Twist or Stick

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Escaping from the limbo-land of indecision

I recently went along to an evening seminar with Robert Dilts called Twist or Stick. He talked about, as in the card game, we are continually faced with choices to either act, or not act. He observed that people may be more prone to ‘twist’, take action, get things done, be proactive. Or, they may be more likely to ‘stick’, hold back, not act, stay cautious.

When viewed objectively, it’s clear that in life, both are necessary. Twisting propels us forward. However, if we are constantly taking action, we run the risk of burning ourselves out. Sticking protects us, it allows time for reflection and keeps us safe. But if we spend our whole life this way, we can limit our potential in the world.

The point here is that we have a choice. Whether we choose to act or not act, there will always be the opportunity to learn, from both our successes and our failures, irrespective of the outcomes.
But what do you do when you don’t know whether to twist or stick? Sometimes, both options are compelling. Sometimes, acting and not acting feel like they have scary consequences. When you’re stuck this kind of limbo-land, it can be hard to decide what to do.

Following Einstein’s principle that you can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created the problem in the first place, Robert took us through three perspectives which together can help you step out of the ‘box of indecisiveness’.

Position 1:  What do you want to do/not do? Why do you want to do it/not do it? What does that feel like?

Position 2: What stops you/compels you to do it/not do it? Why is that? How do you experience that?

Position 3: What is worth taking the risk to either act/not act? When have you taken a risk in the past and how did you experience that?

And finally: What fresh insights does Position 3 bring to Positions 1 and 2 and what does that enable you to do/not do?

Since the seminar, I have decided to twist on a situation that had been paralysing me for some time. I have had the most productive week all year. Beyond taking action – which was a big leap in itself – I realised that I have the choice and that whichever choice I make, I will still be here, time will continue to pass, it will be OK.

Robert finished by quoting a poem called Sometimes, which elegantly offers hope and I hope will encourage you to make a conscious choice in whatever card game you’re playing at this point in your life.

Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.
A people sometimes step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen to you

At Zomi Communications, we design and deliver leadership programmes that inspire people to locate and release their inner excellence. We work with individuals to uncover their own leadership style and apply it to motivate and inspire others. Antoinette offers one to one coaching, for business and individuals.

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