Saturday, March 14, 2009

 

Expanding the Parameters

posted by Corey Reid

Expanding my horizons and
Expanding my parameters,
Expanding the rhymes of
Sucker MC amateurs


There's things I need to do more of, things I hope to do less of. Habits I need to acquire, habits I need to break. My life has been a steady (if not always directed) process of transformation, and yet so many of the things I do every day are things I have done since I was child. Habits learned long ago and trusted now despite all evidence to suggest they are neither healthy nor helpful.

I guess that's one of the things I like about swordfighting. It is entirely about learning new habits and letting go of old ones, and offers the hope that if we can change our habits in this odd little sphere, perhaps there's the possibility of changing them in other, wider spheres. The lesson of Katori practice, however, is that the process of changing one's habits is slow, frustrating and resistant to logic. You can't argue yourself out of your habits. You can't just decide to take on new ones. You have to PRACTICE.

Well, I do, anyway. And practice and practice and practice and then practice some more, realize I've been practicing the wrong thing and have to change all the stuff I've learned up till now anyway, practice, practice practice, watch myself and discover I'm STILL doing that dumb thing with my foot that Sensei pointed out on like my SECOND class, practice, practice, practice...

Art works the same way. I write and I write, and I hope to god I'm getting better, but I'm not sure I am. I came across a story I'd written back in, oh, probably Grade Three or so. It read pretty much the same as how I write today. Same turns of phrase, same sentence structure, same obsessions I have now. Same rip-offs of the same writers I'm still ripping off today. Writing is a habit. Practice, practice, practice.

It turns out management is likewise a habit-based discipline. Becoming a better manager is all about acquiring the right sorts of habits so that you end up having the right conversations at the right time, and I AM pretty sure I'm a better manager than I used to be.

What about leading, though? Is being a leader a question of the right habits? I THINK so. I think being an effective leader (and there are as many ways to do that as there are to be a great manager, writer or swordsman, I'd say) is about acquiring the habits of taking action. Seeing a gap and dreaming of what might fill it. Putting aside that fear of doing the WRONG thing and replacing it with the fear of doing NOTHING.

I need to expand my horizons. Indeed, my parameters. It seems like I'm always doing that, but I guess I am, so I guess it should seem so. Otherwise I guess I just remain a sucker MC amateur. Practice, practice, practice.

Photo: colinjcampbell

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