“What is a Teacher? A Teacher is the special person who has the responsibility to provide the “Eyes” for a student, and helps the student to “See”. A good Teacher directs the student’s eyes to the simple parts first, and slowly, bit by bit, gently guides the seeking hands along a proven path. He carefully points out the next bits of knowledge, skillfully combining the simplicities, until the top of the mountain unfolds, not as a “complexity of facts”, but as a workable system, perfectly understood and usable by the student.”

~ Violin method book by Eden Vaning-Rosen

One of my favorite people in the world emailed me this today. I absolutely love it. So often, I say, “life is easy. it really is. I can choose the easy way to do something or the hard way. what if it were easy?” And the easy way needs to also be the right way.

I love too that this is in a violin book:
* Directs the student’s eyes to the simple parts first
* Points out the next bits of knowledge
until …
* a workable system
* the top of the mountain

I also like that the end result is not a “complexity of facts.” By the time you get there, you’re not memorizing facts; you’re using parts you understand. This is how I want to be as a teacher.

What is harder than rock, or softer than water? Yet soft water hollows out hard rock. Persevere.
~ Ovid

If there is one key to creating what you want in your life, it is daily practice. When you repeat again and again, you learn so much about the habit you’re building and about yourself. There are nuances that you do not learn from a how-to guide. Such as how to persevere.

Why daily? And why action?

  • DAILY! Daily moves you toward putting in hours to develop your expertise and toward repeating an activity to develop discipline and focus. Whatever your regularity is, you build your own daily practice. You can choose if your daily means 5 days a week (work week daily) or seven days a week (whole week daily) or three times a week (M-W-F regularly).
  • ACTION! Action is a form of commitment. A thought can be transitory, passing. An action is you saying to the world, “I am ready and I am doing it.” An action is more powerful than a thought – by definition, Action = Thought + Activity.

But why do it? Why take regular, structured, self-scheduled daily action as opposed to acting whenever you feel like it?

The Deep Math Example. As my very good friend and a former math professor says,

“It takes a while to get into the problem. You need to sit with it at your desk for several hours at a time just to start to focus deeply enough to be able to create any new conclusions.”

It takes time to get deep enough into a subject that you are no longer skirting the surface.

The Ballroom Dancing Teacher Example. Have you found that some people who are excellent at what they do returrn to the basics from time to time? Like a yoga teacher taking a basic refresher course. Or an author going back to the structure of his characters? I know dance teachers who regularly take beginner classes. Why? Ballroom Dance
  • When you are at an advanced level, you get a lot more from beginner lessons. You start to see the nuanced distinctions that you didn’t notice at the beginning – “When I ask my students to ‘rock-step’ here, some are still thinking that they are rocking when the important distinction is that they are there-and-immediately back, on their toe and immediately forward… it’s more about the forward than it is about the rock-step back.” You start to see new ways of describing something, new ways of understanding and then being able to explain a concept.
  • You take the beginner class to come back to the beginner’s mind. To return to that joy that you loved about the activity to begin with, and to hear and see and feel and imagine what it is like to learn the steps for the first time. As Chip Heath and Dan Heath say in Made to Stick, we are sucked into the Curse of Knowledge: We are no longer able to often explain things to a five year old because we know too much detail. Avoid the Curse of Knowledge. Play as a beginner.
The Twyla Tharp Creativity Example. You make space for yourself – in your head and in your heart when you practice something regularly. You make space for yourself to be creative, to focus, to live in the moment. So much of life ends up being planning and rushing that unless you make the Creative Habit as Twyla Tharp says in her book, then you don’t ever create the discipline of creativity, the space for allowing yourself to do. That space is often only possible within the constraints of time allowed for that activity. Twyla Tharp
The Alaska Hiking Example. It is through action that you create a habit, and through habits that you create the life you want to live. According to Ann Graybiel, neural pathways – i.e. the pathways that create a new habit or new behavior pattern – form when you go over them again and again. Again and again. Like a hiking trail in Alaska worn by all the footsteps repeating over the ground again and again, so a new mental pathway forms when you repeat an activity. Best results are daily. Hiking
The Guitar Example. My guitar teacher years ago said, “The most important thing in learning guitar is daily practice. Even if you play 15 or 30 minutes a day, do just that. And if you have the choice to play once for 30 minutes or twice for 15 minutes, play twice for 15 minutes.” According to him and many other musicians, the mind learns when it starts a-new – when it comes to a project a-new. So scheduling that “new” regularly allows a habit to make that deep Alaskan hiking trail pathway. Guitar

And then, once you have taken the daily actions, keep track of them. Put a star on your wall calendar. Post about it on your blog. Write yourself an email accounting for that day. Track your progress. Roy Baumeister of Florida State University says (23-min interview) that one of the keys to creating a new habit is writing down those times when you have acted on that habit.

