Today while throwing a frisbee with a good friend, I realised how difficult making the right changes can be. Even in something seemingly as simple as tossing a circular bit of plastic back and forth, there are so many variables that change how it flies. The same goes for other areas of our life too. If we’re not sleeping well, there might be more at play than simply going to bed and getting up at the right times.
Back to throwing a frisbee. For the better part of the last fifteen years I have spent a decent portion of each week intentionally trying to improve my throwing technique. There is a lot I have taught myself through trial and error, but some things I needed to be told or shown by others because of the sometimes almost imperceptible alterations I would never have figured out. Some things require only minor corrections, while others will require a complete overhaul. Changing the angle of the disc to account for the wind, flicking the wrist and arm to impart maximum spin, engaging core muscles to put body rotational momentum into the throw, footwork, using the non-throwing hand to stabilise the disc, looking at the target…
And that’s not a complete list of things that can affect how close our actual throw is to what we intended! Over time I have worked at many things, sometimes one at a time and sometimes multiple, until my subconscious can make necessary subtle changes itself. My friend mentioned there are so many things to think about that sometimes we work on one, get it to a good stage, and then move onto a different thing, before embedding proper technique in our memory. Enthusiasm and trial and error will only get us so far if we don’t have the right information to enact the changes we need to.
Offering advice to my friend was a great learning experience for me, as any learning session is – whether I am the student, teacher, or flipping between both. While explaining things out loud I hear how useful they are to my own throwing technique. Or I hear inconsistencies in what I’m explaining which can make something more difficult to understand than it needs to be.
Then there are the things we can’t control. The most brutal of these when trying to throw a frisbee is the wind. Sometimes every aspect of our technique can be close to perfect, but the wind simply says “no.” When it comes to wind and other uncontrollable factors, we can only practice as best we can to deal with them when it’s around.
Sleeping patterns. This is something I am trying to adjust in my life at the moment. I am sleeping just enough to be able to function competently at work, have the energy to edit my book, play ultimate, and do some body maintenance outside of that i.e. yoga and rehabilitation for sore muscles.
I failed at sleeping enough last night. I think I might even have only had about four and a half hours sleep. Not for lack of trying. It just happened to be one of those nights I lay in bed and my mind wouldn’t switch off. Happens fewer nights of the month than it used to which I am thankful for.
What can I control? I can eat dinner earlier, start my bedtime routine early, turn screens off early, and get into bed ready to sleep.
What am I unable to control? The temperature outside, whether my mind will switch off quickly or slowly (to an extent), whether I sleep all the way through the night, loud cars and humans outside our central city windows.
How do I keep moving my sleeping patterns in the right direction? Make the right decisions more often than making the wrong ones.
On that note, good night dear friends, and I will see all you wonderful people in the next post.
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Do you ever find yourself focussing on incoming emotion rather than information?
How can you hone in on what helps you, rather than lamenting what doesn’t? (This is one of my big work-ons this year!)
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I hope you have a wonderful sleep whenever you get there, dear readers.