Unleashing Your Unlimited Potential

 
Moshe Feldenkrais

Moshe Feldenkrais - Credit: H. Czelczok

Moshe Feldenkrais was a groundbreaking teacher of human potential and  mind-body development.

His revolutionary system of mind and body “re-education” for stressed and dysfunctional brains and bodies has achieved miraculous results for thousands around the world.

He has some fascinating insights for anyone interested in achieving all they’re capable of.

He says that there is no difference between “geniuses”—those who seem to have an exceptional ability in a given field—and the rest of us.

They are neither smarter nor or more “gifted.”

They have simply searched for and found (or stumbled upon) a way of doing something that works incredibly well for them.

For example, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the famous philosopher, claims he was a quite ordinary thinker until he came up with this methodology: Whatever he read, he would attempt to present it himself as clearly as possible—as well as the author himself would have liked.

It was only then that he became the great thinker and philosopher whose fame has lived on for centuries.

If you read the biographies of great musicians, painters, writers and even businesspeople, you will often see that they have found and employ very specific ways of working and specific systems that work extremely well for them—allowing them to tap into their unlimited potential to access their subconscious, to remove resistance, and to be far more productive than average.

For example, Mozart wrote music while watching billiard balls bounce around the billiards table to distract his conscious mind. Many writers have rituals around how, when, and where they write, how to get in touch with the reader, and so on.

Feldenkrais says that what keeps most people from fulfilling their potential is simply their own resistance—contradictory motivation that is so habitual as to be no longer even felt.

Once that is cast aside, once we become better managers of our own motivation, action is unhesitating and the impossible becomes possible.

He gives the example of Voltaire, who wrote the classic novel Candide in 11 days—around the time it would take to write out the novel non-stop in longhand.

Dan Kennedy, is extraordinarily respected, successful and productive in many fields:  copywriting, marketing consulting, information publishing, and authoring over a dozen bestselling books.

Yet he’d be the first to tell you that he’s basically lazy and would much rather be in the backyard lying on the hammock.

He’s been able to become one of the most productive and successful marketers on the planet by scheduling ALL his time—from writing for projects to phone calls—and ruthlessly sticking to it.  (Scheduling a call with Dan takes weeks. And if it’s scheduled for Monday between 10:00 and 10:12 am, you can rest assured that you will BE on the phone with Dan at 10:00 and NOT on the phone with Dan when the clock strikes 10:13.)

A few more examples…

Leonardo DaVinci’s voluminous notebooks weren’t just for recording ideas. They were an important part of how he came up and worked his ideas and inventions, and figured out so much about how the world worked.

Jackson Pollock didn’t invent flinging paint on a canvas.  But it was a method that worked for him—for his unique emotional makeup and talents—and it therefore catapulted him to artistic superstardom.

Albert Einstein wasn’t a particularly impressive student and lacked abilities in areas such as mathematics. But what worked for him was cultivating his imagination  and envisioning. So, for example, he developed his theory of relativity by picturing himself riding on a beam of light and watching what happened to time and space.

Marketing genius Jay Abraham uses a well-honed and systematic method of asking very specific questions of himself and others (Socratic questioning) to come up with his brilliant marketing strategies.

And Thomas Edison had a unique and practical method to literally “dream up” his inventions:  He would sit in a chair holding a ball in each hand and allow himself to daydream. Just when he would start to fall asleep, the ball would hit the floor would he would wake him up and he would jot down his ideas.

All these people might well have been quite ordinary in their fields had they not uncovered their unique ways of working. And yet others in those same fields could try the same way of working to no benefit whatsoever.

The key is to find they way that works for you!

What ways have you found to tap your unlimited potential?


39 Responses to “Unleashing Your Unlimited Potential”

  1. This is an inspired and inspiring piece of writing. I’ve always admired the work of Moshe Feldenkrais, but it’s not every day someone puts it into perspective for what it really is – something way beyond mere bodywork, physical therapy or even body/mind integration. Thank you.

  2. Thank you so much, David, for contextualizing the work of Moshe Feldenkrais. He was my teacher extraordinaire–one thing he said to us was “The hardest thing you will ever have to do with this work is talk about it; but until you are able to talk about it you will not really be a Feldenkrais teacher”…
    It seems that you are a Feldenkrais teacher, “whether you want it or not”–you have been able to speak about it in a way that most of us have not! Thank you.
    All the zest, Deborah Lotus, Feldenkrais Teacher

    • Debrah, I was so flattered and moved by your comment. Thank you.

      Just please don’t tell the Guild. I hear they’re bit touchy about unlicensed practitioners. ; )

      I never had the opportunity to study with Dr. Feldenkrais directly, but I’m so grateful for what I’ve learned from him through his books and those to whom he passed on his wisdom.

