Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thoughts on Blink

"Blink" by Malcom Gladwell - a great book.

"How good people's decisions are under fast-moving, high-stress conditions of rapid cognition is a function of training and rules and rehearsal." Pg. 114
*This is why we do all these things - to prepare the brain for the 'actual' situation - to know as much about as many factors as possible so that when the factors that can only be present in the 'actual situation' show themselves, you are all the more likely to handle the situation as best as you can. Adding an audience, with dance or performance of any kind, heightens the situation beyond what one is capable of feeling without that factor. One can remember from previous experiences what it felt like at that particular time, but never be able to actually put themselves in those shoes until they have been purchased and put in front of them. It is preparing the dancers for everything added in when performing (lights, the stage space, costumes, music levels, show order) that makes the addition of the audience, a non-duplicatable, one time thing, managable and even a positive additional attribute.

"Allowing people to operate without having to explain themselves constantly turns out to be like the rule of agreement in improv. It enables rapid cognition." Pg. 119
*Self-employment: The obvious benefit is getting to decide what you do yourself. An additional side effect of that is not having to explain it to anyone else. This catapults me to the last weeks of desire to be done training (explaining myself to someone else) and be off on my own (making my own snap decisions and not having to wait for permission or approval). This may be much of why I enjoy independently producing - I have people to answer to (my dancers, the theater), but ultimately I am making decisions on my own that affect the people involved.

"Once we know how the mind works - and about the strengths and weaknesses of human judgement - it is our responsibility to act." Pg. 276
*All important thoughts processed such as these are just that - thoughts - unless you take them into action. This is why I am so staunch about speaking and acting exactly the way I think is best. I do not try to push these thoughts on others, but rather, focus my energy on acting the way I wish. This way, at least I am not being a hypocrite to myself. You are the first person that you answer to, and once you have that down pat, things can radiate out if you wish them.

This book made me think a lot about how I take in information and pass it on. I know I have a tendency to make quick judgements and have spent a great deal of thought trying to figure out how I can be less abrassive in hopes of being more effective in communicating. This is all fine and good - a worthly pursuit of positive self-development - but becomes a negative pursuit when it gets in the way of honesty and efficient thought. Long story short, I am simply trying to say that no one way to think and communicate is correct. Much like most (or I argue every) things in the world, thought and communication require ying and yang. A little bit of editting here, and bit of snap judgement there, and you are on your way. As long as these actions are concious!

Beyond those thoughts, just comments on attempts to create a well-working routine. I have a decent one set up for myself - up at seven, run and exercise till 8, breakfast, work creatively until 10 or 11, depending upon what the day has in store. I try to do this six times a week, leaving one day for wiggle room. For the most part this has been sucessful, but what has surprised me is the amount of work I feel I have. Granted, I do have a show coming up, but am only doing one piece for it, so it is not like the choreographic work load is gigantic. However, when I was rehearsing and creating several pieces at a time for a singular show, I was not trying to keep myself engaged in outside creative practices like writing, music listening, etc. I suppose when it comes to that sort of situation again, I have to be willing to be flexible. When I have permitted myself the luxury of time to do such things, it is a-ok to do so. When I am in fact doing several pieces at a time, I will have to allow myself to drop some of these exercises in favor of having the time and brain-space to be thorough with the choreographic work.

Starting to think about practical work, and the theoretics have run off course. I should probably listen....