A Doorknob Practice for Self-Engagement

Do you ever feel psyched out, stuck in worried preoccupation, or just completely disengaged and wanting to be somewhere else? What do you do when you’re caught up in the “mental claustrophobia” of an unproductive state of mind and you’re having trouble getting out of it? Do you have practices that help you reconnect with your more expansive, unencumbered frame of mind, so you can proceed at your best?

Here’s a technique that works for me when I need to re-engage myself; when I need to change my attitude, in the moment, on the spot 

Techniques like this have to be simple and readily available. This one’s called Doorknob Practice.

A doorknob has a shape, a texture, a temperature, a quality of movement, a sound as it operates. It has a feel in your hand. It has a feel in your mind.

When you handle a doorknob, you can use that moment as a small but complete attitude management practice for yourself. First, let the doorknob hold your attention. Let it hold the participation of all your senses for the moment you touch it. Allow the various sensations you experience to cut through whatever preoccupation you may be stuck in. Let your attention shift to your sensations, away from your thoughts. Then let this shift help you turn your attention from the knob to the whole room and everything in it is as you enter. Let this expanding shift in your attention help you rediscover a more expansive, unencumbered state of mind as you turn the knob and enter the room. The whole process happens in a moment, on the spot.

These days doorknobs are not as plentiful as they used to be. If it’s a crash bar or a metal push plate, the same approach can still work. Stop for a moment and connect with the physical sensations of opening the door and entering. Every time you do this, it can help you enter with a more panoramic state of mind.

It’s not just doorknobs you can do this with. Any physical sensation will do. In the middle of a meeting, lay your hand flat on a table. Feel the table and feel the muscles extending your fingers. If the air conditioning comes on, listen to the noise it makes for a moment. Really listen to it. You won’t lose track of the conversation. You will make more room in your mind for listening.

In training yourself to shift your attitude on the spot, physical sensations are a powerful ally. What other ways can you do this?

To speak with Crane about support for your organization’s performance development, or for personal performance coaching, please call him at (902) 240-5904, or click here.
Doorknob drawing by Syndey Smith