Is it really possible to achieve anything in life?
Let me ask that another way: what is harder than rock, or softer than water?

Lesson and Take-Away: 1) Take daily action and 2) write down your daily actions!

Images: math, dance, Twyla Tharp, hiking path, guitar.

Senia Maymin Senia Maymin, MBA, MAPP is an Executive Coach, and presents workshops to corporations about Positive Psychology. Senia is the Editor of Positive Psychology News Daily, and posts her latest ideas about positive psychology, business, and coaching at Senia.com. Senia’s bio.

Hugh McLeod at gapingvoid has a post on using blogs to boost the bottom line, from a speech he is giving today. I especially liked the section where Hugh describes EnglishCut, a blog by a London Saville Row tailor that from inception has been all about the suits.
Hugh says in his recommendations:

Passion. Authority. Continuity. Without those three, you have nothing.

I ditto that. Fred at AVC first showed me the importance of continuity with this post.

Here is Joel on Software talking about showing Passion. Authority. Continuity. to your customers: Seven Steps to Remarkable Customer Service.

Lesson and Take-Away: All three. Passion-Authority-Continuity. All the time.

Here’s a little goofiness on being too passionate about email:
[Recommendation #]10. Reduce the amount of e-mail you receive.
OK, I’ll try. … Would everybody please send me less e-mail? … (Now I have to go see if that worked.)”
Made me laugh out loud!

I was reading Dave Seah‘s story about Ulrick the Bee, and I like this second part of the story where Tiffany appears and she ask a lot of questions!

Once of the best lessons I ever received was, “Ask Early.” When I was working on Wall St., my mentor was a woman who was very accomplished in her department, and a wonderful, kind, great person. I met with her early in my career at the company, and she gave me a great piece of advice. She said:

Ask early. Ask about anything that you don’t know. Because if six months have gone by and then you ask about something that should be simple and clear and easy, then you will seem to be slow and lagging behind. Then the quesiton will be, “Oh, you don’t know that yet?” Ask early. There is great simplicity to that. If you don’t know, ask.

My father also told me many times, three of the most beautiful words in English are “I don’t know.” And then finding out is fascinating.

Posted on 12-15-06 for Wed, 12-13-06.

Our first question was, should you get out of a bad mood? Suppose that our answer is already, YES. Now, what do we do? (Update: After you read this, you may want to keep handy the three sentences for the A.P.E. Method.)

Karen Reivich, co-author of The Resilience Factor, suggests some concrete steps. In a talk she gave at our Positive Psychology classes, Karen gave the best three suggestions I’ve heard for getting out of a bad mood. These are practical and immediately usable.

The problem with bad moods is that they stop you in your tracks, they hinder you from doing other things that can lead to continued small successes and that can move you forward in life. Additionally, as Dave Seah points out, you can’t always be waiting for the muse. Most often in life, you need to do things whether you’re in a bad mood or a good mood. For example, compare a person who takes actions to move his life forward only when he’s in a good mood (or when the muse strikes him) to a person who takes actions to move his life forward no matter what mood may have set on him temporarily. Who will likely be more productive?

Here are the three principles Karen Reivich teaches to get out of a bad mood. I remember these as A.P.E.

A – Alternatives
P – Perspective
E – Evidence

Karen Reivich suggests that these are best used “When you need to disarm negative thoughts so that you can stay focused on the task at hand.” At the same time, these are not necessarily the best techniques to use “When you need a thorough, thoughtful and comprehensive understanding of a problem.”

So you want to stay focused on the task at hand, on moving your life forward. What do you do?

A – Alternatives
You can generate alternative beliefs. For example, if the bad mood started with thinking, “I haven’t done anything productive at work in the past year. I haven’t contributed anything. I’ll never contribute anything. And not only do I stink at work recently, but everything else is going down the drain too.”… then what are some alternative beliefs that you could seek?

