processing. If we are 'good at confident' then we continue to be good at it - likewise the pessimists, the mopey types, the hypercriticals, the judgementals reach for the same regular maps and blueprints because they're near to hand, and they continue to be good at being how they are too.

How do we talk about Confidence?

Look at these statements and decide which means more to you, which one reflects your beliefs more, and which is the most powerful for you:-
"I have confidence in myself"
"I am confident"
"I am self-confident"
"I have confidence"

Two statements relate to having - two relate to being; Two refer to just "I" - the other two refer to "I" and "self"; plus there's an implication that "confidence" is some kind of an entity; and perhaps other linguistic nuances abound also.

The ebb and flow of Confidence

The thing about confidence (or being confident) is that (for most of us) it ebbs and flows through our lives and we tend to want more of it when we are approaching or anticipating a crucial or important event or action for us. Most people ask me things like "I'd like more confidence when I do X" or "I want to feel more confident when Y happens". The requisition of more confident(ce) is needed in a certain context.
Then there's the people where the ebb and flow is less noticeable, where the tide is always low, and who just "want more confidence in my life" or who "want to be more confident in everything". Now these tend to be the folk who use SELF when describing what they want as well, and although this might be construed as being "just the way they say things", the fact is that they are also using SELF here - for a reason.

The late David Grove, the psychologist who developed Clean Language also developed Pronoun-scapes - and in particular how we break down the view of things relating to ourselves into the four categories of "I - Me - Self - You". There are ambiguities in the way we describe things about ourselves in this fourfold regard, that have a powerful hold over the way we draw and use our blueprints. Take this conversation as an example:-

"You know, I find that one of the things that happens to me when I talk to myself is....."
How would you finish the sentence for this person?
My reply is most likely to be:- "...that I don't really know who I'm talking to?"

Amusing as this may seem, once you start to listen out for how people use these pronouns when talking about themselves, it gives you some great clues as to what's going on inside their heads - and also clues as to how they can clear things up and move on.

So - back to Confidence!

Ideally, it's a way of being - on the inside. "I am confident!"
It's a way of doing actions when you don't have to worry or be concerned about how things will turn out. It's a way of playing or performing when you know that through the processes the outcomes will be the best they can possibly be in this precise moment.

For all of us, getting to the state of having more Confidence is again about understanding the Leap of Faith - rather than relying on luck, superstition, drugs, alcohol, the quick 'external' fix, The Mask, The Tuxedo, the Invisibility Cloak, Sparky's Magic Piano etc.

In terms of Indiana Jones, Confidence is faith that the "stone bridge of processes" is what gets You from Now to the Outcome of the other side. Yes you can be guided, but that step, that choice, the Leap, is something only you can do.

It starts by looking ourselves in the "I".

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Session Built on Magic

One particular lad I coach (aged 14) is developing mental perspectives well outside ‘the box’ and part of the weekly challenge recently has been to explore differing mindsets and how the mind-body link with each one, plays out within the confines of his technique.

Choosing our Realities

This week I talked a lot about perspectives and realities – and how we make up our realities based upon our beliefs and experiences, and how these beliefs start out and grow. If we believe particular things about certain venues, certain opponents, certain playing conditions, certain arbiters and officials, certain selectors or examiners, certain coaches (and so on) then every one of the above “certain” scenarios is likely to have a negative or a constraining bearing (or effect) upon the way WE are going to play or perform – if we choose to let them do so.

Being at “Effect” rather than "at Cause"

The thing about all our different realities is this – each one is just one version of “the truth” – His, mine, theirs etc. The thing is that no particular one is right, no particular one is more real in the real world than the other, and of course we can choose a different one every time. However, taking this choice means we have come to a fork in the road, a fork where one way leads to being "at cause" and the other to being "at effect". To do this we adopt a particular mindset, in order to align our view of the world with our view of the physical and mental approach and behaviour we are going to take. The choice is ALL ours - except that the choice of "at effect" doesn't actually feel like it is a choice we have made. The causes are all external, and we are the victims.
We’re all familiar with limited beliefs and excuses such as these ...

* “But HE made me do it!”
* “I was distracted – they put me off my concentration”
* “The Ref was a complete idiot”
* “I didn’t believe I was good enough”
* “Nothing felt right today”
* “My head was in another place”
* “We always lose to them – they’re our bogey team”
* “I hate xxxx – he winds me up just being there” and so on.
These are all external or internal distractions that we have chosen to react to in a non-useful way.

