Rapid Learning Through Pressure
A powerful way to navigate change initiatives, either personally or in your project team, is the three-step ‘Rapid Learning’ process. The purpose of Rapid Learning is to optimally liberate the resources of group intelligence.
Recently we have discovered that there are two forms of Rapid Learning, the original Rapid Learning Through Pressure, and a new form, Rapid Learning Through Vacuum. Both forms are useful in their proper place. First we’ll learn the pressure form.
Then we’ll learn the vacuum form.
STEP 1: Planning is insufficient. So, Go!
Rapid Learning invites you to skip most of your pre-planning efforts and start immediately with trying something. That is why STEP 1 in Rapid Learning is Go!
Think about what often happens to your carefully-made plans the moment you actually take an action… Right! Your plans no longer apply! This is because whatever tiny first action you make changes the circumstances in ways that cannot be predicted during the planning stages.
Your extravagant planning efforts may, in fact, be a stalling maneuver. It could be that trying to plan out everything wastes both time and energy, and pushes your nervous system towards depression and burnout because you try not to be where you are: at a place where it is time to take action even if you have no plans. Trying not to be where you are contributes to burnout by making efforts that do not correspond to reality. It’s like using a lever inside of your house to try to move a rock that is outside in the woods. Instead of making an effort to jump into life you hold back trying to figure everything out beforehand. Can anyone ever figure everything out perfectly? (No.) As Isaac Asimov asserted, “To succeed, planning alone is insufficient. One must improvise as well.”005
By explaining all this I am NOT saying, “Don’t plan.”
I am merely saying, “Consider that your efforts to plan may be neurotic fear-driven procrastination in disguise… trying to make something safe that cannot possibly be made safe. Action is inherently evolutionary because doing anything changes everything. Instead of surrounding yourself with followers who expect you to tell them what to do to follow your plan correctly, surround yourself with inspired edgeworkers who do experiments and share mistakes as valuable intellectual capital.”
You can’t navigate the future until you are in the future, so what about just making the moves that need to be made now? Each move creates new circumstances that inform the wisdom of your next move.
Did you ever plan to Go!, read books about how to Go!, wish to Go!, feel jealous about others who Go!, make up really good explanations for why you are not Go!ing… but you don’t Go!? This is called being stuck at Go!
Were you ever stuck at Go!? (Yes.)
Being stuck at Go! is your soul hiding out.
In other words, “Depression is hibernating spirit.”004
STEP 2: Pressure Arrives: Beep!
It is easy to imagine that by not Go!ing you can avoid STEP 2 in Rapid Learning Through Pressure, which is to receive Feedback!
Hesitating as a strategy to avoid feedback is hilarious because the whole Universe is a gigantic feedback generator. You get feedback whether you Go! or Stay! So why not do what you really want?
It can make you far more enthusiastic about asking for feedback if you recognize that there are only two kinds of feedback you could possibly receive. The first kind is Go! This means that what you tried is working, so keep going: return to Go! and Go! again.
That may be shocking. If you have invested everything in your efforts and made a gigantic push to Go! and you succeed, then what you might most want to do at that point is back-off and take a holiday. But if – contrary to your wishes – everyone around you says. “Keep going!”, then Go! may be the most challenging kind of feedback to receive! Did this ever happen to you? (Yes.)
The second kind of feedback you can be given is Beep! which simply means that what you tried does not work very well. The results could be better. A Beep! suggests that it might be worth trying something different.
If you went to school, one of the first things you learned is that Beep!s are bad. A Beep! invokes that sinking feeling in your belly when the teacher calls out your name to answer a question. Sadly, one of the biggest take-homes from school is the terror of being Beep!ed. We learn to lie, cheat, and steal anything to avoid being Beep!ed.
If you receive a Beep! and you have the thoughtware wired up in your mind that Beep!s are bad, then you easily fall into the Beep! Swamp, notoriously full of dead floating fish, five hundred years of stinking frog-poop, and leeches… those blood-sucking worms… Leeches are the parasitic voices murmuring stories directly into your brain such as, “I’ll never make it. I’m not good enough. I’m a slob. I am worthless. Nobody loves me. I’m too stupid. I’m too fat and ugly. There is no room for me here. This wasn’t worth it. They have abandoned me. They make it and I don’t. It’s not fair. They don’t see me. Who do those assholes think they are anyway, to give ME feedback! Look at their life!” Please write your three most familiar life-sucking vampire voices here:
The voices are life-sucking because if you listen to them, if you believe they are true – even to a small degree, even for a second – if you give legitimacy to even one deprecating or arrogance-inducing voice in your world, then you have transferred your authority over to an external source: the voice. Without your own authority how can YOU live?
