Last time, in , in Ask Better Questions, I promised to explain why my very first question to avoid is, “Am I Doing It Right?” After all, “doing it right” sounds like a perfectly reasonable approach. Doesn’t it?
If someone is asking That Question, they are usually concerned about getting it wrong. Very concerned. Anxious, even. In fact, the fear of being wrong fills their mind and leaves no room whatsoever for Alexander thinking.
2. ONE SIZE FITS NOBODY
If something is right – be it a position, an answer, a procedure – there can be only one. The Right One. If you’ve ever tried on a ‘one size fits all’ garment, you will know that actually one size fits everybody really badly. Life tends not to come in One. It tends to be infinitely varied. Any one answer that tries to fit all the variety of life is not going to do a very good job.
3. LIMPETS AGAIN
Remember the limpets from last week? If a teacher tells a student, ‘yes, that’s the right answer’, the student will cling to that answer like our friend the limpet. They will not consider any other. Not for one moment. Sometimes I slip up, and it takes me, on average, six months to undo the clinging caused by one thoughtless ‘yes, that’s right’.
4. STUNTED GROWTH
Chances are you want to get better at doing this stuff. Which means change, and a growth in your Alexander abilities. So, no matter how good the answer you come up with right now, it will be superseded by something better. If it’s not being superseded, you are not improving.
First technical point; the core of the Alexander Technique is not about “doing”, it is about stopping the unnecessary stuff.
Second technical point; mostly people judge whether something is right by using their feelings. Feelings, in the sense of awareness of movement, are unreliable, and really not a good criteria for judging.
These are my (and FM Alexander’s) reasons. You may have more.
One final word of caution for those of you thinking “if I can’t even try to do something right, that means everything I do will be totally wrong.” Avoiding “doing it right” is not the same thing as deliberately setting out to fail. There is a large gap between those two positions, with lots of room to manoeuvre.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net