Barry commented on my last posting “How might we “remember to remember” that “first time” risk is not all that unlike just getting up in the morning?”

Thanks Barry, I’m intrigued by this challenge, to “remember to remember”.

I’ve long been curious as to how we prompt ourselves to shift perspective, to trip ourselves up to avoid slipping into habits, continuing to walk well trodden paths….

What tricks, Aide-mémoire….what kinds of knotted handkerchief might we find useful?  People comment though that tying knots on handkerchiefs or pieces of string around your finger (an American folksy aide memoire apparently) can often founder when you see the reminder and remember you have to remember but can’t remember what!

In my experience of coaching, people often wish to change their behaviour or thinking and seek to identify that moment when they want to shift away from prevailing habits.

I liked the story of the two executives who acknowledged that their respective behaviours at work wound each other up. They agreed that if either of them were to behave in the same irritating way in future,  the other would simply bring out a toy which reminded and prompted them, in a fun way, to alter their habitual behaviour. Although this is a prompt to another person rather than remembering to remember for oneself. 

I can’t help but mention the Seinfeld episode (season 5: The Opposite) where George states that every decision, every instinct he has had in the past has been wrong Jerry challenges him “that if that is so then you should do the opposite!”

Maybe the trick is to take a moment and not have a goal, remember to forget the past …….not have a predetermined focus …but simply see beyond the fingers…..

I recall the lines in the film Patch Adams when Arthur (a patient) frequently holds up four fingers to people and asks….

Arthur Mendelson: How many fingers do you see?
Hunter Patch Adams: Four.
Arthur Mendelson: No no! Look beyond the fingers! Now tell me how many you see.

Arthur Mendelson: You’re focusing on the problem. If you focus on the problem, you can’t see the solution. Never focus on the problem!

Arthur Mendelson: See what no one else sees. See what everyone chooses not to see… out of fear, conformity or laziness. See the whole world anew each day!

Maybe sometimes we might enable change to happen by not having a goal as such but just remember to look beyond the fingers,  forget the past……and just look!