The First Step to Learning Anything
How an Organic Raspberry Souffle Changed Everything
I’ll never forget it. I was about to spend the day shadowing my mentor Barry Hooper, a massage therapist who’s focus is in pain relief. Even thought he is one of the nicest guys ever, I was terrified. I had never done any kind of shadowing before in a professional setting and was not sure how to act during our time together. I decided that my best course of action was to play it old-school: only speak when spoken to and just pay attention and try to absorb as much as possible.
As Barry worked through things with his first client I stayed pretty still, hands clasped either in front of or behind me. I can only imagine that I looked overly serious and possibly uncomfortable. During a quiet moment when he was releasing a muscle on the client, he looked at me right in the eyes and said, “Sam, run out and grab me an Organic Raspberry Souffle.” He caught me completely off guard and I froze with what I suspect was a look of absolute fear on my face.
After what felt like an eternity had passed, both he and the woman he was working on started laughing, freeing me from my terror. From that moment on I was able to relax and be comfortable. Before the next client came in, I had a minute to process what had just happened and why I had experienced sheer terror in what should have been a comfortable environment.
Learning requires acceptance. If the ability to be relaxed and think is not there, it becomes incredibly difficult to take in new material. Because I was so tense and actively trying to stay quiet I was actually restricting my ability to take in new information. By simply relaxing and allowing myself to be in the moment of what was happening, it allowed my mind to stay more fluid and take in new information.
There were more clients to see that day and each taught me something new but nothing as significant as the first. I consider myself lucky that Barry took that opportunity to snap me out of my discomfort. I was able to take in so much more information as well as be comfortable in the situation.
It was about a month ago now that I was asked for that souffle but I still think about it all the time. When I am coaching my athletes or just in conversations with friends, I find myself falling back into that state of tension. The second I realize it I am able to relax and come back to the moment. It helps to keep my mind focused where it needs to be, allowing me to not only get the most out of what I am doing but to also give everything I need to in that situation.
I was so tense the channels of learning were restricted and cut off. But because of an Organic Raspberry Souffle, I was able to calm down and open those pathways up to allow the information I was after to come in and stick around.
There will always be uncomfortable situations. It’s part of learning new things and finding out what is truly possible. The trick is not to avoid those situations but to stay as calm as possible in them.
Think of it this way: Does an Organic Raspberry Souffle sound like a stressed out desert? I feel like that’s about as chill as you can get.
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