Clarity gives you power. If you hear a voice, you are in the Swamp. This is useful information. A voice either criticizes or praises you or others. Even one voice signals that you are definitely in the swamp! That is your “X” on the map. Understanding that when you hear a voice in your head you are in the Beep! Swamp is so effective it can seem magical. The magic is that through taking responsibility for being where you are you create the possibility of being somewhere else!
But when you fall into the Beep! Swamp and you want to get out of it, what should you do? How can you get out… assuming, perhaps naively, that you actually do want to get out… which may be a false assumption… Perhaps you would rather stay in the Beep! Swamp for a while longer.
After all, it is soooo familiar.
It may feel self-destructive, but if self-destruction is familiar then you are right at home!
You may even feel powerful in the Beep! Swamp because you get to righteously complain, blame other people, justify yourself, make excuses, make intrigue, be resentful, and paddle around in Beep! Swamp slime writhing in a Poor Me orgy… something you may have grown quite fond of in a perverse sort of way... Maybe you know someone who does this?
But just in case you do want to get out of the Beep! Swamp… I’ll tell you how: First, admit that you are in the Beep! Swamp. Upon detecting a voice you say to yourself, “Hey! It’s one of those vampire voices! I am in the Beep! Swamp! I must have gotten a Beep!”
Take a deep breath, collect your wits, go immediately back to the friend or enemy who gave you the Beep!, look them straight in the eyes, and with no undertones in your voice, say, “Thanks for the feedback.”
No further conversation needed. Suddenly you are back in the Rapid Learning cycle. Use the details of the Beep! as a precise description for which behavior to change to get better results. A Beep! is a design suggestion for intelligent re-iteration.
STEP 3: Move Your Point of Origin: Shift!
This takes you to STEP 3 in Rapid Learning Through Pressure: Shift!
Shift! means to move your ‘point-of-origin’ – the place from which you are perceiving and deciding things. Shift your interpretations, your plan, your criteria for success, your posture, your focus of attention, your purpose, your velocity of delivery, your intention, your attitude, your intention, your tone of voice...
Shift! something! Anything! Try something completely different.
Here is a fascinating thoughtware upgrade to replace the old thoughtware you might still be implementing from your school days.
STANDARD THOUGHTWARE: A Beep! is an embarrassing sign of stupidity.
UPGRADED THOUGHTWARE: A Beep! is a strategy redesign proposal.
Your Shift! brings you back to Go! where you immediately implement your new behavior in your next try.
This is Rapid Learning.
Get your Feedback.
If the Feedback is Go! say, “Thanks for the feedback,” and keep Go!ing.
If the Feedback is Beep! say, “Thanks for the feedback,” and use the Beep! to Shift! your starting point, your style, your rules about how to behave.
Be sure to Shift! both inside (attitude, old conclusion, story, opinion) as well as outside (timing, tone, gesture, focus, etc.).
Then Go! again.
Go! Feedback! Shift! Go! You will be using this simple powerful learning procedure for the rest of this book – perhaps the rest of your life!
Thanks for the feedback!
By the way, saying, “Thanks for the feedback,” when you get a Go! with the same level of sincerity as when you say, “Thanks for the feedback,” when you receive a Beep! makes you reliable to receive positive feedback. If you receive positive feedback as a compliment or as praise, then people must avoid giving you positive feedback for fear you will merely use it to feed your ego rather than using it to confirm your creativity. Positive feedback is also just feedback, useful info.
Did you ever Go! and get Beep!ed, and Go! again and get Beep!ed again, and then Go! again and you keep getting the same Beep!s? (Yes.) This is simply because you forgot STEP 3 of Rapid Learning: Shift!
You gotta Shift! baby! Shift! Try something else! Anything else!
Unless you try something different you will stay stuck in a rut, duplicating what already isn’t working! As you may have heard: the only difference between a rut and a grave is their length. Rather than behaving as creatively as a corpse you might want to Shift! and Go!