Karen Reivich characterizes the possible alternative beliefs into three categories (that are introduced with great thoroughness by Marty Seligman here):
Me / Always / Everything.

If your beliefs tend to focus on “me” – “I did this, I got myself into a decade worth of trouble,” then try to look outwards a little bit … not too much – do not rationalize away your own potential contribution to the situation. But do look outward if you tend to blame yourself. Do look at the environment, the surroundings, and provide other possible explanations. (Create an alternative).

If your beliefs tend to focus on “always” – “I’m never good at my work, I always mess up at the office, this never goes right for me,” then train your brain to find the one thing that you consistently excel at during work. Feel that pride – no matter how small – in that one thing that you own, that is yours, and that you can reliably think about to know that you are good at that part of work. (The point is to create one alternative, so it is not always).

If your beliefs tend to focus on “everything” – “And not only am I not good at my work, I can’t meet a great girl/guy, I’m terrible at keeping in touch with friends,” then train your brain to find the one part of life in which you have control. Feel that control in that part of your life – no matter how small that part may be – maybe brushing your teeth, maybe emailing a certain friend regularly. (Create an alternative thought-pattern: not everything.)

P – Perspective
A friend of mine Emma who is also a practitioner of Positive Psychology says that she once heard something say something so visual that she will not forget it.

“Imagine the biggest issue you have – the biggest, most terrible problem or set of problems that you can come up with. Now blow them up – imagine them even bigger and more terrible. Imagine close to the worse that can happen. Imagine all those problems spinning around like the tornado in Dorothy’s Kansas at the beginning of the movie. …

Now take that entire storm and all those issues and shrink it down and put the entire storm into a teacup.”

And that’s exactly how I see it – a white porcelain tea cup on a white porcelain delicate plate, and a small steam above the teacup where the remains of the storm can be seen. It is the super-literal description of the phrase “storm in a teacup,” and talk about perspective!

Do that – put some perspective on the issues. What are the probabilities that everything will go wrong? Usually not 100%. Put the perspective of time on it (probably not as intense if you were to look back on this from 50 years in the future). Put the perspective of seriousness on it (these are bad moods, but nobody should be dying from this). Put the perspective of “me” on this (how impenetrable does my problem look compared to starving children). The perspective of comparison is called downward social comparison… but in psychological studies it has proven to be effective in precluding depression.

The goal in finding perspective is to create flexibility in thinking. It is not to create an excuse for things that may actually have gone wrong, but it is to minimize the impact on your life of certain thoughts.

E – Evidence
Find concrete evidence to the contrary. If you are in a bad mood because you are berating yourself, then create evidence to the contrary. If the argument is that you’ve never done anything good in your work for the past decade, get a piece of paper and list two things that you have done well. That’s it – two things. Two concrete examples.

Lesson & Take-Away: If you’re in a bad mood, and want to switch to being productive and focused, use these three techniques to get out of your bad mood:

  • A – Create Alternatives for why something may be happening to dispute negative, bad mood thoughts,
  • P – Put the issue in Perspective to get out of a bad mood, and
  • E – Use concrete Evidence to discount the bad-mood self-talk in your head.

An interesting lesson-story gets passed down from generation to generation in some families. I’ve heard this story from my friends with some variation, but for some reason in the accounts, it’s consistently the father who is the main hero who demonstrates this phenomenon. Here are the two main versions I know:

Pebbles Rocks & Pebbles. The father with his little daughter is on the beach with some pail, and the father shows his little girl that she can pour a lot of pebbles into the small pail, and then when she tries to add large rocks, they don’t fit…. BUT if you take those same pebbles and set them aside and if you add large rocks to the pail first, and then pour the pebbles in between the large rocks, then both the rocks and the pebbles will fit.

And then the father says to his little girl, “See, it’s just like this – if you put in the important things in life first (laughing with mom and me, doing your homework, visiting grandma and grandpa), then the little things will all fit, and if you put in the little things in your life first, then the lrage rocks just won’t have any space.”

