The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Under The Radar

I was at one of the after school clubs I run yesterday, and before we started our cricketing activity I took the register – and then asked the group a couple of ‘off the wall’ questions.

I never pass up the opportunity to slip some kernels of ideas under the radar – because there’s the world "out there"; then there’s the world we think we see, the world we think others see, the world we are all manipulated to see by society, institutions, advertisers, magicians etc. Let's face it - to be fair, there is an almost infinite number of worlds when we are dealing with perceptions.

Reception and Perception

So you walk into a building and immediately you are confronted with that inner question,
“Where do I go?”
Once you’ve got over the wide-eyed wonder of the all the variances of the place, then you’ll be most likely to make for Reception. Of course, if you’ve been here before and you know where you are going, then you just make for the corridor, lift or the stairs. Once at reception you’ll ask the Receptionist for help and directions and ... off you go!
When you enter the building of life – we’ll call it the Worlds Building – then a rather similar process takes place. It starts with wide-eyed wonder, then you make for Perception and you talk to a Perceptionist. When we are growing up, we meet our first Perceptionists at home and with our immediate family, and after that we meet a wide variety of other Perceptionists as well. And this is how the whole conditioning process starts and evolves. Are they proper perceptionists though? We just don’t know! Maybe they only know about one small part of the Worlds Building – maybe they, too, have no idea what this is all about!

So, to get back to the original comparisons - if you are familiar with where you are going in the Worlds Building, then you’ll enter and miss out Perception and make straight for the stairs or lift and head off to where you are going.
The thing is – the Worlds Building is an infinite and gigantic edifice, and you are just heading for one small part of it. What about the remainder?

Perhaps you need to find another place because the one you know and have been going to for some time, is no longer doing anything for you; perhaps you want more out of life; there could be a whole variety of reasons for your desire for change.

Now if you don’t have any idea that the Worlds Building is full of many different rooms, because your thinking leads you believe that the rooms are all alike, then you’ll feel stuck – and maybe you’ll take life into your own hands; seek other, maybe drastic, solutions.

However, if you do have enough of an idea about the Worlds Building, then you can either wander around on a quest, a ‘voyage of discovery’ – or you can go and talk to a Perceptionist and get a clearer idea of where you might go next.

A Perceptionist can be like a travel agent, giving you a variety of destinations where you’ll get a range of views of the world. The choice of destinations is yours – they have merely revealed the world of possibilities.
Some travel agents might guide you (maybe manipulate you) towards holidays that they themselves like, or ones that pay them the highest commission. Some may only be able to show you a limited number of options. Here again, you won’t necessarily know this. When you’re going for change – the only thing you can really trust is yourself, your intuition.
“I like the look of this one. That one sounds good. This feels like the right one for me.”

Deciding which choice

The Perceptionist guides you towards the Understanding that in the Worlds Building every room has a view; that pretty much all of the views are different; that the windows are all of varying sizes; that YOU are viewer.
The travel agent, on the other hand, will illustrate for you how your rooms are furnished and appointed; will tell you about meals, food and sustenance, and any particular local rules, requirements and protocols; may even tell you what clothing to take, what shoes to wear.
These are all things to help your decision ... and at the end of the day, it is always your decision. And remember this:
Even no decision is still a decision, and no choice is still a choice.
Comedian Eddie Izzard illustrated this with one of his mono-dialogues concerning the Spanish Inquisition. The choice was to be either Cake or Death. Everyone was lined up and asked,
“You – do you choose Cake or Death?”
Understandably, the answers were always cake, until the Inquisitor said they’d run out of cake.
“So my choice is Or Death?” asked the next person.
And at this point his narrative takes a huge sideways leap of comedic artifice. It’s an amusing routine, filled with linguistic tricks, reframes and quantum perceptive leaps. Conversational comedians like Eddie Izzard are masters of “under the radar” perceptionism – and, for me, the Spanish Inquisition, Cake and Death will never again be quite the same way they were!

So, what of my group of receptive young cricketing minds –

Looking at the practicalities

As they were all sat down, I narrowed my eyes and looked up and down the line.
“What am I thinking at the moment?” I asked them.
Many of them attributed their own personal interpretation of my stare, and one in particular said I was “...thinking how naughty we all are, not being quiet or paying attention.”
Very interesting, I considered. Clearly this answer was framed by classroom experiences of teachers with very much that thought in mind.
“That was the furthest thing from my mind,” I said. “I could have bad eyesight and this is my best way of being able to see you all. I could have forgotten what I was going to say and was trying to concentrate and remember what it was. It could’ve been any number of things – but it certainly wasn’t how naughty you all are. Judging,” I said, ”is a bit like deciding – you have to start with an open mind.”

I then threw into the pond the well-known story of five seagulls sitting on a dock.
“I was on Ilfracombe Pier on Sunday and saw five seagulls stood on the edge. One of them decided to fly away. So – how many were left?”
There was a chorus of “four”, which was predictable, and then one voice chirped, “Five.” 
Everybody looked his way and so he elaborated, “one had only decided to fly away, you didn’t say he had actually flown away.”

I pointed out to them that deciding to do something is very different from actually doing that same thing. The birds in the picture are all "safe," pecking around on the parapet. There's plenty of food; they have no need to go elsewhere. However, they ARE birds ... and flying is in their nature.

“In whatever games we play this afternoon,” I said to the young cricketers, “don’t just decide to do something – actually do it! Do it with conviction, like you mean it. Then you’ll find that you’ll be more successful, AND the less thinking time you have between deciding and doing – the better you will be.”

We then got on with the real business of just having some sporting fun; and the extra fun for me was seeing – on the radar of course - what extraordinary feats of performance emerged as the games unfolded.

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