Personal development and the tight jeans dance (Archived)

Someone pegs a new idea, tool or practice at you. You catch it awkwardly. It looks kind of funky, all unfamiliar awkward angles. That little voice in your head instantly snorts: “Meh. That won’t work for us. Drop it.”

Do we listen to that little voice? Is that what happened to all the chocolate cake?

How do we tell whether our discomfort is caused by a stretch, an awkward fumbling of a new skill or the challenge of pushing to the next level… or the twitch of intuition as something drags counter-grain to common sense?

We all know people whose minds are closed to any challenge to their belief system. They know everything, they’ve have tried everything and they are quick to pooh-pooh any suggestion or idea that dares trip into their vicinity.

How teachable are they? How teachable are you?

The balance between being open to trying something new and releasing things that are not useful is a vital component of being an active and strategic learner.

To be a life-long learner you need to keep yourself open to new practices and ideas and give things a go. I visualise my learning style like a shopping expedition. Have you ever selected an item of clothing off the shelf, taken it out to the change room and done the ‘tight jeans’ dance? Or the ‘oh God, I got it on and can’t get it off dance’? Or maybe you rammed one arm or leg into it and just went ‘nup’? When it comes to trying on clothing, it’s pretty damn obvious when there’s no chance that item is going to work. Well, usually. I do experience the ‘oh God, I’m stuck’ dance more then I’d like to admit.

We should exercise the same strategy as we actively and hungrily absorb new ideas to boost our creativity and productivity. We should reach hungrily for items. We should drag a huge hoard of them back into the privacy of our change rooms. And we really should have a red hot go at trying them on. Let’s face it, that ‘tight jeans’ dance is sooo worth it for the right pair of jeans or exercise tights, right?

My advice is, drag a truckload of new ideas and practices into the privacy of your creative change room. Do a bit of a dance. Give things a serious, red hot go. Work out whether it’s just the ‘tight jeans’ dance with a new idea or practice or whether it’s actually the ‘oh God I’m stuck’ dance. Listen to what your body and your intuition is telling you but always check your motives for dismissing or skimming over an idea.

A new practice or concept may require a bit of a dance, but once it's on it should fit like a good pair of jeans or exercise tights. Visualise where these new jeans or tights will take you: the new chapter of your creative journey you will stride confidently into, the kick-ass things you will do!

How do you actively and hungrily reaching for new ideas, tools and ways of being? How do you tell the difference between the right shade of challenging and the absolute wrong fit?

(Posted 8 Mar 2020. Follow me at:



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