Monday, December 10, 2012

Bug-zapper moment

At one time or another all of us have a moment of insight: a "light bulb moment".

"A-ha!"  We say.  "I can save time showering by driving through a car wash with the windows down!"  Ok maybe we don't say that...  Point is, we have a moment of insight and then we're able to make progress on a problem, find a more efficient path, discover a new idea, etc.  It's part of the learning process.

But what happens when that insight leads to pain?  When the discovery leads you on a path that's uncomfortable?

I wrote back in this post about my belt test.  My dojo has been breaking down our fundamentals lately based on the priorities of our head organization.  We're looking at how each technique, each kata works according to the principles that should be emphasized.  They're not "new" principles, but we never made them a priority as much as they now.

Doing this kind of intense, detailed breakdown brings with it many "a-ha!" moments, but it doesn't make it easy to unlearn muscle memory that's not necessarily even "wrong", just not what we're trying to do.  While I have faith that in time the subtle changes will set in, being subtle makes them harder to stick.  And it feels painful to not have them integrate into my fundamentals better.

So my "a-ha" is then tinged with an "ouch".  Instead of a light bulb, I now have a bug zapper.  Provides light but is also painful to touch!

There's also the more negative kinds of discoveries.  These are things like realizing you're in the wrong group for you or finding out you're holding others back.  Those are big "bug zapper" moments.

Focusing on the more positive moments, maybe you find yourself understanding a concept better all of a sudden or having an idea that makes things better in the long run, but is hard to implement.  Sometimes that difficult journey - the one with a bit of pain - helps you appreciate the ones that come more easily.

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