I recently watched the latest (third?) Men in Black film. I turned the TV on one random Sunday evening, it was just on and I got sucked in.
It’s kind of nonsense but it’s a fun film and I’ve loved Will Smith ever since the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Yes, I think I still know all the words to the theme song.
I bet you do too.
So, there’s a part in the film where they are trying to work out how to catch the bad guy and Tommy Lee Jones takes them both to eat pie. Despite Will Smith’s objections.
They sit and have a conversation unrelated to the impending armageddon (something to do with a one armed alien trying to destroy the world) and whilst distracted, Will Smith comes up with the answer and off they dash to save the day with witty one liners and extra terrestrial goo.
You can probably tell that the plot line is kind of hazy in my mind, but the importance of the pie stayed with me.
Skip to last Friday where my sister came over to test out a workshop facilitation she is working on as part of a course she’s doing to teach Mental Health First Aid. She runs a company which teaches paediatric, work place and pet First Aid and this is a new course she will be running (it’s thebridgefirstaid.co.uk to give her a quick plug!)
Creating a facilitation exercise was part of the training and she wanted to try it out. It was a great exercise but I could tell she had been overthinking it. That’s pretty natural when you want to do well.
So I told her she needed pie. I didn’t have any actual pie to hand but we sat and had a cup of tea and I showed her some of my crochet projects and explained a bit about how I made them. The cat helpfully sat with her providing a tactile disctraction whilst we chatted.
After less than an hour of talking mostly nonsense, she went back to try the exercise one more time and found that just taking the break had given her the clarity she needed to work out which bits to cut and which to keep.
The power of Pie!
I proved Pie Power to myself in an exceptionally frivolous way today too.
Last week, when I took my laptop for it’s fatal diagnosis, the guy in the Apple store delivering the bad news was so familiar and I just could not put my finger on why (the formal psychological term for that is “feeling of knowing” by the way).
It’s been driving me nuts ever since. Until tonight when I was lying in savasana (the lazy bit) at the end of my yoga class and it came to me – he was the spit of Gary Neville (or possibly Phil Neville, I never could tell them apart). Anyway, I can rest easy tonight now. All thanks to yogic pie!
I just had to google it. It was Phil, not Gary. Here he is courtesy of Sky News. He looks a lot happier than Leo did when he told my my MacBook was fubar’d.
The point is, pie creates a distraction to allow the subconscious to work on the problem without the conscious mind interfering. Pie could be replaced with going for a walk or rearranging the furniture. Pie reminds us to take a step back. Pie helps us to recognise when we are too close to something. Pie stops us from trying to force things.
Did I mention that pie also tastes goooood!
The past few days I have been thinking about a topic or challenge for this week’s post. I’ve had a busy week of ‘getting shit done’ so I haven’t tried anything new, haven’t read anything new. It’s just been quite a ‘normal’ week and I was concerned that I was letting myself down in my personal growth challenge.
Then it hit me.
Personal development is much more about the small steps which build incrementally to create larger sustainable changes. It’s not just about lots of damascene epiphanies.
Simply realising the importance of taking time out for pie was actually a valuable lesson in itself.
So I got to thinking about some of the other techniques, like pie, which I use when I’m feeling ‘stuck’.
- Get an early night – Sleep is almost always the best answer. Plus it’s been proven that people can actually solve problems in their sleep
- Break it down – smaller chunks are way easier to digest
- Make a list – because lists!
- Touch it, do it – this one is great when you’re feeling unfocused and don’t know where to start with that list
- Set small goals and rewards
- Reframe it – Look at something from someone else’s point of view
- Set a timer and do a brain dump
These are just a few off the top of my head, but these simple techniques are like all the tiny cogs in a machine which ultimately make the big one turn.
James Altucher frequently talks about how if you improve 1% every day at something then this will quickly build up to an exponential improvement. It’s the embodiment of the phrase “little and often”.
So my lesson this week is simply to remember to pay more attention to these slices of wisdom and value the small things which really can make all the difference.
It’s also a great excuse to eat more pie.