Okay if you read the title and thought I was going to tell you a ‘walk into a bar’ joke your lawyer took over and you’re half way to understanding my post. As you can see it says ‘brain’ not ‘bar’ above. Now we need the other half, your scientist, to keep going.
I was listening to a neuroscience discussion on the radio as I was driving not too long ago. On it they gave one of the best analogies I’ve heard for how our minds work. They said that are minds are like a lawyer and a scientist. The lawyer defends our opinions, prosecutes others or in some cases of low self-esteem prosecutes ourselves and defends others. The scientist explores and searches for answers or at least explanations.
The problem they said was that we are great lawyers but only fair scientists. We’re much better at defending what we think we know then we are at exploring what we don’t know.
The problem this creates for training is insidious. I will set up a simple drill in a class where the attacker is throwing a jab and the defender is moving outside to a couple of different defensive positions and then tell everyone to try it. At that point the interpretations of what they all thought they saw begin.
As I walk around I ask questions, what’s happening, what were the original instructions, what was the original goal, what was the original attack, which way were we supposed to move, etc…
The answers I get at that point are usually justifications of what the student thought they saw. These are justifications that would make any television lawyer look like an amateur. They’re minds begin to defend what they are doing almost immediately instead of examining the cause and effect of their actions.
When you hear, yourself justifying or defending your actions to questions from the teacher your lawyer is working to defend what you think you know. To progress in this art, you should, for now anyway, calm the lawyer and bring out the scientist. You must explore what you don’t know and the only way to get there is to ask cause and effect questions without judgement.
So, turn in your briefcase full of beliefs, grab a notepad and start experimenting looking for new ideas.