The magnificent value of Rapid Learning Through Pressure is that it derives maximum benefit from the intelligences of whoever is on your formal or informal feedback team. This does not have to be people you like. It is simply people who notice what you are doing and have ideas about it. By bringing immediate, direct, ruthlessly-honest feedback and coaching into your team’s context, you create the option of choosing to radically rely on feedback and coaching. Then, when you want to accomplish something – anything – all you have to do is Go! while keeping one ear open listening for feedback and coaching from your Rapid Learning team.
If you live in gameworlds that have feedback and coaching woven into their context, IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU TRY. As soon as you are in motion your team will more-or-less impartially see how you are doing compared to your stated objectives and will immediately provide you with course-correction details. This is a service you can ongoingly provide for each other to optimize group intelligence. By radically relying on the Beep!s and Go!s from an empowered feedback-and-coaching team there is nowhere you can’t go.
Certainly, some of the feedback you receive may be projections, jealousy, competition, misunderstandings, fear-based arrogance, revenge, or manipulation. But if you estimate that 80% of the feedback you receive is pure gold, you can let the other 20% roll past you like water off the back of a duck.
Suddenly you stop avoiding people’s feedback and coaching. Instead there arises a deep longing to be connected in to a greater wisdom and you find yourself approaching people, maybe even strangers, maybe even your enemies… and saying, “Could you please give me feedback about _________.” You may have heard that two heads are better than one! But wait until you try thirteen heads!
Your team’s feedback may not give you the shortest path to your goal because they are not perfectly-wise Beings. But they don’t have to be… and besides, there aren’t any perfectly wise Beings. The feedback and coaching simply needs to be safe-enough-to-try and good-enough-for-now. If your project is something that has never been done before (which is quite likely these days…) the optimal path to a valuable outcome is unknown. So just start and rapidly learn as you go.
If anyone ever asked you to give them feedback and coaching, you know from your own experience of giving feedback and coaching that your own support team is not bored. When you ask them for feedback and coaching, each person’s full-band-width intelligence is thoroughly called into action through ‘parallel play’ – everyone creating value at the same time. Each coach invents and communicates original clarity and possibilities for you, which keeps them in a state of ecstasy, because 5 Body-creating often feels like being in love!
How to receive feedback?
There are 4 answers to that question:
1. Get so much feedback...
... that you start experiencing directly the value of it.
Get yourself in a space where you will get so much feedback that you will start experiencing directly, in the moment, the value of feedback. One such space is a 4 or 5-day Expand The Box Training.
During Expand The Box, each new thoughtmap is integrated through exercises and practices that provide you with different kind of feedback in all your 5 bodies (physical, intellectual, emotional, energetic, and archetypal).
2. There is a treasure...
... feedback is your way there.
There is a treasure and your longing is to find it. The treasure is aliveness, connection, vitality, peace of soul, joy, love, freedom, fulfillment, fun, etc... The treasure is somewhere and you are somewhere else. You are where you are. How can you find first, where you are, and second, your way to the treasure? The answer is with feedback and coaching.
Feedback gives you your 'x' on the map. Where you get feedback, it is where you are. This is great news! Because how can you go anywhere if you don't know where you are?
After you 'Shift!' and 'Go!' again (and try something else), the feedback will keep informing you if you are getting close to the treasure or if you are moving farther way from it. It works like the children's game where one person is blinded and their friends guide them to the treasure by shouting 'Hotter! Hotter! Hotter!' or 'Colder! Colder! Colder!'. Hotter = Go!, Colder = Beep! That's all.
The proposal is to change your relationship to feedback from feedback = attack to feedback = treasure.
3. Not all feedback is accurate feedback
There is no good or bad feedback. There is only accurate or inaccurate feedback.
It is useful to know that not all feedback is accurate. On average, from our experience, about 75% of all feedback you get is accurate, and 25% is inaccurate. Inaccurate feedback comes from projections, people expecting you or wanting you to be someone else than who you really are, their fear of what you are, etc...
4. Be authentically curious about the possible wisdom in where the feedback comes from in that person...
Instead of reacting, be curious.
