Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Power to Effect Change

The chief benefit of “exercise” is not so that when one is feeling great, that they can run a marathon, or climb the highest mountain, but that when one feels they can barely move without great pain and effort, that they can achieve even the slightest evidence that their body is still responsive to the commands of their will. In like manner, a physical therapist will receive the greatest gratification in observing new movement when movement was never witnessed before. That is the power of change, and the ability to effect change, as the situation appropriately demands it.

Thus, I was never so much interested in seeing whether a already formidable athlete (bodybuilder) could add another inch to their arms, or that someone could add another hundred pounds in their bench press, as it is to see somebody who has spent their entire lifetime uninvolved in exercise and athletics, gain the sense of mastery of their movements, after a lifetime of never having given it much thought -- even at an advanced age of 80!

At those ages, whether one “exercises” daily, or even at all, even occasionally, makes the greatest difference -- rather than that a 20 year old is active or not. And then we can work backwards to ensure that everyone has this power to effect such positive change and changes in their lives -- rather than whole classes of society, who feel they have no such power, even and especially in their own lives. We hear such people constantly whining and complaining about what somebody else should be doing for them, without first considering, what they can do for themselves -- which is the greatest power of all, and not how many legions one commands.

Although I’m sure there are those who claim they wake up each day full of energy and raring to run a marathon event or tremendous display without exception, there will be times when even the best, will wonder if they can even rise at all, or move a muscle -- and that is obviously the time and circumstance in which it is most critical to do so -- and have that ability to eventually achieve and attain their fullest functioning abilities.

The proper systematic approach is to try to effect the smallest increment of change at the extremity -- such as moving a finger, rather than to see if one can immediately effect a triple somersault -- and in the process, risking even greater injury and disability -- before one is confident that they are in possession of their fullest faculties, and all systems are “go.”

Once one has achieved that “readiness,” the predisposition is to use it -- and use it effectively and powerfully -- but before then, the gulf between something and nothing is too great to breach before this connection between the brain and the muscle has been minimally and fully activated.

So the first consideration in a program of change, is to consider the smallest unit of effective, meaningful and total responsiveness -- before making the great leap forward, and this systematic approach to doing anything, in its smallest detail, becomes the building blocks for any great undertaking and achievement -- whatever it is.


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