You’re Doing It Wrong

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I hurt my back recently – nothing big – but I did need some physical therapy. It’s been going great, but then the therapist told me something that blew my mind – I was walking wrong.

This news was a bit stunning, as I’ve been walking for decades and figured by now I was pretty good at it. But apparently, the way I was carrying myself wasn’t helping my back and made things worse. It was weird, but a few changes in how I held myself, and I had a noticeable difference in my discomfort.

On top of everything else I’d done to myself, I’d started – or had been – walking wrong. This gave me pause for thought – followed, of course, by a pause for blogging.

There’s a lot of things we do that we’re used to, skills that are habits. They’re instinctive and automatic, and we’re probably pretty good at them. Just like my walking – but it could be cooking, driving, writing, etc.

But just because we’re good at something doesn’t mean we can’t end up doing it wrong.

We could end up adopting bad habits over time, slowly corrupting our abilities with bad choices. We miss the point where our practices outweighed our skill – perhaps our attempts to cook quickly lead us to make poorer dishes.

A crisis or bad experience could lead us to bad choices. Perhaps we restrain ourselves, or overdo something, or avoid a challenge. My back injury seemed to result in my favoring my back the wrong way.

Perhaps we don’t practice our skills or avoid a challenge, and our abilities weaken. They can’t support our ambitions or our goals. We use them, but not enough, not in the right way, and they fade and become fragile.

Or maybe we become too strict in our practice, too linear. We’ve got checklists and outlines, policies and procedures. We become stiff and unyielding in our ideas, and even though we do things, somehow nothing gets done.

We can all become bad at things we are expert at doing. Even walking.

This is why it’s essential to practice and keep learning, no matter what we do. This is why it’s good to ask questions when you have a problem with something that’s normal or something you were once good at doesn’t seem to be going well. Those things we do well may change.

Here’s your assignment – what’s something you’re really good at, and how do you ensure you stay good at it? Think it over . . .

Steven Savage