Manipulating Realities and Framing Success

“So, do you enjoy magic – do you like watching magicians doing tricks?” I asked him. I noticed a half smile that said he knew some shift in perspective was just around the corner – and he nodded so I continued.
“Magicians have mindsets that are centred on trapping and focussing your attention on one thing and then changing the reality where you aren’t paying attention. They also have, built into that mindset, a belief that they will always succeed.”
He was showing attentive curiosity now...
“So in order for you to ‘play magically’ there is a mindset you can adopt that is very much like that of the magician.”

The Magician’s Mindset

“Most of us go into any contest, performance, action even, with what I call two frames of mind. There’s the one based around what we want or would like to have happen – and there’s the other based on what we don’t want or hope won’t happen.”

This is akin to the famous phrase that says ‘Those who believe they can and those who believe they can’t, end up being both right’ – because their actions are geared towards proving their beliefs.

“All the things that happen in the contest, performance, action, we then set about comparing with our two frames of mind – and in this we justify ‘how things are going’. If it’s not going well then we react badly and if it’s going well then we might get complacent. Its that mere act of comparison that torpedoes our performance. However – if we go into the same contest, performance, action, with only ONE frame of mind, the success frame, the magician’s I-can-trick-you frame, then whatever is going to happen is ‘driven by us’ in advance AND, curiously, we tend not to make any in-play comparisons either, leaving them until the event is well over. It’s about changing the thinking from I-hope-to or I’d-like-to in favour of I’m going to”

“The other thing about the magician’s mindset,” I continued, “is the first bit - about focussed attention. This is all related to our manipulating our reality or, in other words, playing with and changing the balance of our sensual input. The magician will direct what we are looking at by talking to us in a certain way and inviting us to feel things in a certain place. It’s very cunning, and it plays with the balance of our senses in a way that we can’t consciously control. However, we can control it when we are being the magician to ourselves.”

Taking single-minded action

I invited him to step outside of his comfort zone and take the challenge of trying something different – and approaching it with a magician’s mindset, to be single-minded. There was a period of adjustment, especially as I hadn’t invited him to do something quite like this before. Then, once auditory sensual data and internal dialogue was turned right down, the changes really began to take place in terms of visual-kinaesthetic. He found the challenge exhilarating, physically as well as mentally tiring, and with some super-quality outcomes. It was interesting how he described it as mentally tiring, because he was treading uncharted territory, and this was something akin to hacking a new pathway through a “neural” jungle. I did point out that it would never be quite this tiring again.

The Priceless Comment!

Later when his one-to-one with me was finished and we were both engaged in some general activity with the rest of the players in the group, I made some remark to one of the others about being able to know what an opponent was going to do even before he did it. It was then that this particular young player grinned and asked,

“Pete, is this whole session this morning built on Magic?” It was quite the most perceptive question I’ve been asked for a long time.


It was a timely reminder that when we are working with clients, one of the pre-requisites for great interaction, learnings, changes and understandings, is rapport. And, for me, part of the magic of coaching is rapport and where clients then feel able to go with whatever changes they want to bring about. Although in this case I was guiding a player to break new ground, essentially part of our rapport was his trust that the new ground would be useful, purposeful, worthwhile to him as a player – and indeed as a person. Building a ground-breaking session for him within a frame of magic and artifice, was also ground-breaking for me too.

In reflecting upon our session and his amusing yet insightful remark, I have discovered that there is a great deal more for me to explore with other future clients, in terms of the concept of adopting the Magician’s Mindset.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Learning with nothing on our mind...

The new routine

At rugby training last evening I was prompted to use a drill I have not used for some time, and in fact this is a drill I have used perhaps only 20 times in all the time I have been a coach. It is also a drill I have never before used for ALL players regardless of their playing position or skills level. However, something compelled to me to ‘give it a go - just to see what happens’.

It involves the players working across a square grid, running and receiving and giving a pass. Simple but complex – simple in that the skills used are very basic (catching and passing while running) – complex in that there are specific lines of running, and that timing is of the essence in order for it to function with a good degree of continuity.
As less than 15% of the players had done this drill before, they went through it in slow motion (walk through) just to see how it worked. Once happy they started to do it in earnest. I said nothing and watched for a few minutes as some got it and some messed it up big time. Then I stopped them and asked “Why do you think we’re having difficulty in doing this drill?” For me there was only one answer that was going to really count and, almost on cue, out it came: “Because we’re Thick!”

