A Punch Is Just A Punch
Do you remember what it was like before you knew the difference between a small “b,” and a small “d”? Some adult, maybe a teacher, parent or an older brother or sister would write a bunch of squiggly lines, that were supposed to have some kind of meaning. After a period of time, they start to make some kind of sense to you. And pretty soon you knew all the letters.
After that you started to notice, or maybe it was pointed out to you, that certain letters always showed up together, and when they did they actually had meaning. Meaning of something that existed in the physical world that you already knew about. You knew what an apple was, maybe you even ate one every day. You knew what others meant when you heard the word “apple,” and you could say it yourself.
But somehow, when you first saw that collection of letters, a p p l e, it took a few tries to sound out what that word meant, and what it was referring to. After a few tries, you could look at the word and immediately think of an apple.
And before you knew it, you could look at the word apple, and you would think of an apple just as quickly as if somebody said it, or even just as quickly as if you saw a real one right here in front of you.
If you’ve ever studied a foreign language, you get to repeat this process all over again. It takes a while to get used to automatically connecting a thought to a spoken sound, and then a little bit longer to produce the sound yourself. The next step, of course, is to recognize it in written form. If you are learning a language that uses roman characters, that isn’t such a big deal. But if you are learning a whole different writing system, like Sanskrit or Chinese, then you’ve got to go through the whole squiggly line learning process. Once you’ve learned the sounds, both how to hear them and how to make them, and how to recognize a specific set of squiggly lines and automatically associate them an apple, then you’re back on automatic pilot, and can spend your precious brain resources on other stuff.
This process happens over and over again as we move from the cradle to the grave. Unfortunately, for some of us, as we get older, it happens less and less frequently. Few skills are moved from the area of total confusion into autopilot. It seems to be much easier when we are younger. And we also seem to only associate “learning” with school, and things like language, mathematics, and classical literature. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There are four discreet stages of learning in the human mind. Unconscious incompetence. We don’t know that we don’t know. After we are introduced to a topic, like a new language, and we first get started, we move into the conscious incompetence. Meaning that we know about this skill, and we know that we are no good at it. This can be very frustrating if you are trying to learn something new.
After this comes conscious competence. This is when we are good at something, but we need to really pay attention to what we are doing. We need to sound out every letter to understand what the word means, or we need to turn of the radio and tell our friends to shut up if we are driving just after we got our license.
The next phase is unconscious competence. This is obviously the best part. We know how to do something, and we don’t have to think about it when we do it. We can drive while listening to the radio, having a conversation, and shaving. Many times we drive somewhere, and forget completely how we go there.
Athletes that get into the “zone” say that everything just “clicks,” and they don’t really have to think. It’s like they are merely observing themselves giving a stellar performance. Conscious thinking becomes an obstacle.
Bruce Lee described a punch three ways. He said that at first, a punch is just a punch. Then when you study a punch through the frame of Jeet Ku Do, a punch is a complex movement of breath, body, energy and intention. After you skillfully master those elements, a punch is just a punch again. An altogether more effective and potentially deadly punch, but to the conscious mind, it is just a punch.
The great promise of the human mind is that you can learn any skill to the level of unconscious competence. You can easily learn to do anything without needing to think about it. There are literally thousands of things you’ve already learned to do in your life, where you moved through this process. Things that at one point in your life, you didn’t even know existed, but now you can do them without a thought.
So what skills would you like to have? Powerful public speaking? The ability to walk up a woman and sweep her off her feet within moments of meeting her? The ability to write a sales letter that will convert fifty percent of its readers? Artistic talent? Gold medal sports skills? The skill to look fear in the face and still have the courage to act?
When you learn the structure of learning, it becomes much simpler to make learning life long habit. You don’t need to sit in boring classroom, or study boring textbooks. With NLP, or Neuro Linguistic Programming, you can break any skill you want to learn into easy manageable tasks. NLP studies the structure of learning in such a way that you can model others who are performing at levels that you’d like to be at. You can basically reverse engineer their skill set, and make it your own.
While itâ€™s not magic by any means, it can seem to be if you are stuck in the idea of learning the traditional, classroom way. With NLP you are able to explode your potential, and turn yourself into a life long learning machine, someone who will always be growing, and always be improving.
For more information on how you can use NLP to powerfully enhance every aspect of your life, click on the banner below for more information.