If someone takes the time, energy and attention to give you feedback, they do it because somewhere they care about you. They want you interaction to be different. If they didn't care, they wouldn't make the efforts to talk to you.
With that clarity, make a vacuum for them to say more about what they want, what they are longing for in your relationship. Ask authentically curious questions such as: 'Can you say more about this?', 'What are you longing for?', 'What would you like instead?' 'I really want to hear what this about for you. I am listening.'
You might be surprise about the space of intimacy you can create when making a vacuum in response to a Pressure Rapid Learning feedback instead of reacting.
Feedback and Coaching
STANDARD THOUGHTWARE FOR FEEDBACK
Feedback is to be avoided because it is judgmental, critical, blaming, a put-down, negative, attacking, insulting, hurtful, destructive, arrogant, aggressive, and discouraging.
UPGRADED THOUGHTWARE FOR FEEDBACK:
Feedback is information about the past.
It is a simple report about what happened, what worked, and what did not work from that person’s perspective.
STANDARD THOUGHTWARE FOR COACHING
Coaching is to be avoided because it is manipulative, corrective, dominating, motivational “Rah! Rah!," sports metaphors, opinions about “You should!” “You must!” it forces you to adapt to external authority, and creates dependency on the coach.
UPGRADED THOUGHTWARE FOR COACHING
Coaching is possibilities about the future.
It is one or more distinctions that create clarity about exactly what to try next to get better results.
Here are workable coaching distinctions: “If you speak in the third person and say ‘you’ or ‘one’ instead of ‘I’ your communication is far less personal and less powerful. When you make ‘I statements’ listeners can feel your own commitment to what you say and can connect to you better.”
Coaching is a distinction combined with a proposal.
Possibility Management recommends that you regularly coach-your-coach by giving them feedback and coaching about their feedback and coaching to you!
EXPERIMENT GOBEEPGO.01: RAPID LEARNING THROUGH PRESSURE
(Great for Possibility Team)
Did you ever sense that you had valuable feedback and coaching for someone but did not give it to them? (Yes.) If someone else had valuable feedback and coaching for you would you want them to withhold that from you? (Probably not, even if it is painful to hear at first.) With a bit of practice, a full feedback and coaching session takes less than three minutes. To not exchange team feedback and coaching is an appalling waste of group intelligence. This EXPERIMENT is to shift the context of the various teams you live, work, learn, and play in so the teams include feedback and coaching to harvest and apply the natural treasures of group intelligence for mutual support.
How can you shift a team? People have come together in a framework that may have been long-ago established with a culture that probably prohibited freely exchanging feedback and coaching. Any changes in the group’s context or rules-of-engagement may be upsetting. This is all true. Yet, so what? If nobody intentionally shifts the contexts you are in, the contexts will not shift. Think about your family reunions, your partner relationship, your work place, your friend gatherings, your neighborhood, your political party, your sports team… do you, or do you not want to receive the feedback and coaching from the deep wisdom of so many amazing people you spend your life’s time with? This is a decision only you can make. If your answer is, “No, I don’t want their support,” then skip this experiment. But if your answer is, “Yes, I want to receive their support,” then over the next few months you already have people with whom you can try out everything you learn while reading this book!
The EXPERIMENT is to one-at-a time shift the context of your various meetings, relationships, encounters, and get-togethers so that an abundance of empowering feedback and coaching is exchanged for the mutual enrichment of each person. The most amazing way to do this is to continually ask for and visibly benefit from the personal feedback and coaching of the others. DO NOT offer your feedback and coaching to others, and, DO NOT try to force other people to give each other feedback and coaching. Instead, each time you come together, earnestly request one or more people to give you feedback and coaching about the most crucial, exciting, authentic, and delicate places where you want to upgrade the quality of your life. Ask about health issues, finances, communication skills, intimacy navigation skills, emotions, inner understandings, getting along better, being wealthier, how to evolve, how to have more courage, and so on. Ask in front of the others and let them see you write down in your Beep! Book what your newly-crafted coach tells you. Let them see you immediately Shift! and implement the new possibilities. Have a blast with your experimenting! Ask more than one person about the same issue. Do not argue at all with what they say. Do not explain why you cannot do what they propose. Instead say, “Thanks for the feedback.” You are surrounded all the time by walking treasure chests of experience, resources, and possibilities. Other people ignore these free prizes. So what? You don’t have to! (NOTE: Make sure you write down exactly what your coach says, NOT what you understood them to say. Don’t condense meanings or change wordings. Check with the speaker to verify that what you wrote is word-for-word what they said. Often you won’t understand their most important feedback and coaching at first. That makes sense, doesn’t it? They are opening up new opportunities for you that you could not see before. Their ideas put new neural pathways into your brain. Those ideas might seem strange at first.) Take risks. Trying new stuff feels scary. Fear is the spicy part of excitement. Try out new behaviors for real, perhaps even while the coach can further coach you in action. (It might be helpful now and then to explain why you are so enthusiastic about the difference between the standard thoughtware of both feedback and coaching and the upgraded thoughtware so people understand the differences.) By you continuously requesting, receiving, implementing, benefiting from, and expressing gratitude for the feedback and coaching you get from your teams of friends and connections it won’t be long before someone else starts asking for feedback and coaching from you in return. Then the tsunami of context-shift begins!
