Unambiguous (Issue 819)

In which we are reminded that immediate, specific feedback is extraordinarily valuable when changing behaviors or routines.

I’ve been having some lower back problems, something to do with the last round of snow fall, shoveling, and poor body mechanics. So I went to my West Concord Wizard, Jeff, who helps people with these kinds of problems.

After interviewing me for 20 minutes – medical history, physical history, objectives for rehabilitation – he had me stand with my back to the wall, heels against the base board, back of my head against the wall.

“See? This is what your body should feel like when you’re standing up straight.”

“It’s a little different than what I’m used to.”

He handed me a curtain rod. “Here,” he said, “hold this up to your back so the top touches the back of your head and the bottom touches your tailbone…. Now, bend your knees a bit and bend over so that curtain rod maintains contact with your head and your back and your tailbone.”  He demonstrated the move.

Over I went. Muscles in the middle of my back complained a bit.  The position felt foreign.

“How is that?”

“Better,” I said. “No back strain.”

“Yes, that’s the point…. I want you to do that stretch, that position, and hold it for 30 seconds 10 times, twice a day. And then, when you’re at home, practice walking with the curtain rod against your back. Whenever you bend over to pick something up, you bend over, like that, with your back straight. Got it?

I did.

So, I’m learning to stand up straight ALL the time and to maintain a straight back when lifting. It’s an interesting sensation, to have immediate, unambiguous. specific  feedback while learning a new activity. To know instantly when I’m out of position or off course. Makes it easier to learn something new and change.

[Sales coaches – bend your knees slightly and re-read that last paragraph 3 times. ]

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