The judgemental barrier

Praise be for human predictability! This is something new to us, and we can’t do it. We’ve tried and failed – ergo we are thick. Every mistake we make adds proof to the belief that we’re thick. The more we try, the harder it gets – and the thicker we get. Sound familiar?

The degree of ‘Thickness’

The only thickness here, in truth, is the one related to our thinking – our thinking is thick, dense, compacted - so much so that we are not actually noticing what we are experiencing and how the experience is impacting upon us and our ability to learn. There is no clarity in our minds and insights cannot get through this mass of thick thought.

When a baby learns how to walk it learns with nothing on its mind. It doesn’t try a bit and then evaluate what its doing and call itself thick because of the repeated fallings-over. It just does action > experiences result > does slightly different action > experiences result > does slightly different action > experiences result > does slightly different action and so on. During this process it will be helped and encouraged by other people and at some point the experiential learnings will pass into unconscious competence.

When we learn how to communicate and speak our first language it’s an evolving process like learning to walk. We learn with nothing on our mind – we just relate sounds to objects and actions to build our knowledge and we make our own sounds modelling them on what we’ve heard from others, so we can communicate back to them in a way they understand us.
We learn to do both these processes very quickly, and at no point is there a mention (let alone a judgement) of ‘thickness’. There’s no thinking getting in the way, it’s just facilitated by experience and modelling.

Learning other Languages

When I was about five we lived in the Sudan. Through experience rather than any formal learning method I could communicate in Arabic, apparently quite fluently. I learnt to communicate with nothing on my mind. Once we left the country I’d lost that faculty of language within a few months through lack of usage.
At school I learnt French, but it was from the outside>in. By this I mean that in terms of conversation, within the confines of my mind I would: hear in French > translate into English > formulate a response in English > translate into French > speak in French.
This all took place in the fraction of a second, but was still not a smooth path – until at some point when I could formulate a response in French and cut out the translation processes in the middle.

I never had trouble with sounding French because my learning method for reproducing sounds was based on a “Hear and Do” modelling process. If I’d learnt French from the outset based upon a modelling process rather than a mathematical process then I’d have got to thinking in French a lot quicker by getting all that additional thinking out of the way!

Old dogs and new tricks

The notion that we are too old to learn something new has built up partly due to science telling us that we are at our most receptive up to some time in our twenties. The rest is down to the imposition (by self or others) of the idea that learning becomes more difficult as we get older; and that idea has become a given and perpetuating belief, accepted as a norm embedded in the thickness of our thinking.

But I digress......

My players’ next steps

After we’d all laughed at this conditioned response I unpacked the drill for them in a different way. “Guys this is a new drill. It involves simple skills and structured movements within a triggered time scale.

You can all walk, ride bikes, drive cars. They all involve actions built on the same framework, and they are complex sequenced actions - compared to this drill. Now, this drill can break down in one of those 3 areas of ... your skills, your movements, your timing.

The easiest to deal with is the basic skills – if you pay attention to catching the ball and then passing it so that the next man can catch it easily then you are executing the simple basics of the game. The most important sensual element to help you accomplish this is Visual – so use your eyes!

The next is the structured movement – the shape of the path of movement is like a number ‘7’. You start at the bottom of the ‘7’ and follow a similar path, turning left and then stopping at the top of the ‘7’. Plus there’s a marker on the grid to show when you turn left. That’s all there is to it. Here again – use your eyes!

(The ball begins in B's hands. The first runner is A who follows the path "up the number 7" receiving the ball from runner B and passing to runner C. When A reaches the corner of the number 7 he turns left and stops at the corner B. )

Finally it’s timing your pass and subsequent run...and this too is triggered to start when the running player goes through a particular point on his route down the ‘7’ path. Again, the eyes give you the most information. Once runner B has passed to runner A he sets off along his own '7'.
So every time  player at a corner passes to a runner, he then starts out to become the next runner.

You are trying to “Think and Do” at the same time, and as a result the feedback you should be getting from experience is not getting through all the thinking. If you “See and Do” instead you’ll get all the triggers, all the pathways and handle the ball properly. So it’s not about “being thick” – it’s more about being “think”. Get out of your own way, just see and act, and notice the experience without any thinking.”

They started the drill again and within a few minutes it was working perfectly.


So what are the learnings and understandings here?

