Recently, at a party, a friend organized us into groups and asked us to do 6 different types of exercises. Once the groups had found themselves, he started sharing the instructions. We all listened with more or probably less attention. Even though he is very experienced none of the groups performed the exercises exactly as described.
There was simplicity in stepping in, trying things out, and seeing how things worked.
The instructions we had received didn’t need a lot of precision. Our experience allowed us to make enough sense of them to decide what we wanted to do with these exercises. In essence, everyone became playful about the competition and enjoyed the contact with others that was enabled by the game. And while this was the most important aspect of the game, it was never part of the instructions. It was a choice people could make and depended on how they stepped in.
The simplicity of the instructions was adapted to the situation and the desired outcome.
Something quite different is a situation in which the instructions need to go into more detail to make the exercise accessible.
Often that is where the challenge starts. If one even takes it up.
If it is a physical exercise, this will, for example, mean demonstrating the exercise as well as explaining it. Adding descriptions of the hoped-for outcome in terms of sensations, people will find it easier to execute it and to sense how they may need to adapt their execution to meet the instructions.
Knowing what to do isn’t enough. Knowing how to do something might not be enough either. Adding details on how the execution is experienced transforms the student’s ability to engage in the exercise.
But, this only works for some types of instructions. In other cases, the work may sit in realizing how impossible it is to use instructions to help others achieve a desired result.
Be bold, be courageous, be kind, let go, engage deeply in the task, concentrate, are just a small list of instructions that either translate very differently from individual to individual or that can’t be understood because the experience has not yet been made.