I saw this mesmerizingly-superb movie, “The Music of Strangers”, when my household cable carrier gave me a gratuitous peek at HBO.
I borrowed a two-CD set of Asian music at the library years and years ago and have been hooked ever since.
The YouTube channel is linked below so you can sample the music in-depth at your leisure.
There is a lot of focus in the movie on Yo-Yo Ma (why not, since he’s a well-known name and entity) but the stars of the movie are the other people, especially the story of the founder pictured here, and — of course — the very nature of music itself.
“… I have a friend, Charlie Lehman, who teaches 6‐year‐olds design technology and he says he has these 6‐year‐olds come into class every morning and they sit down and they center together and he says to them, to these kids, he says, “Children, if you learn what to pay attention to and what to focus on, you can be anything you want in life.” And so that’s what we’re practicing here. We’re practicing choosing what we pay attention to.”
[i’ve chosen this image here rather than his smiling face above because I found this book to be superb. While I’ve read the ones about tennis and golf, I never played much tennis and I absolutely suck at golf, which is ironic because my son is a competitive amateur golfer with a handicap that hovers in the single digits. But he’d already been exposed to similar material and he applied himself. Funny thing about hard work and practice…. I have just ordered the book Galley co-wrote with Barry Green called “The Inner Game of Music”.]
“… In every workplace, we need to win. The workplace is not a social event, and our survival is always on the line. This doesn’t answer the fundamental questions of purpose and meaning, both for the institution and the individual. In a quiet and concrete way, the Inner Game argues for creating institutions that can offer people deeper meaning than just profitability, while at the same time achieving economic success. How can we play a game where the human spirit is validated and still get good work done? Most organizations have this desire, but they are still wedded to a way of thinking that treats the person as a means to an economic end. The business has to prosper, but the person needs to find purpose beyond that and needs to do so in a way that nurtures rather than burns. Placing a higher value on learning, and the awareness that learning demands, offers us hope that this is possible.”
Peter Block, author of Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used; The Empowered Manager: Political Skills at Work and Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self-Interest, in the preface to The Inner Game of Work, byW. Timothy Gallwey (Random House, New York, 2000).
•Green, Barry; Gallwey, W. Timothy (1986). The inner game of music (1st ed.). New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday. ISBN0-385-23126-1.
•Gallwey, W. Timothy. (2000). The Inner Game of Work. New York: Random House. ISBN0-375-50007-3.
•Gallwey, W. Timothy. (2009). The Inner Game of Stress: Outsmart Life’s Challenges, Fulfill Your Potential, Enjoy Yourself. New York: Random House. ISBN1-4000-6791-X. ab Whitmore, John K. (2002). Coaching for Performance: Growing People, Performance and Purpose. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing. p. 10. ISBN1-85788-303-9.
Gallwey was one of the first to demonstrate a comprehensive method of coaching that could be applied to many situations, and found himself lecturing more often to business leaders in the U.S. than to sports people.
Tim Gallwey’s work went on to found the current movement in business coaching, life coaching and executive coaching. One of the most well known exponents of business coaching is Sir John Whitmore, who popularised Graham Alexander’s and Alan Fine‘s GROW model of the coaching process.
Coaching is primarily concerned with the type of relationship between the coach and the coachee, and the means and style of communication used. The objective of improving performance is paramount, but how that is best achieved is what is in question. Gallwey says that if a coach can help the player to remove or reduce the internal obstacles to his performance, an unexpected natural ability will flow forth without the need for much technical input from the coach. This is an approach that can be readily applied to almost any situation. Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn, rather than teaching them.
Before the 1990s, technical ability and sport-appropriate fitness were what coaches worked on. The mind was not recognized to be crucial, and the prevailing theory seemed to be that the physical and mental talent you’re born with is all that you get, and no amount of coaching could radically alter or improve on it. The effect the coaches had on the state of mind of their performers was only unwittingly, and often negatively, influenced by autocratic methods and obsession with technique. Coaches in the past have denied their performers’ responsibility by telling them what to do; they denied their awareness by telling them only what the coach saw. The problem is that this method can and does produce reasonable results, or good performance, and so there is little motivation to try anything else, and the coach and the performer may never know or believe what they could achieve.
Starting in the 1990s, however, sports psychologists have been increasingly employed in both the athletic and business settings to develop attitudinal training, although this has been difficult to “sell” to many coaches who, unaware themselves of all alternative approaches, often intentionally unintentionally negate the best efforts of mind/body trainers and the performer who’s adopting their methods.
This approach — the teaching of the application of mental school skills, efforts at empowerment of athletes and others, and the use of took coaching techniques described by Galway, Whitmore, Heckler and others — seems to threaten the authority, egos and principles of some involved in coaching. This is simply an exaggeration of fears. And, while the resource of time is surely limited, the long-term benefits for the developing adolescent can be dramatic and extend beyond the playing fields and into their lives. What is being proposed should not be perceived as a threat, but merely a proposal that changing these directions will produce better results. The best way to develop and maintain the ideal state of mind for performance is to build awareness and responsibility throughout daily practice and the skill acquisition process.
Coaching for Performance: A Practical Guide to Growing Your Own Skills, John Whitmore, Pfeiffer and Company, 1994.
“One’s true capacity for moving, or being moved, can be achieved only when one’s commitment to others is in fact connected to and derived from his primary commitment to himself. When the learner can find this kind of alignment of purpose, there is a harmony of motivation that can provide the fuel and clarity to overcome great obstacles in the pursuit of great challenge.”
