Translator: Rhonda Jacobs

Reviewer: Ellen Maloney We have incredible potential. But how much do we really know about what are the most effective ways

for us to extract this potential? To overcome obstacles?

To reach our goals? To change as we need

to change along the way? To learn? To evolve? I’m a professor of computer science, and my area of research

is quantum computation. No, it’s not computers

that don’t exist yet. But imagine computers

that will take one second to solve certain computational tasks that the fastest

supercomputer in the world will take zillions of years to solve. Thousands of researchers all over the world are now trying

to build those computers, and also trying to understand

what you will be able to do with them if and when we manage to build them. I deal with difficult challenges

on a daily basis. I’m really interested

in trying to find ways to overcome obstacles, and learning,

which are more effective. Now, during my career

I’ve had ups and downs. I was fortunate enough to have

a very, very successful PhD. But immediately after my PhD,

I went into this numb period in which nothing seemed to actually work, even though I was putting

a lot of effort into it. My friend came to me and told me “Dorit, you’ve painted

a very beautiful picture in your PhD. But you’re putting in too much effort. Maybe it’s time to let go, sign it up,

and move on to the next picture.” And he was right; I was clinging

to it with all my might. I was applying a lot of force. That’s one way of applying force. But we do that all the time

in many, many different contexts and many variations. Imagine yourself opening a drawer. You try to open it. It doesn’t open. It’s stuck. What do you do? You try harder. And if it doesn’t work,

you try even harder. It might even break. You tell yourself

you have to finish an exercise, so you force yourself to do it. You want to go on a diet,

you force yourself to do it. You need to finish this book that’s been lying

near your bed for a month, you force yourself to do it. I’m not saying that as a criticism,

it’s just an observation. We see this all around us,

it’s something very natural for us to do, and that’s what we’ve probably

been told to do many times when we were very young. But we lose a lot

from this forceful approach. We lose a lot in quality. We lose our sensitivity, our creativity. Imagine a kid who hates mathematics and is forced to do

a mathematical exercise. It’s not a very pretty

sight to see, right? It’s not inspiring. It’s as if some other part

of his brain has taken over him, and it’s doing the job

but it’s doing it very, very poorly. But there’s a different kind

of thinking and learning which is much more connected to ourselves,

and much more attentive, and of a much higher quality – something which is much more connected,

much more attentive; it’s more sensitive and more creative. I want to give you an experience

of such a learning and thinking process which is not forced. I’m holding a glass of water

here in front of you, and I’m going to rotate

this glass around itself without spilling the water, and without

detaching my hand from the glass. Here, watch me do it. Good, worked the first time. Now I have a question for you. How many times did the glass

rotate around itself? I’ll let you watch me do it again. Watch carefully. Okay. It doesn’t matter;

the answer doesn’t matter. The point is that my question – if you’re

curious and intrigued by the movement – my question triggered some spontaneous

thinking process inside you that was unforced. It was something

connected to your curiosity and something that came from within. The answer, by the way, is two. I’m looking for ways to maintain

those kind of qualities – sensitivity, creativity –

those connections within us, not only with such simple exercises, but also in front of the hardest obstacles

that we want to overcome. For that matter, let me

move on to my other passion. I’ve done body-mind methods for years. I practice tai chi,

king fu, yoga, Feldenkrais. One day, my kung fu teacher came to me –

it was while I was doing this kick – and he told me, “Dorit, pay attention to how

you return your leg back from the kick.” Now, actually, I never even knew

I’m returning my leg back from the kick. It always seemed to me like my kick

ended with my leg up in the air, and the rest didn’t exist. And then it occurred to me,

it’s exactly how I operate in life. I throw myself into challenges, and then I don’t care about

how I come back from them. What we do with our physical body,

our physical patterns, are actually intimately connected

to how we interact with life in general. I want to give you four principles

I’ve extracted from body-mind methods. And those principles, I think,

are very useful for overcoming obstacles and learning in general while maintaining your sensitivity,

and creativity, and capabilities, even in front of very difficult obstacles. Now, those principles don’t only apply

to physical movement, I think they apply to overcoming

challenges in general. In fact, they also apply

to my scientific research and for learning mathematics. I’m going to give you an example

coming from a Feldenkrais lesson and extract the principles

from it one by one. I’m just taking Feldenkrais as an example; I could have taken other

body-mind methods as well, but this is a particularly

illuminating example. You see here my Feldenkrais

teacher, Eilat Almagor, and she’s giving a lesson

to a child called Yuval. Yuval came to the lesson with some kind

of asymmetry in the way he’s sitting. He finds it difficult to lean

on his left sitting bone. He leans on his right sitting bone. That means that he can’t take his right

leg to the right, like that, while sitting because he can’t lift

his right sitting bone. By the end of the lesson, however, Yuval actually brings his right leg

to the right on his own. I want to give you the key steps

of what’s going on in the lesson, and walk you through those key steps, and extract the principles one by one. (Video) Dorit Aharonov: Eilat starts by working with Yuval’s

right sitting bone. Now this might seem counterintuitive because Yuval already knows

how to lean on his right sitting bone. (On stage) DA: You might think

that this means that he will actually move

further to the right. And indeed, a little bit later,

he does move further to the right. First principle: Start within your comfort zone,

and make it even more comfortable. The next thing that Eilat does, is now that Yuval is very comfortable

with where he is, she inserts one little new ingredient

into his scenario. She just lets him feel that he can

be supported in his left sitting bone. But this is done within his comfort zone. She just picks one

