Tuesday, 11 August 2009

'AS IF' Attitude

I have entitled this weeks article “AS IF” Attitude, but it could equally have been branded Intention or Commitment.
As always, inspiration for my articles comes from many sources and it’s always nice to see that various areas of my life often serve up the same menu of messages and directions. It gives me reassurance that I am on the right path or at least have a balance in my life that means I am surrounded by the right influences.
It’s said that..

“Good men usually have around them people who expect them to be better than they have any intention of being.”

..and I fully believe that this should always be our aim; to have great influence in our lives in whichever direction we turn. Do You?
Anyway, I digress, so back to the plot.

In NLP, we use the phrase “AS IF” quite a lot when we want to change the way we feel about certain events or occasions, for example.
If I have an event, or an occasion that I am particularly nervous about, I will apply an As If Attitude to this via deep concentration, or relaxed meditation.I will muse over the forthcoming event and then take myself past it to imagine myself As If it had already passed with a successful outcome.

If you feel you are not good enough, skilled enough, or experienced enough to accomplish a task, imagine yourself As If you have all the skills you need. Chances are you probably already do anyway. Imagine how your life would change if the outcome was a success. Shape your thoughts As If the event had now passed and everything went according to plan. How would you then feel?

In reality, we all do everything with an As If attitude it’s just that often it’s not quite the right one. We can enter into things As If we are going to be victorious, As If we are not going to succeed, or As If we couldn’t really care less, and many other attitudes in between.
So really, this article is about having a positive As If attitude rather than any random As If mindset.
Using the As If attitude will change the way you approach something and also change the way you feel about something.

On the Self Defence Forum this week, one of the members had posted a link to an article which suggested, through “extensive” research and trials, that positive thinking may not have a positive bearing on the outcome of an event. In fact, it went further to suggest that it could lead to negative results as the positive suggestions spoken internally by the test participants didn’t lead to a better result and so they became despondent.I’m sure the test results did give this feedback, but what I would suggest is that it’s not simply a matter of repeating positive phrases to yourself, you also need the right intention and the right mindset. Words will do nothing without intent and commitment behind them. So saying “I will succeed” must be coupled with faith that “I will succeed” and then an attitude As If I know I’m going to succeed, and knowing already what I expect to feel like when I Do Succeed.

This may all seem like positive claptrap but I use my final source of inspiration this week to highlight exactly what I mean.

During training this week with my instructor Terry Barnett, we started with some pad work, drilling some basic trapping techniques.
I won’t go into the intricacies of the drill here, except to illustrate my point.
Our first round was to simply trap and counter with a back-fist onto the focus mit.
Once we had this smoothly and efficiently with good body mechanics, and importantly, commitment in our back-fist strike we then expanded the drill slightly.
This next round the pad holder blocked our back-fist, cutting off its path to the pad, such that we then had to clear the obstruction and continue with a second attack to the pad.Again, we drilled this for some time.
This is where the drill became interesting because, what we noticed was how our initial back-fist attack changed once we knew it would be blocked. Our body mechanics, our positioning, our forward motion, or lack thereof, all changed as we began to pre-empt the block and better set ourselves up for the clearance and second attack.
This lack of commitment was exposed when the drill changed so that the pad holder was allowed to choose at random whether he would block the initial back-fist or allow it a clear path through to the pad.

We immediately noticed how, when we anticipated the block, if it never actually came, our back-fist was poorly executed and often didn’t reach the intended target.

The purpose of the drill was to throw each technique As If it was going to hit the pad; As If it wasn’t going to be blocked, which is how it would be thrown in reality.Once, or if the attack was blocked or covered, then we had to react to the new situation, clear the obstruction and continue with our forward motion and attacks.

There are lots of analogies in this simple drill and I have picked only one which is the As If attitude, but some others could be..

- To make every action a deliberate one.
- To not expect or anticipate failure.
- To be flexible enough to change our course of action when a block or hurdle is thrown in our way.
- To accept sometimes our first course of action won’t achieve its intended goal but to carry on anyway with a revised plan.
- To not try to continue forcing something through that simply cannot work, particularly when the situation has changed such that our original plan is no longer valid.
- To not be disheartened when our actions aren’t successful.
- To be sensitive to change, only so that we can identify it quickly and adapt and modify just as speedily, rather than be sensitive where we are unwelcoming and uncomfortable at the first signs of change.

The list could go on but I need to get back to my original plan.
We proceeded with every action As If it was going to achieve its desired result.So our initial back-fist had to be thrown As If it was going to be successful, and only when/if it’s path was blocked would we then adapt, clear the block and continue to attack.
When I translate this to my own area of Martial Arts, the Self Protection and dare I say, “Reality Based” arena, this As If attitude is probably one of the key mentalities that will make the difference between win or lose.

For example, should the need arise and I have to throw a pre-emptive strike, every single shot I throw will be with the commitment As If this one will be the knock out shot. I have to have massive intention and massive commitment with both the technique and my attitude; otherwise it most certainly will not achieve the desired result.

I throw my punch As If my life depends on it, and it probably most certainly will do.

The paradox with this however, is that I also keep an attitude As If even this first shot is still not enough. I must maintain a posture and a self control after my first shot As If the guy is still going to be conscious and upright and still posing a threat. Without this mindset and self control, I will over commit with my first technique and could end up in a vulnerable position after my failed first shot.

It’s a very difficult balance to get, to fully commit a technique with 100% intention that it will work, but also have a backup plan, just in case it doesn’t.

When we look at the specific mechanics of a good pre-emptive strike, we should always be throwing our shots, As If the pad or target was a little further away than it actually is. This means we will be punching through the target rather punching onto it.

Look at the best 100 metre sprinters and you will see they run the race As If it’s actually 110 metres. They sprint through the line not up to it.
And I would argue that anything you wish to achieve, anything you wish to accomplish you should apply the same commitment and intention and the same As If attitude.

Try treating or imagining your boring 8 hour day at the job you hate As If it’s going to be 9 hours. You’ll be pleased when you finish work earlier.

A silly example perhaps, but it brings me back to the As If mindset and the tools we use in NLP to achieve successful outcomes.
Visualisation techniques use the same principal.

"Before you create something for real, you must first create it in your mind and this is where visualisation comes in."

But successful visualisation relies totally on having the As If attitude, in order to see things As If they are already there and outcomes As If they have resulted in what you desired.
How many times have you experienced yourself or witnessed others who have had a negative, self doubting mindset before they begin a task, only to see themselves fail. Some would say this is a self fulfilling prophecy, and they would be right.After all..

“The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right.”

But what really makes the difference is when you apply the As If attitude. Enter any task As If you are already capable and already experienced enough. Have the mental approach As If you ARE going to be successful, and the results will follow suit.

So when I throw the back-fist at the pad, I do it As If nothing is going to get in its way and I do it As If the target is further away than it actually is. My action will then have total commitment with total intent.

And if I take this As If attitude and apply it wherever I need conviction in my actions I will, without doubt, increase my chances of success.

Stay Safe and Have Fun

Al x

1 comment:

  1. I highly agree with the potential of the As If attitude. Being able to work my own spin on how I enter a situation has done a lot for me.

    Thanks for the great post. I'll keep checking out your blog and other works.