EXPERIMENT GOBEEPGO.02: DO-OVERS
(Great for Possibility Team)
Modern culture tries to isolate us into the maximum number of consumer units. Not even nuclear families provide enough consumers to feed the economic monster these days. Today, through media and economic attacks, nuclear families are being broken down into lone-wolf single-fighter individuals, bachelors and single-moms, each with their own refrigerator, blender, automobile, TV, sound system, dishwasher, and microwave-oven. It is revolutionary to live together with a team whom you can evolve with. One way to experiment with this is to bring together a Possibility Team and meet weekly. See if you can break with modern culture’s customs and lean into your team like a surfer leans into a wave. Without the waves there is no surfing! Surfing the challenges and opportunities that arise in your Possibility Team makes you a better life surfer. Soon you will wonder how you ever lived without each other. One skill to learn together is to ask for Do-Overs. In Possibility Management you can have as many Do-Overs as you want. If you try something and the outcome is not ideal, immediately say, “I would like to have a Do-Over.” Ask for feedback and coaching. Write it down in your Beep! Book. Choose your new strategy. Shift! your starting orientation to use the feedback and coaching you received, then return to the very beginning of the interaction as if this was your first try, and Go! again. Navigating new territory becomes rapidly more elegant after five or seven Do-Overs in a row. Rely on the feedback and coaching from your team while you practice Do-Overs on stage together. Do at least one Do-Over each day, even in small things, until asking for Do-Overs feels like a warm candle-light bath with mangos.
Go! Feedback! Shift! Go! This is Rapid Learning Through Pressure. Mistakes are the milestones along your path. Next comes the Rapid Learning Through Vacuum.
EXPERIMENT GOBEEPGO.04: BECOME A BEEP! HUNTER
(Great for Possibility Team)
Getting a Beep! is an indicator that whatever you usually try is not working right. Getting a Beep! is a fabulous sign that you are at the edge of your comfort zone, or your Box. Modern culture has taught us that Beep! equals bad. When we receive a Beep! it feels like dying, because it becomes obvious that we don't know and that we didn't know that we don't know. Transformation and healing only happens at the edge. You cannot transform and look good. You need to find the edge before you have a chance to change.
When becoming a Beep! Hunter, your job becomes to find out and go where the edge is and not where it is not. How do you become a Beep! Hunter?
Two or three times a day until you've received 50 Beeps!, do something with the express purpose of getting a Beep!
Warning: Don’t hurt yourself and don’t hurt anybody else. This is not about letting your unconscious Gremlin loose so you can attract negative attention. This is about changing your relationship to Beep! from 'it should be avoided at all cost' to 'Beep!s are gold for my next transformational step'.
Each time you get a Beep!, grab your Beep! Book and write down at what point exactly you got the Beep!, what worked and what didn’t.
Continue this experiment until you have gotten 50 Beep!s.
This is an example for how an entry into your Beep! Book could look like.
“Experiment: Writing experiments.
Date: Wed, 27 May 2020.
Beep!s: Taking leaps and skipping implied steps. Relying on context that was set outside the experiment. Listening to the voices that told me I was being presumptuous.
Go!s: Setting a hard limit for the end of the experiment. Shooting the voices that said the experiment had to be perfect to send it in for feedback and coaching.”