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I knew he would be the one

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One member of the group was not happy about the choice, although she went along with the others.


ou’ve taught me the different roles humor can play in working with people, relaxing, empowering, freshening.I can remember one rehearsal, close to a December concert, when we were trying to prepare Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra for the performance.It was not going well.I think that many of us, including myself, had taken some standardized test earlier that day, in addition to other rehearsals and coachings in the afternoon.I know that I was mentally exhausted, and we all kept missing notes and entrances.You must have sensed this, because you thought a moment and then said, If you make a mistake .One of its chief characteristics, as we shall see, is that it lobbies to be taken very seriously indeed.When we practice Rule Number 6, we coax this calculating self to lighten up, and by doing so we break its hold on us.He needs the care and attention of strong, competent people to make it through, and nature obliges by endowing him with enough fear and aggression to stimulate him to hold on fiercely to sources of viability.His education in the ways of relationship sets him the primary task of understanding hierarchy, assessing where the power is, and learning what he must do to be accepted.A child’s ability to control his position and the attention of others is critical, much more important than control is for the average adult on an average day.The survival mechanisms of the child have a great deal in common with those of the young of other species, save for the fact that children learn to know themselves.They grow up in a medium of language and have a long, long time to think.A child comes to think of himself as the personality he gets recognition for or, in other words, as the set of patterns of action and habits of thought that get him out of childhood in one piece.That set, raised to adulthood, is what we are calling the calculating self.The prolonged nature of human childhood may contribute to the persistence of these habits long after their usefulness has passed.The alertness to position that was adaptive at an earlier time in an individual’s life—and in the history of our species—is still conceptually operative in later years and keeps signaling to the self that it must try to climb higher, get more control, displace others, and find a way in.Fortunately, the perception of what in is, and where it is located, is likely to vary between individuals and groups.We portray the calculating self as a ladder with a downward spiral.The ladder refers to the worldview that life is about making progress, striving for success, and positioning oneself in the hierarchy.When this leads to conflict, we are likely to think that we have run up against difficult people and have learned an important lesson.Inevitably our relationships spiral downward.As the calculating self tumbles out of control, it intensifies its efforts to climb back up and get in charge, and the cycle goes round and round.One good way is to ask ourselves,What would have to change for me to be completely fulfilled?The answer to this question will clue us in to the conditions our calculating self finds threatening or even intolerable, and we may see that our zeal to bring about change may benefit from a lighter touch.The intolerable condition may be a place or a situation, but very often it is another person.For several years I have been running an accomplishment program, where people meet regularly in groups for coaching on the completion of individual projects.But the intent of the accomplishment program is larger than the achievement of specific goals.It is about living life in the realm of possibility.Over the course of each week, the participants define and follow through on three steps that will take them toward their goals.They can adjust the steps to any size as they go along, so it is virtually impossible to fail.In addition, the whole group is invited to play a common game designed to awaken&

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