Look across your life’s learning experiences and find out your most successful method of learning – the chances are it will not involve a lot of thought within the process.

Even thinking itself is a process we learn to do without being taught. The trouble is, although we’ve learnt how to think - we haven’t thought how to learn. And we are not taught how to learn either. This makes all education something of a lottery – and if you consider educational methods then it’s clear that some of them will work for some people and not others.

In most of our learning, especially as we get older, we have a tendency to get in our own way far far too much! Part of the getting in our own way is this desire, need almost, to evaluate and judge – the need to prove to ourselves how good or how thick we are. I call it 'Compete and/or Condemn'.

Only when we can free ourselves from ‘Compete and/or Condemn’ by getting out of our own thought, can we then start learning with nothing on our mind.
We can only allow ourselves the best experience of learning, when we can get out of our own thought and free ourselves of its density and thickness.

[The detail of the Drill operates thus -
(1. The ball begins in B's hands.
2. The first runner is A who follows the path "up the number 7" receiving the ball from runner B and passing to runner C.
3. When A reaches the corner of the number 7 he turns left and stops at the corner B.
4. Once runner B has passed to runner A he follows the direction of his pass, receiving a pass from runner C and passing on to runner D; as in Stage 2 . He then models Stage 3, turning towards point C.
5. Runner C then models Stage 4, receiving from Runner D and passing to Runner A. He then models Stage 3, turning towards point D.
6. Runner D then models Stage 4, receiving from A and passing to B. He then models Stage 3.
7. The ball is then back in the hands of the next runner at B - AND the next runner at A has already initiated Stage 2 once he had passed to D in Stage 5. The Drill continues in this manner.]

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hypnosis and the Science Lab

Many years ago in an advertising campaign for an alcoholic beverage, the notion was that the drink guides the drinker to be able to miraculous things, with the tagline that "only Heineken can do this - because Heineken reaches parts of the brain that other lagers cannot reach."

Now it would seem not just so...and HYPNOSIS is making it into the science lab - not just for what it does, but more as an additional tool to allow researchers into particular mental phenomena to subvent and bypass conscious brain functions. As this fascinating article from Vincent Bell explores, hypnosis reaches the parts that brain scans and neurosurgery cannot reach!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Decision Making - opening perceptive doors

I was talking with a client about, ostensibly, his current stress and frustration at work brought about by the quality standards of his small work force (and one employee in particular). We explored the situation he encounters and he was comfortable with the notion that it all boils down to his needing to make a decision from a number of choices, scenarios, and based upon certain actions and inactions.


Of course once having decided that he needs to make a decision, he discovered that his stress levels were noticeably eased! Resolution of unclosed situations can be very liberating for us in this regard, because within any lack of closure are bonds that restrict our progress. These restrictions can spill over to many aspects of our life, by affecting our mood, the general level of our state of mind on a regular, even on a day to day basis.
One of the most useful things to know that will help us break down the barriers to resolution are a particular set of questions known in NLP as the...

Cartesian Questions

The strategy of the 4 ‘Cartesian Questions’ helps to explore the ramifications and ecologies of decision making. The questions are as follows:-
• What WILL happen if I DO X?
• What WON’T happen if I DO X?
• What WILL happen if I DON’T do X?
• What WON’T happen if I DON’T do X?
Understanding how to run the process of this strategy is very simple – however, what it gives us is a much broader perspective of consequences, especially in terms of going down the route of inaction – the route of DON’T DO.

Another revealing outcome about the route of DON’T DO is to allow yourself to consider this:
“It’s not just about not X though, isn’t it?”

The Cartesian Questions help move us from vacillation and/or procrastination to action and/or resolution.

What happens next?

Although the Cartesian Questions have revealed for us some possibilities, they don’t actually look at the structure of how we perform actions or tasks. Because the “HOW TO DO” structure also begins with a decision making element, this leads on quite appropriately to the next stage to consider.

I was at a workshop once where the presenter asked us to consider how we might perform a task in terms of four stages –

• Making a decision to do the task 5-6/10
• Start the task 3-4/10
• Persevering with the task 9/10
• Completing or finishing the task 6-7/10

She next asked us to objectively mark ourselves out of 10 in terms of how we perform each of the four elements – and above I have illustrated the scores I gave myself. For me this assessment process threw up many learnings and understandings. One of these was how and where procrastination makes an impact, as illustrated by only a 3-4 score. Another was that if we are in “doing mode” all the time, ie begin to do the task before completing the decision element, then our starting action is muddled with lack of total focus and with some score out of 10 of INDECISION or unclosed decision-making (in my case this was 4-5!).

