Emotion helps hardwire
People tend to be hard on themselves.
I see this on the mat all the time; someone makes a mistake and they beat themselves up over it. Whenever I can, I try to eradicate this response. The culture on my mat is actually the opposite – if someone makes a mistake, I encourage them to ‘purge’ it immediately from their mind; I don’t allow students to berate themselves over a mistake. In fact, if they get it ‘perfect’ – then I give them permission to stop for a second and ‘celebrate’ the success. We do NOT celebrate mistakes – and by that, I mean I discourage any kind of ‘emotional’ reaction to mistakes.
Studies have proved that we tend to ‘hardwire’ responses to specific situations much more readily if we experience a strong emotional reaction. When we take a moment to think about it, it makes sense:
Our early ancestor goes down to the river to get water; sees a crocodile burst out of the wet stuff and pull a wilderbeast in to it’s death – powerful emotional response. So now we REMEMBER – beware the water’s edge! We only need see something like once and ‘learning takes place’. Powerful emotion makes for powerful memories and hardwires our physical responses.
So when a student makes a mistake, I don’t want them to indulge in an emotional response to that mistake – I don’t want any reaction to it at all. Conversely, when they do something the way we want it to be done - we do want to attach an emotional response to that experience – we do want to hardwire that success.
So never ‘beat yourself up’ over errors – but do ‘celebrate’ success. Strong emotion cements learning. Check your habits.