I have just looked through some notes I took at our last International Davis Symposium and came across these pearls of wisdom.
“When you require something from someone who cannot do this, you are torturing him/her.”
I have noticed that the other day. When asked to read, the motivation of my little client left altogether, including his mind and focus. Instead of pushing or forcing him to read, I used Ron’s wisdom and said instead: “I am going to ask you to do something tricky now. It is ok that you don’t know how to do that. It is my aim to slowly expand what you are able to do. But you have to promise me that you won’t force yourself or try very hard. Instead, I’d like you to try just a few words – maybe one sentence, then stop. All that counts is HOW MANY TIMES YOU TRY – and NOT how long you persevere. Pressing on when you are stressed will give you a headache. But every time you stop and re-start, you are creating new neural pathways and make the task easier and easier.”
After only one day of trying with many stops, interruptions, breaks and fun activities, big shifts were made in reading – and most importantly, it wasn’t torture…but got more and more pleasurable.
To paraphrase Albert Einstein, who said that insanity was to keep doing things in the same way and expect a different outcome. Pushing and not stopping is the same way. But when we stop and re-start, there is a difference – new neural pathways have to be used – and the variation creates changes – big changes.