Walnuts & Rice. I always imagine this version of the story happening in the fall (around Thanksgiving or the winter school break). And I always imagine the father wandering into the kitchen while the child is playing with cooking ingredients on the kitchen table. And I always imagine a measuring cup, some unshelled walnuts on the table, and some rice in a pile. I imagine the father filling the rice to almost-full in the measuring cup, and then attemping to pour the walnuts in as well. Walnuts
And then I imagine the child saying, “Oh, no, dad, that’s silly. Try it the other way!” And then the walnuts go in first, and after that the rice. And then the father says to the child, “the walnuts are like the people you love
your mom, your brother and me
and the rice is all the things in life
that we all think we need

The above are lyrics from Kevin Briody. The words are from his song “Walnuts and Rice,” which I heard him perform once live, and it was great. Kevin Briody (rhymes with “sobriety”) is a singer-songwriter, and if you like it, you should catch him performing sometime. Another excerpt from Walnuts and Rice:

He took one handful of walnuts
and one handful of rice
you see my dad he had a funny way
of handing out advice
first he poured the rice in
this empty candy jar
but when he poured the walnuts in
they spilled down to the floor

He said, “the walnuts are like the people you love
your mom, your brother and me
and the rice is all the things in life
that we all think we need
how we fill this empty jar
is how we live our lives
first things first, there’s room for both
walnuts and rice”

Well i looked at him all confused
and he looked at me all content
as the smile grew across his face
i asked him what he meant
then he emptied out that jar
but before he put it back
this time he poured the nuts in first
and the rice filled in the cracks

Note: Written on 11-16 and posted for 11-15 to precede quote Thursday.

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
~ Annie Dillard

How you do anything is how you do everything.
~ Tonya Pinkins (earlier on this blog)

“…for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
~ Steve Jobs (in this speech)

Today is everyday.
~ Senia

Write as if you, yourself, are a map. Interweave how you come to discover conclusions with the conclusions themselves. I’m reading a book that does this wonderfully.

People remember best in maps. This was the first and most important point of long-time coach David Rock when he spoke at the International Positive Psycholgy Conference last year. We remember best if we can touch it or walk it.

A lot of childhood learning is based on associating learning with body kinesthetics: sing a nursery rhyme and bounce the child up and down, and suddenly, the child learns the rhyme easily. There was a study done with children where researchers asked children to sit in front of a tv and watch a cartoon, and afterwards, the researchers asked the children to explain what happened in the cartoon. The children used their hands to demonstrate while they talked and talked and described the whole story. Then in the test group in same study, the researchers sat children down in front of a tv, and tied their hands to the sofa chair while they watched the cartoon. Afterwards, they asked the children to describe the cartoon (while still not being able to use their hands to gesture since the hands were tied down), and they found the children remembered very, very little of the content of the cartoon. Using the physical space, such as gesturing with hands – and even imagining using the physical space – allows us to remember better.

This is a trick that my friend (whom I sometimes call “the memory guy” because he competes in memory competitions) told me once. He uses this to remember long strings of words. Here, I’ll show you how this works. But first, let’s see how fast you can memorize something anyway.
1) Memorize this list in order fast (actually, get a watch with a second hand, or open up the Date and Time Properties on your computer. ) Keep looking at this list until you can repeat it, in order, without looking. Stop when you can repeat the list having turned your back to the computer and with your eyes closed. Highlight the following line with your cursor:
List (in order): lemon, teddy bear, watermelon, camel, rubik’s cube, rubber duck, baby pacifier, golf club

2) Now, let’s try it the mapping way. First, think of an apartment or house that you know well. Now, think of two specific rooms in the apartment. Now think of the four corners of the two rooms. When I show you the list, imagine walking into one room, looking at it and scanning clockwise each of the four corners, then going into the next room and scanning each of the four corners clockwise. Now, the way you’ll memorize this second list is in your head put one object each into each corner, so when you go to scan, you see that object there along with the other items that really exist in that corner. So, for example, if the first word were dinosaur, then you’d put a dinosaur in the first corner of the first room, setting the dinosaur in your head on top of your real bookshelf in that corner, and seeing him surrounded by those books. And keep setting objects around the corners of room. After the first room, you immediately go into the second room…
Ok, ready? Get ready to time it. Again, you can stop when you can repeat the list in order turned away from the computer and with your eyes closed. Here is the second list:
List (in order): water slide, yoyo, ice cream, white tshirt, strawberry, basketball, scissors, lollipop

Ok, which one did you do faster?
I would bet it’s the second one. Why? Because you used a map. You used the map of the two rooms. And you used your visual and memory processes together to remember the list in order. Associating learning with body kinesthethics.

