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Home / Articles / Columnists / The 15 Second Principle /  A Mastery Lesson At the Ice Cream Parlor
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Tuesday, July 5,2011

A Mastery Lesson At the Ice Cream Parlor

By Al Secunda  
Belief is no adequate substitute for inner experience.

Carl C. Jung

Whenever we visit a new ice cream parlor, there is a mastery lesson available to us. Upon entering, the first thing that occurs is that our eyes have a field day scanning the colorful ice cream containers. We then try to imagine how wonderful or terrible the new flavors will taste.

However, because it is difficult to make a “tasting” decision based on a visual stimulus, we ask for the brilliant invention referred to as – the taster-spoon. We know that once, our tongue, lips, and pallet are able to taste the ice cream, we will have a real (rather than imagined) sense of whether we want to eat more or less of a specific flavor.

You can’t get wet from the word water. Alan Watts The Taster-Spoon Approach Approaching life in a taster spoon manner also can be very empowering. This will entail first engaging and “experiencing” a project before making a decision about a product or service before making a decision about it.* Here are three examples.

1) Rather than getting psyched out by the idea of writing a novel or screenplay, etc., dare to take one “taster-spoon action” by writing down the first sentence or a possible title. Afterward, get in touch with how your experience was. Was engagement more or less painful than you had imagined? If the experience was not as uncomfortable as you feared, dare to spend a little more time writing one more sentence, and then another, and then another. ( It’s also helpful to remember that even Shakespeare couldn’t write down more than one word at a time - and by quillpen, no less.

*Caution: I am not suggesting that you go out and experience first hand every death defying activity. There are many dangerous things out there that need not be experienced before rejecting them.

(The most amazing thing to know about the writing process is that if you keep showing up, and doing the work by placing one word next to the other -- words will turn into sentences, sentences will expand into paragraphs, paragraphs will grow into pages, and pages will turn into chapters.)

Carl C. Jung

2) Rather than walking past the piano or guitar one more day without playing it, stop and dare to take a Not Ready Action by touching the keys or strings for a few seconds. What was the experience like? How did it feel once again to be touching the wood, ivory, or metal? If your experience was enjoyable, take another “taster-spoon action” by playing a few notes (or tuning one string). Most importantly, rather than judging the sound, speed, and/or perfection, judge how you felt.

3 ) Rather than getting overwhelmed by the thought of going for a long walk or hike, begin by just putting on your jogging shoes. If lightning didn’t strike you, commit to leaving your home and taking just ten steps away from your door. If that wasn’t too painful, take another ten steps, and then another. You will be amazed at how far you will walk -- one step at a time.

By experiencing the very thing that is calling to us the loudest we will be able to challenge our limiting beliefs, thoughts, and patterns. A. S.

Conclusion The more you can apply the taster-spoon principle to your life, the easier it will be to engage in new endeavors and to revisit old passions. It’s interesting to note that Robin Williams, a courageous and gifted performer, describes “risking” as simply the experience of “trying different things.”

By allowing our actual experience, rather than our premature perceptions to be our guide, we will no longer be making prejudgments by letting our eyes or “fear-full” imaginations influence our decisions. Instead, we will be able to discover for ourselves - by touching, tasting, feeling, and smelling - just which thoughts, emotions, and body sensations are real and which are false.

By trusting that the experience is the message, we will gain the mobility to move in different directions and thus become even more creative and adaptable.

It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

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