In his entertaining skits, David Alan Grier’s character, Calhoun Tubbs, has a song ready for every occasion. No matter how inappropriate the situation or his application of song he wrote. He thus presents a question of paradoxical policies on automatic.
“Wrote a song about it! Like to hear it? Here it go!”
(David Alan Grier as Calhoun Tubbs, In Living Color)
Most of my personal policies are so automatic and happen so quickly, I fail to notice them in action. That is, until I question one by paying it some attention. For example, I DIDN’T NOTICE that while sitting at my desk typing this, my breathing was shallow. That is, until I NOTICED! Then, suddenly, my breathing changed. BY NOTICING, I turned an unconscious automatic conditional policy into a conscious strategy that resulted in a different outcome.
A Question of Awareness
In every conditional policy, there is an inherent question:
“Is my perception of the situation true?” Or, more succinctly, “Is it true?”
In order to NOTICE, I must QUESTION an assumption – that I perceive the situation correctly. In order to QUESTION its accuracy, I must NOTICE my perception of a situation or condition. Thus, it would seem, awareness and questioning go hand-in-hand.
My conscious awareness tends to focus mostly on outcomes. That is, did my process result as I intended? The answer to that question supplies the trigger for the next policy –
- Yes, it worked! So, initiate a policy to –
- Strengthen the policy through favor
- Use the policy again
- Increase trust in the policy
- No, it didn’t work. So, initiate one or more of the following policies –
- Escape detection!
- Reevaluate my procedures (how I carried out the policy).
Note the avoidance of a policy to –
- Question my policy.
- Reevaluate my philosophy.
- Question my beliefs.
- Take accountability.
Something happened and I reacted. I might ask 4 questions that may lead me to some awareness. I might ask myself as soon as I regain my thinking capacity, “What happened and what did I do?” Then –
- WHAT ACTUALLY happened? (Was the situation true as I perceived it? Yes or No? Assumption: No!)
- Assuming my incorrect perception, how would I react/behave given what ACTUALLY happened? “Apply a new policy!”
- Why would I do something different given what ACTUALLY happened?
- Who is perceiving what ACTUALLY happened?
The same set of questions could be used to deescalate a threatening situation –
- WHAT is ACTUALLY happening? (What is the current situation?)
- HOW does the ACTUAL situation appear to me? (Inventory your sensory feedback – not your emotions!)
- What do I see – right now?
- What do I hear – right now?
- Where do I feel it in my body – right now?
- What do I taste – right now?
- What do I smell – right now?
- WHY would I assign [a negative emotion like fear] to this ACTUAL situation? (new answer: “I wouldn’t!”)
- WHO is in charge of my perception of this situation? (the answer to that is – “I’m the one who’s perceiving this.”)
- WHO’S the policy maker?” (the answer is – “me.”)