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Knowing is Doing, Not Remembering

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I fathom Tim Ferrisss translating on reading non-fiction: only read how-to type books if you intend to implement their instructions right away. Otherwise its just entertainment.

His reasoning is that information is only useful if you use it, and you wont remember to use it later if you dont use it now. If any new neural connections are to be made, theyll be made in the doing.

My dad taught math. His most helpful lesson was that math skill is all well-nigh practicing the operations no variegated than shooting a basketball. Comprehending long division, for example, isnt so much a matter of memorizing the method, as its well-nigh a physical familiarity with making the right markings with a pencil on the paper: drawing the semester symbol, plugging in your numbers, getting a new number and writing it below, digit underneath digit. By the time youre exam-ready, the know-how resides in your wreck and reflexes, not in your thoughts. Knowing is doing, not remembering.

Learning to momentum is the same. Initially, a driving instructor gives you some checklists and mantras to remember: signal, mirror, shoulder-check; restriction going into the turn, gas going out. These are only placeholders though. They requite way, once youve put them into practice, to a kind of embodied, wordless knowing that guides your hands, feet, and vision together in the operation of the vehicle. If all you have is remembered instructions, you cant momentum a car except in the most lurching and unpleasant way.

Knowing vs Acquiring Ideas

The site youre reading, Raptitude, is substantially an struggle to convey unrepealable kinds of typified knowing, having to do with the subtleties of stuff human, rather than driving a car or doing long division. Im trying to get people to have some of the same perspective shifts Ive had.

For example, in Thoughts Are Made to Be Thrown Out, I do have some information to convey: that thoughts are unnoticeable visions (hallucinations, really) well-nigh possible outcomes, not true stories well-nigh the world. But my goal isnt to simply pass on this idea, its to get you to see the unnoticeable nature of your own thoughts, by noticing how they evaporate when you wield your sustentation to glancing at objects in the room. You can believe thoughts are wispy, ignorable hallucinations all you want, but it does little good until you uncork to wits them as that. The exercise in the whilom post, if you try it, might requite you that glimpse, which in turn might loosen up your usual wits of rumination and worry.

A thought

Sometimes when a reader really likes a post on this blog, they say they intend to print it out, post it somewhere obvious, and read it every day. I understand the motivation you come wideness an idea that resonates, one that promises some resurgence to life, and you want to make it permanent. You want to add the idea to your repertoire somehow.

Ive printed out many resonant quotes and ideas for the same reason . . . but its not well-spoken what to do without that. I tape them to my office wall or put them in a folder somewhere, the tacit theorizing stuff that, now that I possess this idea, I will naturally bring it to withstand at the right moment, somehow.

But I think Tim Ferriss is right. If you dont implement the idea, it just passes on through. It never makes it into your behavior, so it never changes you.

Cannot do what you ask of it

Doing Raptitude

In January I did something Ive unchangingly wanted to do I got hundreds of people to go out into the world and unquestionably do some of the weird perspective-giving practices I well-wisher on this blog. I’m talking well-nigh little two-minute exercises, designed to shake up your habitual ways of seeing ordinary life.

I tabbed this experiment the Raptitude Field Trip. It was an opportunity for readers take these practices into the field, with well-spoken instructions, and then report when to the group.

It was a thrill to hear how this went for people. The first one was tabbed the Secret Ally practice: when you notice yourself mildly unsated by a stranger, instead of indulging in the usual indignation, you privately resolve to help the offending person if they should need it. Unbeknownst to the stranger, youve gone from silently resenting them to silently watching out for them, and this reversal changes everything on your end.

Doing field work

I credit this practice for profoundly reducing the unstudied ill will I sometimes harbor for strangers, when I finger put upon by a long-winded coffee order or an obtusely-parked shopping cart. Secret Ally has permanently eased my wits of crowds and public spaces. But I had no idea what others would make of it until I ran the Field Trip.

People did the practice and shared their insights:

  • One person found themselves unsated at loud, sweary teenagers sitting nearby in a cafe. Only without trying the exercise did they realize the teenagers were studying for a math test, and their rowdiness was observing enthusiasm for solving flipside practice question.
  • Someone else discovered that whenever she made a undeniability to a companys help line, she was once thesping that whoever answers will be unhelpful. (In fact a lot of people discovered how standoffish they tended to be over the phone.)
  • Another woman unromantic the exercise to driving, by imagining that the car in front of her was stuff driven by one of herparents. Suddenly they could do nothing to tire me, and I was willing for them to take the time they needed to get where they were going.

There were lots of stories like this, for each of the seven practices. Many participants said their favorite part was reading other peoples anecdotes.

Anyway, the whole thing went over largest than I expected. People did successfully add these practices to their repertoire.

So Im going to run the Field Trip then in May for those interested.

Possibly doing math

How it works

Well do seven practices over the undertow of three weeks. They can be washed-up on your own time, but the standard pace is to try out a new practice every three days, experimenting as you wish in between.

The point of the practices is to diverge from your usual patterns in unrepealable situations. They’re meant to help you view the situation from an wile you didnt know existed. With only your default point of view, the mind will only make all of its usual conclusions and bring you to the usual outcomes.

As far as I know, all cultures do practices like this rites designed to take a person outside their habitual modes of stuff except maybe our modern, post-industrial culture. Such practices can be of the dramatic sort (ice water plunges, peyote ceremonies, desert walkabouts) or increasingly subtle (storytelling, compassion practices, Stoic thought exercises).

Usual mode of being

The Field Trip practices are definitely of the increasingly subtle sort. Each one is based on a archetype Raptitude post:

  • The Secret Ally Practice
  • The Wish You Were Here Practice
  • The Im Not Here Practice
  • The Opening Scene Practice
  • The Last Time Practice
  • The Radical Gratitude Practice
  • The Welcome Back Practice

Each lesson gives step-by-step instructions, but the practices are simple unbearable that youll know them by heart without the first time.

Once you get a endangerment to try out a practice, you can share your experiences with it in the discussion forum, if youre so inclined.

It returns

A few things to know well-nigh the Field Trip surpassing signing up:

This is an easy, low-cost experiment.

The Field Trip is a simple mini-course. The lessons take well-nigh 15 minutes to read, and the practices take well-nigh a minute to do. It’s a personal experiment. For the forfeit of two medium pizzas, you could transpiration your wits of traffic jams, meetings, weekend get-togethers, checkout lines, restaurant meals, idle Sunday afternoons, and many other corners of life. At the very least youll learn a few new ways to squint at whats happening virtually you.

It’s for people who like Raptitude and want to make some of its practices a part of their repertoire.

The Field Trip begins May 8th, 2023.

Lessons will be released over a three-week period, starting on May 8th. Once registered, you can wangle the undertow from any online device. You’ll have lifetime access, so you can do the undertow some other time instead of with the group.

Those who registered for the first Field Trip are welcome to do it then for free, or do it for the first time if you never got virtually to it. (No need to re-register youll get an email explaining everything.)

Registration is unshut now.

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