Coaching for learner initiated choice
Two observations stand out as I reflect on my early experience with coaching performance in sports. The first is that almost everyone who came to me for lesson was trying very hard to fix some aspect of their game that they didn’t like. They expected me to provide a remedy for their problem. The second is the relative effortlessness with which change for the better takes place when they stop trying so hard and trusted in their capacity to learn from their own experience.
With a common context of the coach telling the learner what should and shouldn’t be done, the learner’s pattern of behavior becomes predictable. Placing his trust in the judgment of feedback of the teacher, the student’s responsibility becomes merely to do what he is told. Thus, he tries hard not to do what he shouldn’t do, and to make himself do what he should. The coach says “good” (really, “good, you are trying to obey me”) and the student learns to associate “good” with a forced and unnatural approach, and so it goes, over and over again. If change is viewed as movement from bad to good, as defined and initiated by someone other than the one who needs to make the change, it is done in a judgmental context that usually brings resistance, doubt and fear of failure with it. Neither student or teacher is likely to be aware that this approach to change undermines the student’s eagerness and responsibility for learning.
My role as a coach was not just to make the immediate goal is clear as possible but to evoke from the student the underlying purpose and motivation for reaching the goal. Allowing the student to be more aware of the choices he was making and the reasons behind those choices was an essential part of the learning process. The student felt more in control and as a natural consequence was willing to accept more responsibility, and exercise greater initiative and creativity in achieving their goals; it also greatly diminishes the resistance to change inherent in the command-and-control model.
There’s an old saying, “When you insist, I resist.” It is natural for a person to resist encroachment on his boundaries, and when the resistance isn’t expressed directly, it will come out indirectly. Either way, the resistance is detrimental to the outcome. To students used to the command-and-control model, having a greater degree of control is often disconcerting. But when the student learns that his choices were not going to be judged by the coach as right or wrong, he accepts his role as the choice-maker and accepts responsibility for the outcome of those choices.
Many positive elements for learning and change result from the shift. It keeps the initiative for learning and change in the hands of the student, generating a greater sense of personal involvement and participation. It prevents the learning from being merely by rote and thus easily forgotten. It allows for much greater involvement on the part of the learner. It allows for changes to take place naturally as true understanding grows. It engages the attitudes and feelings of the learners and often provokes changes that pervade every aspect of their lives. When choices for learning and change are allowed to be self-initiated and self-regulated, they become more comprehensive as well as more enjoyable.
The Inner Game of Work, W. Timothy Gallwey, Random House, 2000.
The Nature of Games:The Experience of Excellence Expressing Itself
All games have certain qualities in common. They are limited in time; they have designated beginnings and ends. They are limited in space; they are played within specific physical boundaries. They have goals, and obstacles that must be overcome to reach those goals. They are always limited by a set of rules. Learning occurs most naturally in a setting where mistakes can be made without dire consequences. Yet learning and growth also require the acceptance of challenge, and the motivation to reach a goal is not always attained. Hence the value of a game lies in its ability to create an illusion, a separate reality in which you can experiment and take risks without great penalties for failure.
The simulated challenges, obstacles and pressures of competition are for the purpose of enjoyment and learning better how to meet the real challenges of life. In addition, games can be an expression of skill for the sake of excellence. It can be art.
So, in the final analysis, we hold to one goal:
to express our best in the direction of the game’s goal,
not for the sake of that goal
but for the experience of excellence expressing itself.
Our punishment for not doing our best is immediate and simple; we do not feel the excellence. By not making the effort to concentrate and relinquish control, we don’t get the pleasure that comes when we do. Our reward and our punishment are immediate and indivisible, and they do not emerge from frustration, thoughts and expectations.
“To perpetrate doubt”, says Gallwey, and in the quote he refers to the educational system, the parent-child relationship, or manager-employee relationships, “is one of the most debilitating — though often unconscious — crimes against human potential.”
The quote is from Timothy Gallwey, the author of a series of books devoted to the development of personal and professional excellence in a variety of fields, what he calls The Inner Game. This particular quote comes from the inner book of tennis. One of his books is The Inner Game of Work. (As John Janovy Jr. says, “When your business is the conversion of human potential into reality, you can find work anywhere….”)
I don’t think there is much room for doubt about the fact that our inner game of work includes improving society, limiting interpersonal conflict, reducing warfare, improving well-being, increasing human potential; we have a lot of work to do. And we must work together because, as individuals, we cannot do it alone no matter how much we embrace the tools of the noetic sciences.
Belief and discipline are closely related.
“The cost” Gallwey goes on to say “of not recognizing” [and counteracting] the creation in another of doubt “is high, not only for the individual but for the group of organization [or community or society]. When doubt becomes an internalized norm, the spirit suffers, a sense of purpose decays, dignity declines, excellence and greatness go into hiding, and the seeds for decadence and failure are germinated.” The perpetration of doubt about belief is destructive; it’s like dropping phosphorus bombs into the spirit.
“The reason that doubt is such an enemy is that it attacks the will itself. Anxiety and fear are emotional and psychological disturbances that make functioning more difficult, doubt weakens the will, which is at the center of our being. Doubt can cripple a person desire to act, think or even to live. ”
L. Michael Hall, Ph.D.: 12 pages on Gallwey, Meta-States, and the Inner Game