- Thoughts for inspired living

March 11, 2009

The Clutch

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:37 am

There are clutch handbags, clutch performers (those who have a knack for performing their best when the stakes are high), and the physical clutch you use in a car to change gears.

The Clutch is a technique you can put in your bag, clutch or otherwise, to use when the stakes are high, so you change into a gear that gets you out of your rear.

We have been conditioned to ride around in one gear for most of our lives. Our patterns of behavior are stuck in gear. You may eventually get to where you want to go but the pace is very slow.

Enter The Clutch.

The Clutch is a combination of recognition and action – recognition of the pattern and specific steps to engage in a new gear.

Before we apply The Clutch, let’s look at some case histories where it would be helpful.

There is Casper M. who spends his whole life keeping his feet up. He wants to do otherwise, but something won’t let him put his foot down. Casper seeks counseling for his inability, and his counselor aptly points out that it takes more effort to keep your foot up than it does to put it down. Casper readily agrees with the logic but can’t seem to drop the other shoe.

Next we have Righteous Rachel. Her difficulty is she has a bagful of beliefs that she has no evidence for. She foists them on anyone within her presence and when others don’t adhere to her tenets, they become the enemy and are plain wrong. Her counselor gets her to see that the cause of her problems is she, but she keeps putting her foot down.

Left unchecked, Casper’s behavior will change at the most inopportune time. He will blow up and come down with both feet. He will appear crazed and out of character and people will judge him harshly.

Rachel, left unchecked, will continue to alienate almost everyone she comes in contact with and not be able to figure out why she winds up lonely and alone.

Enter The Clutch.

It’s elementary that you must recognize a behavior, while it’s happening, in order to have the best opportunity of outgrowing it. Let’s pretend that Casper begins to notice tightness in his stomach every time he runs into someone like Rachel. He knows that’s his conditioned signal to keep his feet up. Now that he recognizes the signal, that’s when he’s learned to depress the clutch. The clutch takes him out of the gear he was in.

It’s the shift to a new gear that is the next step.

There is an appropriate gear for appropriate circumstances. Just shifting into the next gear may be the norm, but Casper’s case calls for something other than the next gear. Casper begins to notice that when he depresses the clutch that he has many options for the next gear he selects. His job, in this case, is to select one that he doesn’t normally use and see what happens. He already knows what will happen if he selects the next gear. His tightness will continue and he’ll continue to walk through life like he’s stepping on eggshells.

The new gear will open him to speeds he’s never explored. It may be unfamiliar at first, but with a little practice, Casper gets the hang of shifting gears and putting his foot on the gas rather than the brake.

Rachel’s recognition begins when she starts to notice that the feedback she’s getting isn’t working. This is her signal to throw in the clutch. She has been oblivious to other’s feedback in the past because her focus was totally on her. With this new clutch awareness, she immediately recognizes that her normal strategy isn’t working and discovers a wide choice of gears.

She selects one that she normally doesn’t use and pays attention to the outcome. The new gear helps her remove the righteousness from her beliefs and recognize that they are only beliefs, many which she got through no fault of her own, from social, cultural and parental conditioning. This new gear gets her to engage more fully with others and leave her dysfunctional beliefs in the rearview mirror.

Here’s my driving tip: Begin to notice what gear you are in and then recognize there are other choices other than the one you normally select.

If you’re creeping along at the same speed, it may be time to throw in the clutch and select a new gear.

All the best,


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