Another map memory trick is to see in your head the route you take from your home to the grocery store (or any other frequent destination). Then, if you want to memorize a list of items, place those items along the road in your path to the grocery store: at turns and at stop signs. For example, you might place a huge oversized avocado at the corner gas station before you turn left, and three full red tomatoes perched on the following stoplight before you turn right, and so on.

I’m reading The Executive Brain by Elkhonon Goldberg. He’s a clinical neuropsychologist and cognitive neuroscientist. The last paragraph of his introduction is so simple and clear: it tells how he will be describing how he came to some conclusions at the same time as describing those conclusions. So, in essence, he gives us a map for following and understanding when and how he reaches his conclusions in neuroscience. And that map is the timeline of his life.

Goldberg says, “I believe that ideas are best understood when considered in the context in which they arise. Therefore, interwoven with the discussion of various topics of cognitive neuroscience are personal vignettes about my teachers, about my friends, about myself, and about the times in which we live.”

Enjoy mapping things out, and playing map-memory games with yourself whenever you have a four-item or eight-item grocery store list (you know, you could do non-multiples of four as well: just don’t fill every corner of each room). :)

And play with writing about ideas in the manner in which they had come to you – unpacking the way in which you figured something out – that story of how you figured it out is sometimes the driver of what it was that you figured out.

Take-away: Write as if you are a map, and as if you’re describing yourself.

Sometimes you think that because you have a thought, that it is the truth. But, often your own thoughts can fool you. How many times have you thought, “Everything is going wrong, and there’s nothing I can do,” and then you come out from that into new great things (and sometimes new bad things). Life changes. Things change. You can’t believe every thought you have – you wouldn’t believe every word that someone else says to you, so why believe every subconscious half-thought of your own head? You can use those thoughts that are productive and useful to move you forward, but if you have negative thoughts that spin in a downward spiral, then it may be that at that point, the ticker tape in your head is on automatic, and that it may be useful to switch it around.

It’s funny that people respond to themselves differently than they would to their friends. I just had a unusual time where I wasn’t sure this was going right, or that was going right, etc. And it just made me so upset at myself to I know that if I were to step aside and if my friend were saying the same things… I know what I would tell her! Isn’t that so often the case – when a friend asks for advice on work, on romance, on school, on organization, on home buying, on exercise, etc., you know exactly what to suggest and recommend, but when it’s your life… so often you don’t know! Why is that? Why doesn’t your “intuition” or other advice-giving center kick in when it’s for you as much as it should when it’s for someone else?

Is it because:
* You don’t want to make a mistake (a mistake in your life is more costly than advice for your friend’s life – because after all that was only advice; in the end, the friend makes the decision herself)?
* You don’t believe the counterarguments when it’s about you?
* You want to feel down and dark for a while?

Those are all valid. But let’s break them down. You don’t want to make a mistake – so what?! So you make a mistake. “Do not fear mistakes, there are none,” says Miles Davis. Everything you go through can make you not go through that same thing later. Everything somehow shapes you.

You don’t believe in counterarguments when it’s about you? Yes, this is an ego thing – not in a bad way! This is just a matter of – like the ticker tape beliefs – thinking that if a thought comes from you, then it maybe doesn’t need to be counterargued. That’s just not true! A million times, I will tell you that this is just not true! Your mood, your latest food, the rain, smells around you, the news that day – everything can affect you, and when you have a thought, it may just be a reaction, and something to say, “Thanks for coming, but you’re not really real.” You can have two thoughts, “this food is good for me” or “this food is bad for me.” And the funny thing is that both viewpoints may be valid. Ice cream can be bad for you, or good for you – simply because deprivation in the long run may not work for your personal body system. Broccoli can be good for you for the vitamins, or can be bad for you if farmed in some certain strange way. Everything is arguable. Including your thoughts.

You may want to feel dark and down for a while? The strange, strange, strange thing is that people who go out and FORCE themselves to have a good time anyway usually make themselves feel better. This is especially true of people that have a good time, or better yet, do something FOR someone. Doing something for another person often immediately makes the first person feel better – Sonja Lyubomirsky and colleagues did a study with a control group, a group that chose one day in a week in which to do act kinds for people, and a group that did something kind everyday. The researchers asked the participants to continue this for six weeks and at the end of the six weeks, the control group had slightly decreased happiness from the start of the study, participants that had done kind things every day were much unchanged (and the researchers postulate that this is because the kind acts were not anything unusual and became habitual for that group), and participants that had done kind things on one day of each week reported significantly increased levels of happiness (i.e. well-being).

performing acts of kindness increased peoples' happiness

And about going out and having a good time, there is a great study about bowling alone: participants that were introverts and did not want to go out bowling were taken out to go bowling with strangers, and they showed markedly increased levels of satisfaction after bowling with strangers than before.