      David

  3. Julius Verrel says:

    In fact, Einstein excelled in mathematics and other natural sciences in school, source:

    http://www.amnh.org/learn/pd/physical_science/profiles/aeinstein.html

    Besides, I’m sure Mozart was not watching billiard balls all the time while composing.

    I wonder how correct or incorrect the other anecdotes are (e.g., the one of Thomas Edison).

    In spite of my doubts, I like the point of view that our abilities are not pre-determined. On the other hand, I don’t believe that it’s just the matter of finding the right (ideally: simple) trick.

    Best, Julius Verrel

    • Julius, all good points and clarifications. Thanks.

      Perhaps I was remembering Einstein’s quote: “Whatever your problems with mathematics, I assure you, mine are greater.”

      David

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nicola Hughes and Unlimited Potential, Melinda Stonecliffe. Melinda Stonecliffe said: "what keeps most people from fulfilling their potential is simply their own resistance—contradictory motivation… http://fb.me/Nt5REbm8 […]

  5. Ben Johnson says:

    Great post — and Thinking Inside the Box is superb. I’ve gotten a lot of good ideas using it. The anecdote about Mozart’s billiard ball method and Edison’s dream technique made me think of Einstein’s observation that he often got his best ideas while shaving (a task that keeps the conscious mind preoccupied, performed first thing in the morning when dreams are still half-remembered). The number of great writers and philosophers who have followed specific systems is also striking: Descartes lay flat in bed; Victor Hugo wrote on top of a bus; Samuel Johnson in a moving carriage; Trollope in a train; Thackeray said he could only get inspiration while holding a pen; and Agatha Christie planned out her novels while washing the dishes. And then there are the bizarre cases, like German poet and philosopher Friedrich Von Schiller, who reportedly put his feet in ice water and smelled rotten apples… and French writer Jacques Bossuet, who wrapped his head in furs.

    • Thanks, Ben. Glad you enjoyed and got a lot of good ideas form the Think Inside the Box (the Million-Dollar Ideas System).

      Great examples of people findings ways that work for them.

      Best, David

  6. David Zenreich says:

    Just wanted to pop by and say hi.

    Congratulations on the new blog and I absolutely loved this post.

    Studying genius sure is fun.

    Keep them coming!

    -Dave

  7. I really enjoyed your take on accessing subconscious genius. Have you ever heard of Richard Welch, the creator of Mental Photograhy, and the father of developing and reprogramming the subconscious mind? You might find his philosophy and techniques interesting and useful. He teaches how to go beyond reading and directly absorb the printed page into your mind at the rate of one page per second by taking a mental photograph of it. Comprehension exceeds 90% and memory retention is near perfect for life. His work is carried on by Shannon Panzo at the Zox-Pro website. (I don’t make any money from this, but I mention it because it is truly amazing – check it out for yourself).

    • Elliot, Welch’s work looks fascinating. I’m familiar with PhotoReading. Do you know how his work relates to that.

      • David, to answer your question, I will paste a copy of a blog entry from Shannon Panzo’s website, found at:
        http://www.mindtomind.com/wikipedia_amazon_photoreading/
        What the biggest difference seems to be is that in Mental Photography there is no need to “preview” or pre-read and summarize the material nor is there a need to go back afterwards and “activate” what you’ve read. I purchased photoreading because I first of it before learning about Mental Photography (now marketed as Zox-pro). But there is no comparison, except that the names sound alike. Here’s the article from mind to mind:

        “Mental Photography vs. Photoreading

        Some of you may ask how is this different to “Photoreading”? There are many answers to this question, but the best is probably summed up by NASA itself, who performed a study on Photoreading which you can read for yourself at
        http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20000011599_2000009345.pdf

        In January of 2000, Dr. Danielle S. McNamara submitted a preliminary report to the NASA Ames Research Center on photoreading. To conclude the study, McNamara noted that, “In terms of words per minute (wpm) spent reading, there was no difference between normal reading (M = 114 wpm) and PhotoReading (M=112 wpm). So why is it that so many people tout photoreading?” In her conclusion, McNamara states that, “One aspect of the PhotoReading technique is that it leaves the reader with a false sense of confidence.” (Wikipedia, 2008)

        The Brain Management course is much more than reading or speed-reading – it’s a holistic approach to increasing the usage of your wonderful brain. Because Richard Welch’s technology was the first, and the only original, it has stood the test of 30+ years and no such discredit, as above, exist.