So, with my score of 9 for perseverance, I am very diligent at sticking at the task once I’ve started, but I haven’t started with enough clarity of thought about all of the decision making process – and this might be in the area of “how to do it”.
Plus, would I start pushing up my finish/closure scores if I FINISHED the very first element (with a resulting higher score) BEFORE I actually started the task?

Ask yourself this....

Consider getting a piece of self-assemble furniture. Do we methodically lay out all the pieces and match everything up to the set of instructions? Do we read the instructions through and understand them BEFORE we start, or do we do this as we go along? Or do we jump right in and then have to make changes, backtracks as we go along – and then might be left with some screws, nuts, bolts etc at the end, wondering what we haven’t done properly!

More practical applications.....

I was coaching a sportsman recently who complained of having his “head full” and “not having enough time” to play shots at balls coming towards him. I explained this process to him and centred on what was happening for him around elements 1 and 2. Are you starting the whole action of hitting the ball (preparatory footwork and other physical movements) BEFORE you have closed the element of making the decision? He looked at me as if a lightbulb had suddenly come on inside his head. “That’s how I feel in a nutshell. That is exactly what’s happening to me.”
I then told him to face the next 10 throw-downs and not start the task UNTIL he had completely closed the decision making process. He and I would then talk about what (if anything) was different for him. He played the next 10 shots in a way he had not done previously, and before we’d even had a chat about it he started smiling with satisfaction.
What he didn’t realise was that part of the decision making process is gathering information about the flight of the ball, and that the bulk of this information is gathered by visual means. By delaying his starting to take action, the QUALITY of that information is enhanced, thus making the decision based upon better and more meaningful data. In essence, his concentration was improved.

Exam Strategy

At school I can remember us being told about examination strategy, one part of which was to read the whole question paper through first and then decide which questions to answer and which ones to leave. Then to read those questions again and then sketch out how we might answer them. Once happy we were then to make a start.
With hindsight, this is fascinating in that the helpful advice given to us reflects elements 1 & 2 almost exactly – even though no-one ever analysed it or told us WHY this strategy would be more helpful than approaching things another way.

The fact is, although we can multi-task very well, we are not so good at concurrent multi-decision-making. This would be made more clear if we were to call what we mean as “multi-tasking” as “multi-action” or “multi-doing”. Ask people to do two things at the same time, each task involving making separate sets of decision making as they go along. They don’t function anything like as well as they do when the multiple elements are undertaken non-concurrently.

So – to return to my client and his stress and frustration – for him this whole decision making process has a “soft” time scale. That is to say, there is no immediate urgency. The most important part of this for him is to be comfortable with the action to take by running and examining a range of options and possibilities.

Action and the “Starting Gate” of decision

I next drew a metaphorical analogy for him of the start of a horse race – where each horse represents one particular choice he could make. The horses are loaded into the starting gates and when the starter is happy they are all in, then he pulls the lever that opens the gates and the horses emerge into the race. Each horse emerges in a different way, and they progress down the time line represented by the course. Leading horses and back markers will emerge in the course of the race, and eventually there will be a winner. The winner will be the optimum choice to make – the back markers will be horses not to put money on.

Using the Race

This particular metaphor might be useful for you, as you consider a number of options and you might want to “play out” how they will emerge from the “starting gate” of decision.
Map out the chronology of events down the course of time, and then be the jockey on each of the horses in turn as they might go down the course. By physically walking or “riding the course” your body will reflect to you a number of nuances and feelings – the more being revealed the more you are able to associate into each choice scenario.
You will notice which “horse” gives the best ride, which the smoothest ride, which might fall along the way – all pointers towards the most appropriate choice to make. Take time to turn around and look back towards the starting gate, just to reinforce the paths you have taken, and to further “notice what you notice”.


Whatever type of decision making process you need to perform, there are elements here to really expand your perception of what options are there for you and how to “clean up your closures”. Whether you need to make “instant” decisions for sporting or other time-specific performance reasons or whether it is something more along short, medium or even long term lines that demands that you play out a number of scenarios to ascertain the better ones and the ones to avoid – the 4 Cartesian Questions and Action and the Starting Gate of decision are going to make life a lot more straightforward, reduce stress and frustration and help you perform in a much better way.