30 hours. And not only is it 30 hours without tics, it’s thirty hours without the urges to have tics. What the eggheads call “The psychogenic itch” has not bothered me for over a day now. No more than it has bothered you.
Will it come back? It might, but how fascinating to sit here and think that maybe it won’t. Maybe this is at an end. And if this is the end of one era, a new one must begin.
Or maybe it will just come back. It’s impossible to say.
Better questions = better answers
How have you done it? What are you doing?
I’m getting these questions a lot, and that’s just fine. The answers I have are not very satisfying to most people, however, because they seem so simple. Also, because they’re not the right questions. Not quite.
The quality of our results, outcomes, and answers, reflects the quality of our questions. Better questions = better answers and room for new hypotheses.
In case you’ve forgotten the scientific method
If your education was anything like mine, you once sat in a classroom watching a plastic bird drinking out of a cup. The bird was probably wearing a jaunty hat. The bird was probably full of liquid. Your task was to figure out why you thought the bird kept drinking the water.
Here’s a breakdown of the Scientific Method
1. Ask or define a question
3. Form a hypothesis
4. Experiment and collect data
5. Analyze data
6. Interpret data and use it to draw a new hypothesis
7. Publish results
I no longer draw conclusions
I no longer say that this caused that. I am not interested in asking whether a bright room “causes” me to have more tics than a dim room. Perhaps causation can be proven, but I don’t believe that we’ll ever know the whole story about this or anything else. I just don’t think it’s possible to know with 100% certainty that something caused something else.
Whether you agree with that or not, please ponder this: how do things change when you think in terms of associations and not causes?
Do things change when you ask “What is this associated with?” rather than “What caused this?” I believe they do. When I began to ask “What am I associating this tic with?” and worked from there, my results improved and never stopped.
Very simple. So simple that it can be ignored and overlooked. So simple that people are already telling me that I’m wrong. Then they try to give me explanations which usually constitute nine polysyllabic words in a sentence of 12.
I spent too long drawing conclusions that weren’t borne out with time. What did this mean for my progress?
Over 20 years of big fat nothing, that’s what. And a smashed-up, snaggle-toothed smile.
If you draw a conclusion and say “well, that’s that,” what happens when you decide (or something forces you to acknowledge) that your entire premise was wrong ? You have to start over. Starting over is not the end of the world, but unlearning is much harder than learning is.
When a conclusion is no longer valid, we must unlearn before making progress again. But when associations don’t bear out, no time is lost. When an association seems to be right or wrong, the next step is to retest and add associations.
It’s just a change of direction, not a return to square one. Not a change of beliefs. Not a violent and emotional break with a cherished ideology. Just changing direction slightly.
That’s a definition of adaptability that makes a lot of sense to me: the ability to change directions.
You might be thinking, “Well, I’m not a scientist, so this has nothing to do with me” And to that, I would say three things that I mean with all my heart:
1. If you care about progress/results/outcomes, you are a scientist
If you have a goal that you are moving towards, then you are taking steps towards it. If you care enough to take those steps, then you are a scientist, because at some level you are running experiments, figuring out if things work, and checking to see if you’re making progress.
2. If you are not getting better, you are getting worse
There is no such thing as breaking even, because the body is always learning. There are no holding patterns or plateaus while we get ourselves together for the next big effort. There is only better and worse.
I’m not the same person I was yesterday. I’m not even the same person I was when I started writing that post. There’s only one point when we quit adapting, and that’s when we’re underground in a box. Even then, movement continues.
3. I can barely add fractions and I still consider myself a scientist
I could crush you in a spelling bee, but you could wave an arithmetic flashcard at me and give me an aneurysm. You are a scientist if you’re trying to better yourself.
“But you haven’t proven anything”
I heard that recently. My response was:
“And?” Then I ate an entire box of Peeps, I was so pleased with myself.
Why should we listen to anything but our results? Our bodies? What feels right? Who cares what the research says? What do one-size-fits-all theories have to do with any of us if they don’t give us the results we want?
Count me out.
I haven’t concluded that research is worthless. It can be invaluable! Only that someone else’s research is definitely not the starting point when I’m the one experiencing something. I want to be the one who decides what the starting premise is, since I’m the one who is most affected by it.
Run your own experiments and you will make yourself happier. And if there is a science to happiness, it is the science of better.
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