Sunday, January 16, 2011

Zorro and The Tetris Effect

“We see what we look for and miss the rest.” As the new year of resolutions continues, I focused on learning more about Shawn Achor’s “Tetris Effect.” In short, he uses the game Tetris to show us how we can train our brains to look for the possibilities in our lives. Our beliefs about what is possible are so powerful that they dictate our efforts and actions. The tetris effect helps us train our brains to look for and capitalize on the possibilities in our lives. As in the game of tetris, if played for extended periods of time, we begin to see patterns and shapes and how they might fit together.

I realized when reading this that I have practiced this on occasion in my life with magnificent results. Here are a few examples. Back when I wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle, I would talk with others about my desire, yet I made no movement toward that end. This is where Zorro came in. The Zorro Circle is derived from the story of Zorro, and how he came to master his skills by training in a small circle and then expanding as he mastered each skill. So with motorcycling, I took the first tiny step; I signed up for the motorcycle safety course.

Now signing up for something doesn’t necessarily mean you will get to your goal, but once you stop thinking about a thing, and begin, the journey takes care of itself. You begin to see the possibilities and the next opportunity presents itself. I took the course, passed, got my license, looked for and found my first perfect bike, and as the years went by the world opened up in ways I had never imagined. I met great people, visited places I never imagined I go, and experienced connectivity with others I hadn’t had since I enjoyed my stint in high school band.

However, as we know life does present challenges to us and it can be hard to know what the first step might be. We get depressed, see only the negative side of things and become stalled and uncertain about what to do next. That is when the Tetris Effect comes in so handy; if we only think to practice it. Yet, I used this very technique without knowing when after three years of sitting in an office I knew would shutter soon, a friend of mine asked “what are you doing to strategize your position in the company?” At the time I was very annoyed, yet those words had me unconsciously watching the landscape more closely. It paid off handsomely and while my commute is long and tiresome, I’m enjoying a renewed sense of purpose in a new location with the same company. I had indeed strategized my position well.

The Tetris Effect requires three drivers to be successful; happiness, gratitude and optimism. As with the soon to be shuttered office, we must capitalize on the downs to build upward momentum, the “third path” as Shawn describes it. It can be hard to see, and people learn helplessness and stop looking for their path out of adversity believing that nothing will change or help. Remember; our beliefs dictate our efforts.

What am I interested in this year? I want to take another great motorcycle trip, yet I know not where. I want to be published again more prominently about riding adventures. I want to drop those 10 pounds that found me. To begin, I’m using the Zorro circle. I’m starting with the drinking of eight-8 ounce glasses of water a day. It’s a baby step toward weight loss. I know I can do this one thing and the next step will be easier. I’m asking other’s about what they are planning for riding adventures in the upcoming season, and I’m paying attention to writing opportunities large and small. Indeed, there were a few uncovered at yesterday’s Monadnock Writer’s Group meeting.

Where do you want to take your life this year? Are you writing your gratitude list, are you thinking that happy thought or remembering a happy moment in your life each morning? You must if you want to build on any of your goals. Work in your tiny circle of influence, expand that each day, and don’t forget to watch the landscape change as you do and the possibilities will come into view on the horizon.

1 comment:

Richard said...

I'm reading and enjoying. I'm also intrigued. I have something I'd love to do and I haven't acted on it. In my heart I feel that it's what I was put here to do. I have an inner voice urging me on and I just ignore it. I'll be checking in regularly and feeding off your success.