First, Learn to Relax

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I attended a retreat last weekend. It wasn’t magick-related, but it had a lot of good insights about decision-making based on cognitive psychology. I want to share one of those with you today.

Imagine something you’re reluctant to do. You know it’s good for you, but it’s scary. Maybe starting a blog, or going on a job interview, or talking to someone you find attractive. But actually pick something, and keep it in mind for the rest of this post.

When I think about making myself do something uncomfortable, I mostly think about learning the skill. I’ll learn to write, or learn to interview, or whatever. And, eventually, I’ll be good at it, if I can just endure the discomfort long enough.

But honestly, doing that uncomfortable thing once won’t teach me much. And so it becomes easy to put off, and you never get started.

The class was about the other side of doing the uncomfortable thing: Each time you do it, you become a little more comfortable with it. You start to build up a habit of actually doing the thing, totally independent of getting good at the thing. And even before you get noticeably better, you’ll become noticeably more comfortable.

In other words, next time will be emotionally easier. And your goal isn’t to get good at it yet, it’s just to get comfortable with it. It takes the pressure off, and lets you focus on making yourself relaxed, rather than talented. Because once you’re relaxed, it’s easy to focus on learning the skill.

Think of it as a gift to your future self.

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One Response to “First, Learn to Relax”

  1. MrBlack says:

    Retreats are great. I used to go every year when I did alot of volunteer work and it does help refresh your self and learn something – even if you don’t have to put it to use.

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