Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Choosing to Choose - Lessons Learned by Sitting Up Straight

I had the opportunity last week to help a dear friend edit his thesis.  While I have no idea how helpful my comments really were I found value in the act of reading his ideas.  One such idea continues to bounce around in my head, thus I am throwing it out for discussion today.

The thesis introduced me to the concept of Choose to Choose.  Based on the Alexander Technique, a turn of the 20th century movement and alignment technique developed by F.M. Alexander, Choose to Choose goes beyond the original ideas utilized mainly by artists and dancers.

The concept is this, each day you are given choices regarding everything from how you stand to how you speak.  You can sit with your back straight, you can bite your nails.  You can speak in a whisper or you can run around in circles.  We usually make conscious decisions on the big stuff, but most of us do not think about the small stuff. Instead of allowing our actions to happen without thought, we choose to choose what we do.

While the Choose to Choose idea mainly formed for use in stage awareness and habit formation, it started me thinking about my life in general and the applications it has almost everywhere. Self help groups have extolled the virtues of self awareness and leading an "intentional life" for decades if not longer.  But as is the way with all great ideas, it means nothing until you incorporate it into your life.

As I was driving down the street yesterday I chose to sit with my back straight. I thought about it and then did it.  I discovered quickly I must slouch quite a bit when driving.  The first thing I noticed was my mirrors had to move.  The second and somewhat more uncomfortable realization was my back ached.  Not good.  By making a conscious decision I realized I had a habit of slouching, something I would like to change about myself.

I am sure you are wondering why you bothered to get out of bed to read this.  Whether or not I slouch in the car does not, on the surface, seem very interesting or pertinent.  The interesting part, and I promise there is one, is the simple act of sitting up straight showed me I was doing something unconsciously to hurt my back.  It then dawned on my, and yes I am a bit slow sometimes, I likely have a myriad of other small habits hurting me every day.  I am aware of many big habits I should change, but the small ones have escaped my detection.

Now is the part where I tie this into preparedness.  I bet you just gasped, as I do not tie my thoughts back into Prepared Binder very often.  Here you go, the tie in....

"Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program." (Spencer W Kimball)  To me that quote means preparedness should be part of our little habits, not a big and special exception. Is it part of your little habits?  Do you even know?

Everyone looks at preparedness slightly differently.  To some it means food storage, for others survival skills and equipment, for others it is a disaster plan.  Prepared Binder looks at preparedness from the paperwork standpoint.  Anyway you slice the topic, there is work required to make it happen.

To be prepared we must Choose to Choose.  We must make conscious decisions about learning new information and acquiring new skills.  We must challenge the small habits in our lives that keep us from our goals.

So today I choose to become aware of my food storage.  I will look at what I have any my buying habits.  Do I have a balanced diet stored or only mass amounts of dessert?  (Do you do that, store the most of your favorite food?) I will challenge my habits and determine what needs to change. I will become aware.

In case you were wondering, the idea of Choose to Choose has many profound implications.  Given the interest, I suggest incorporating it into your own life.  You may surprise yourself with a few amazing discoveries.

I need to thank David Poznanter for his wonderful thesis which started this change in thought for me.

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