So your own advice-giving center may not kick in naturally for you. Still, it would if you were talking to a friend. From an article on relationship advice:
“For example, take a young couple who goes out for a romantic dinner for the first time after the birth of their first child, but spend the entire evening arguing over silly things, and return home deflated. The woman, whose read plenty of articles on “marriages that deteriorated after the first child’s birth”, is panic-stricken and flooded with difficult thoughts of divorce. These thoughts can get so out of hand that she begins planning her visitation arrangements and tries to imagine how she’ll manage raising the child on her own. If a friend would have told her the same thoughts, she would have undoubtedly dismissed them. She would have likely pointed out that it is difficult to be romantic when you don’t sleep more than three hours a night, and when you worry during the meal that the baby might wake up crying and the babysitter won’t be able to calm him down. It is easier for us to encourage others, but when it is happening to us, we have a hard time dealing with the false thoughts. Therefore, it is helpful to treat them as if they were voiced by another person whose principal goal is to make us miserable. At the next stage we must conduct an internal argument with those thoughts, resist them with all our persuasive willpower, and prove to ourselves that they are not grounded in reality.”

So, in short, be a good friend to yourself! Pretend you are your best friend and play! Make up other ideas and explanations for yourself that will let you see the big picture, and that will make you act more productively than stewing in those not-helpful thoughts.

Take-away: Pretend you’re your best friend, and talk to yourself kindly, productively, encouragingly – the way you might to your really good friend!

Source for acts of kindness study: Lyubomirsky, S., Tkach, C., & Sheldon, K. M. (2004). [Pursuing sustained happiness through random acts of kindness and counting one’s blessings: Tests of two six-week interventions]. Unpublished raw data.

I was talking with a friend about how with some people you just seem to feel comfortable. Around your good friends, around people with whom you can throw about ideas. What is it, this feeling of comfortable? If you ask, “what does it mean when you’re comfortable around someone?”, you’ll hear things like “It’s like being yourself,” “It’s like not thinking,” “It’s relaxing,” “It’s not stressful.”

Have you ever been in a work situation in which you felt that you were both the person who was in the meeting, answering the questions, giving the presentation – and at the same time that you were also the person observing all this from the side, seeing people’s reactions, sensing the vibe in the room? Do you know that feeling in which you’re both doing something and observing yourself doing it? It’s almost as if there were two of you. It seems to take two different brain processes to be doing something and to be on the lookout for how it’s going. And research shows that having both processes run at once uses a lot of your psychological resources.

Research shows that emotional-cognitive processing expends a lot of resources in a person. What do I mean by that? If the emotional signals that a person is getting are not in line with the cognitive signals, then it takes a lot of the person’s resources to balance the two inputs. It’s uncanny that it takes that many resources to figuratively both tap your logical head and rub your emotional stomach. But at the same time, we shouldn’t be surprised: it’s that emotional-cognitive unbalancing that is often the cause of miniature stressors that can turn into major stressors.

(In fact, if you think about babies and toddlers, in toddlers, you visibly see new tricks all the time – a new word, or a new physical ability whereas with babies of less than a year old, you’ll see fewer physical new tricks. But just think of all the different types of balancing that are going on inside their heads. Think of how a baby (and even a toddler for that matter) needs to balance the emotional and physical and thinking and seeing and other processes especially when it’s not yet clear to babies what is in balance and what is out of balance.)

So, in short, being comfortable is not needing to watch what you do while you’re doing it. Being comfortable is not playing both roles at once – the actor and the observer. (Likely similarly to not writing and editing at the same time – first writing to get the content out, and then perhaps later editing to make it pleasant to read). For example, think of how you feel if you’re practicing delivering a presentation in front of a mirror: you are at that point focusing on the delivery and not the content. Now think of yourself talking within a group of people or talking to one other person. Comfortable is when you can focus more on what you’re saying than on the possible reactions of that group or of that person.


Comfortable is always knowing that you’ll have a mulligan with this friend or with this group.

COMFORTABLE, a definition
Take-away: Comfortable is when you can focus more on what you’re saying than on how you’re saying it.