        Mental Photography itself enhances the experience of reading. The average reading speed is 250 words per minute (wpm). Mental Photography begins at 25,000 wpm. During the training you are tested on recall at 52,000 wpm. Proficient Mental Photographers show up to 600,000 words per minute with 90% recall (just turning pages). The impact of Mental Photography is 100 times reading something. So if you are an avid reader, it will definitely enhance your experience of reading after you Mentally Photograph the book first. You have barely scratched the surface of what your brain is capable of doing!”

        David, many scientific and university studies have been done documenting these claims of speeds exceeding 600,000 wpm and it works even for dyslexic test subjects because it actually bypasses the “reading” function entirely. You may search for videos on youtube about Richard Welch and you will see these studies on video for yourself.

  8. Patrick Foley says:

    Hi David,

    Great Post. Very interesting!

    Inspiring, this will help me to “get in character” so I can move into “my creative (motivated) zone”.
    (and not feel crazy how I do it: Just get there!)

    Thank you for painting the picture.

    • Thanks for commenting, Patrick.

      Sometimes I think better writers are just better at getting “in character,” as you put it. Whether it’s the character of the author of the letter, the character of the prospect so they can write to themselves, or the character of a terrific persuader and writer.

  9. Patrick Foley says:

    Thank you David,

    I am taking that on board. Hanging off every word.

    By the way, your Special Report – CopyWriting from “A” to “Z” is excellent, I’m heading off to get it “printed and bound” right now so I can have it on hand as I’m writing. Very Useful.

    Cheers

  10. Chris King says:

    David,
    Congratulations on your new blog. I read and enjoyed all of it, even the comments. So great to also see your answers to them. This post was special, and I have had and used “Think Inside the Box” for several years.
    Thanks and a future thanks for you copywriting report – looking forward to it.
    Chris

    • Thanks, Chris. Your comments about my creativity program are especially meaningful coming from someone who clearly loves creativity and lives it as much as your site indicates that you do.

  11. In the early 1990’s I took acting classes with Sonia Moore in NYC. If I remember correctly she had a Feldenkrais teacher come in once a week to work with us.

    Since then I have been meaning to go back and research it in more detail and was even prepared to go to a class on something called “Alba-emoting” which promised to create emotions just by taking on physical postures.

    I never made it to that class but you’ve re-sparked my interest.

  12. How many articles – out of the millions published every day – would compel someone to go right to the top and start again?
    This one did. And few ever do.
    David, a suggestion: if it suits your style, please put a ‘share’ facility on your blog. I use the Apture bar on my blog (http://www.apture.com/). I got the idea from John Carlton’s blog.
    2 methods I picked up, one from ‘A Technique For Producing Ideas’ by James Webb Young I find useful, and combined with the idea of ‘mechanical starting’ from ‘The Magic Of Thinking Big’ by David Schwartz … basically just sit down and start writing … anything! What John C calls “clearing your throat” I think.

  13. David,

    Fantastic to see you in the blogoshpere. I have learned much from you already through the SWS Program and look forward to more posts from you.

    I had not heard of Moshe Feldenkrais and he sounds interesting. Any book you would specifically recommend as an introduction to his works?

    • Thanks, Craig.

      I’d start with Awareness Through Movement. But take a look on Amazon and see which ones resonate with you. Some are more physical and practical, others are more theoretical and focus on the mental aspects, like The Potent Self, which the one that inspired this post. Let me know your big ah-ha’s.

  14. Hi David,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post and found it to be very profound and inspiring.

    I am another one who had not heard of Moshe Feldenkrais, so thank you for bringing him ot notice … I look forward to finding out more about him. In fact have just Googled and there is a lot of information there alone.

    Thank you David for sharing … :)

  15. Loved the story about Edison in particular–so brilliant, to be able to capture the dream-space. I’m often frustrated by the way I often wake up remembering my dream, but by the time I go to my dreamlog (not very far away) all or most of it is gone. Putting it right by my bed won’t work because I’d wake up my wife if I turned on the light to write. I have it ten feet away in the master bathroom.

    I worked with a very good Feldenkrais practitioner for a while, and currently work with a deeply skilled Alexander technique teacher (a similar approach–I believe Feldenkrais was familiar with Alexander work). Both have been enormously helpful.

    Shel Horowitz, primary author, Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green

    • Shel, I’m also fascinated by the ephemeralness of dreams. I’m told that movement makes them go quicker. If the light wakes your wife, you might try dictating softly into a digital recorder by your bed.

      It’s amazing, isn’t it, to read the dreams from a few weeks ago and see that you have no memory of this incredible movie you wrote, produced, cast, directed, and starred in in your brain.

  16. Mark McClure says:

    Activities that create a light trance state are often helpful to mull over problems and creative challenges e.g. TV (with the sound down real low!)and going for a walk or easy run.

  17. Kevin says:

    Have you tried out Zox Pro? Does it live up its claims?

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