I want you to stop a moment, and think about the idea of improvement. You’re reading this blog, so presumably you have an interest in improving yourself. But what does that actually mean? Put another way, how will you know when you get there?
It all leads to the big question of whether improvement has a definite end-point. Our society is becoming increasingly obsessed with the quick fix, which implies there is a definite end point and I want it now, thank you so much. But there are other ways of looking at it. Other cultures, theories and techniques. Like, for example, the Alexander Technique.
FM Alexander had two gripes with the idea of a quick fix. Firstly, the idea of ‘quick’. He makes the point that if you’ve been doing things your old way for a long time, it might just take a little while to stop them (my paraphrase). And secondly the idea of ‘fix’. Is there really a definite item to be changed, one with hard edges and clearly defined boundaries?
He was so keen on the subject that he spent most of his last book – which covers 230 pages – talking about the constant influence for good inherent in his technique. Constant influence. Not an ‘ok, I’ve done this, what’s next’ influence, but one that is with you every minute of every day of the whole of your life.
It would be interesting to know how many people today (outside of Alexander Technique students) take this approach to life; or to any small segment of their life. And how many people are even aware of the concept. It’s not taught in schools. Certainly it never entered my head before I started lessons. But if you are prepared to keep reaching, the boundaries keep moving, stretching and expanding. You start to aim for things you didn’t even know were possible, because part of the process is finding out what ‘possible’ is.
My colleague, Mark Josefsberg(*), has nailed it very neatly in what he tells his students:-
Go for slow, never-ending improvement.
I like that.