Learning a new technique

I discuss many techniques that I have found useful on this website. I hope you will be curious enough to explore a few of them. 

I have shared a few attitudes/tips that have helped me a lot in my learning efforts below and I hope these will be useful to you as well. 

Be realistic

If you just go by the marketing, case studies and testimonials of these methods it appears as if they are trivial to learn and even more easy to get results using them.

Most testimonials and case studies discuss the absolute best case results, so you will not see the cases which took much longer to resolve or did not resolve at all. 

For example you might read about a case where the client is depressed for a few years and after a session they are normal and cheerful. While I don't rule out such a possibility, such cases are an exception rather than the rule and you are better off being more realistic when you are learning a new tool as you are neither an expert practitioner nor a proficient client.

Treat it like a skill acquisition

It is a good idea to treat these tools as personal skills that you learn with learning curve, similar to a physical skill like swimming. It takes a fair amount of trial and effort to learn swimming for most people and these are no different.

"How can someone possibly float?"  and "How can someone possibly change their emotions?" are questions in a similar league when you have not learnt the respective skill.

There is wide range of difference in the time it takes someone to learn to swim and the same thing holds here. 

Figure out what works for your learning style and do it - is it observing others do it? reading case studies? going through it in a well structured manner with a book? a video? personal coaching? 

Devote your resources

Sometimes people spend one hour reading something, then quickly look up what the skeptics have to say about the method and then move on to the next thing :).

I usually allocate 20-30 hours of time spread across a few weeks whenever I experiment with something new and that has served me very well.

Most good techniques have an associated website, something that you can try before you buy, a money back policy, forums that you can read how others are faring with it etc.  Make good use of them, once you decide that something is worth learning, do buy their default offer for a newbie (usually a manual). Usually, it is not productive to try to learn something from testimonials and assorted articles on a website.

Spend a few hours reading the manual, but spend most of your time doing or trying the method on some well defined small problems that the method proposes to address. The real test is not just the theory but whether you can get it to work for you.

Suspend disbelief during the trial

It is quite possible that many of the methods that I discuss in this website will violate your personal model of 'reality' in some way.

The common response to this is to try and discredit the new model or give it half-hearted trial with the expectation that it will fail. As such it is usually a sub-conscious attempt at protecting your cherished model of 'reality'.

If you are exploring a new method, it is because you expect benefits or returns that you existing world view does not provide. So it makes sense to consciously try and maintain the expectation that you can make it work. This will maximize the return on your effort.

While it might seem like I am asking you to be gullible, I am not.  Imagine learning swimming as you continuously think "It is impossible to float" or learning programming with the continous expectation that "I cannot program".  

This is a temporary stance you take during the trial period and at the end you reflect if is worthwhile or not. 

Steve has an excellent note on skepticism which is definitely worth a read in this context.

what if it does not work?

If after your best conscious effort to make it work, you are not able to get realistic satisfactory results, try to find a practitioner and see if they can troubleshoot why it did not work for you.

If even that does not work, then do accept that not everything works for everybody and move on to something else that might work for you.

Life is too short to spend time on methods and models that don't work for us!

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