How to Be Right

How to Be Right


Is being RIGHT so bad? I have spent a lifetime wanting to be right all the time. I have been applauded for being right in school, “You’re right! You got an A!” Sometimes people go even further and call me ‘smart’ for being right.  And I totally feel good!  I feel all warm and validated inside.  Further than that, I have been scolded and shamed for being wrong, “You don’t get it.”  “What’s wrong with you?”

We are commended for being right, and humiliated for being wrong.  No wonder it is so difficult to try to be anything but right. And then we end up looking like this:


The problem I have discovered for myself–is whenever I try to be right–I am unsuccessful.  It is not a recipe for success for me.  More often than not, it blows up in my face, or makes me cold and boring.  I also cannot try to be right and enjoy myself at the same time.  It doesn’t work.  When I am teaching or acting, I am a lot less interesting when I am trying to get it right.  This goes for my home life too.  When I am trying to get things done, I am coldly efficient–and hating the moment. 

It’s quite a trendy thing to be wrong, to be willing to fail “because it’s good for you.”–and I’m into it.  But I’m into it for different reasons.  I am into ‘being a little messy–like salt and pepper messy’ not because it’s good for me, but because it makes me better at whatever I want to be better at–and BONUS! It’s way more fun!

Alexander teachers can fall into the perfectionist thinking just like everyone else.  We often are trying to teach a better way to move–even a better way to live–and we can be as guilty as anyone else in falling into the trap of ‘rightness.’

But what if we looked at ‘how we get to right?’  Can we change our focus off the ‘rightness’ which seems to be so socially ingrained anyway, and can we be more open, more whole, dare I say, more messy as we walk towards rightness?  We don’t have to give up the goal–just thinking about it constantly.


Artists talk about this in terms of focusing on the process as opposed to the end painting.

Professional athletes talk about this as being ‘in the zone.’

Psychologists are studying this and calling it entering a ‘state of Flow.’

Can the road we take to the goal be more interesting to us than the end result?  It’s really hard–and this is hardly a new thought, but I think it can be done quite simply. 

So if people who study professional actors, painters, athletes, speakers, builders, and meditators are so interested in how to get into a state of flow, why can’t we all learn and benefit from it?

**News Flash**, us weird Alexander Folk have been deeply interested in this state of Flow for many decades!  We call it learning how to live in the ‘means whereby…”

Sorry, Lena I just blacked out, what did you say?

When I originally read “the means whereby” I was like, “What? What are you saying to me?”  Is that English? I still have to slow down my thought and translate it.  So here is my personal translation:

Most of us live life in ‘Get it Done Mode.”  F.M Alexander called it “End-Gaining.” In End-Gaining, you try to Gain the end, and you stay focused on the Goal. I call it “Get it Done Mode” because that is what it feels like for me. I could also call it, “When I’m trying to be Right”.

The opposite of that is paying attention to “HOW” you are getting the goal.  Not the goal itself.

Here is what I do, and what I instruct my students to do:

  1. Slow Down whatever you are doing.
  2. Do it messier. (Cause if you don’t, you’ll just do it slower and even more carefully)
  3. Have fun while you do it.
  4. Soften your head/neck and get loosy-goosy.
  5. Then take 1 baby step forwards towards your Goal while you are Loosy-Goosy.


If you just can’t give up the Perfectionist Tendency–don’t worry about it! Just re-focus it like this:

“I’m going to try to be perfect about slowing down, being messy and literally loose and I’m going to play with (said Activity)___________________.”  Then do the activity and the ones after that one refreshing those same thoughts.

Let me know how it goes? How can I help?




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