little thing to add to it. Pick a challenge which

is interesting, within your reach, not too easy, not too hard. The next thing that Eilat does

might look a bit weird. She lifts Yuval up in the air

and lets him fall, and she does it from various directions. Now what she actually does, is she takes him away

from what he has just learned, to lean on both his sitting bones, and lets him know that he can return back

to what he just learned from different directions. Third principle: Move away from your desired goal, and come back to it

from different directions. Now, you might have noticed

that during the whole time, Yuval continues to play,

and do various things, and move. It’s all happening

within his comfort zone. He integrates everything

that he’s learning into his own life. Fourth and last principle: Play with it, connect it

to everything you know, make it your own. A little bit later, Yuval takes his leg

to the right on his own. The movement has already become his own. I want to repeat those four principles. Start within your comfort zone

and make it even more comfortable. Second principle: Not too easy, not too hard: Pick an interesting challenge

within your reach. Third principle: Move away from your desired goal,

and come back to it from different angles. Fourth principle: Play with it, connect it,

make it your own. Okay, now these principles,

they’re effective, as you’ve seen, in the context of movement. But I find them to be very, very effective

also in other contexts. And in particular,

in my scientific research, and in the context

of mathematics in general. Now, I want to give you an example of how to use those principles

in the context of mathematics, in the context of a small riddle. Once upon a time, there was a queen. The queen ruled her island because

she was the only one on the island who knew how to do the following trick. She had two cubes;

each cube had six faces, and on each face,

there is a digit written. Now, what she knew

how to do with those cubes is she knew how to represent

all dates in the month with those cubes. Now, this is a bit confusing because

there are only six faces on each cube, and there are ten digits to write on them, so how did she do that? I want to solve this riddle with you

using the principles that I’ve just shown, and I’ll have this place here

at the top corner of the screen where the principle

that we’re now using will be written. So that you can keep track of it. We start with what we need to do. We need to write six digits on each cube

so I make space for those digits, six for each cube. Now let’s start

with a very, very small step. Let’s just write the first date – 01. So we need a 0 on the first cube,

and we need a 1 on the second cube so we do that. Well that was easy enough,

so let’s continue this way. We can also write 02, 03, 04, 05. Okay, but we can’t continue like that

for all dates that start with 0, there’s just not enough room

in the right cube. So now we see that we can

identify a simple goal that is still something interesting

that we don’t know how to do. Let’s try to represent

all the dates that start with 0 – the left-most column. We see that we can’t just do that

with just one 0 on one cube, but if we add one 0 on the right cube, then you can combine it

with all the digits by putting all the other digits

on the left cube. So now we are done with the left column. But we can take this idea of having

0 on both cubes to the next column. We can solve now for the next column which consists of all numbers

that start with 1, by just putting 1 on both cubes. We can do that because we have more room,

we add a 1 to the left cube, and now we have 1 on both cubes and we can do all combinations

with all the other digits. So that’s fine for the second column. Now we want to do the third column. So if we can put 2 on both cubes,

that would be great, but we don’t have more room. So now what do we do? Well, we use the next principle,

and we make a deliberate mistake. We move away from our target and we add 2,

even though we don’t have room for that. Maybe we can correct for it later. Okay, so now we have 2 on the left cube, and you can check that

you can now write all the 20s, and you can also see

that you can write 30 and 31. Great, but now we have

seven digits on the left cube. So how do we correct for that? I need all the digits on the left cube,

so what do I do? Now I want to use the fourth principle:

I want to play with it. So let’s get serious with playing. I brought here with me

two colorful cubes from that island, and I want to play with them. I’m going to play with them,

and I can write here – they’re going to break, actually – okay, I have a 2 here;

I can write 20-something. Let’s see. I can write 21. I can write 27. I can write 26. 29! Right, I can also write 29. Aha, you’ve got it already. I don’t need the 6 and 9. And that’s the solution. Now, you might be thinking, “Hmm, is this all it takes

to be a quantum computer scientist? Just rotate colorful cubes and lift your right and left

sitting bone once in a while, and follow your butt once in a while?” Well, the answer is… honestly, yes. Now seriously, I strongly believe that all scientific discoveries,

great or small, can be boiled down

to a very small, little step of maybe a twist or a rotation

around what you thought before, or looking at things

from a different angle, or making an unexpected connection. And playing with it

will reveal those things. And this is exactly what we’re doing now

in the area of quantum computation. In this area, we are actually at the state

of Yuval in the beginning of the lesson. We don’t know yet

how to build those computers. And we don’t know yet

what we will be able to do with them, if and when they’re built. But what we’re doing is,

we start within our comfort zone, we look around to see

where we can expand it, where we can find challenges within our reach

that are still interesting, and once we find them

and manage to get them, we try to understand it further, we try to go back and forth

in order for it to be reliable. We try to fall on it

from different directions, and we keep continuing to play. And that is something

that has already been very useful, even without reaching

our goals, our big goals, we already found very,

very interesting things and many new areas have been opened,

and many new connections, just by this approach. Do you have a goal in your life

that you haven’t managed to move or make progress on for a long time? I invite you to check – maybe… maybe… you’re putting just too much energy in a direction that you expect

things to move. And maybe by reducing the amount of force

and letting it move in other directions, you might find yourself

in a different place which could be very close

to where you are now, but it will be a different place

from which things will look different. I find that resisting the temptation

of using the forceful approach is a lifelong process of awareness, but I think it’s worthwhile because you gain your sensitivity,

your creativity, your liveliness, in front of difficult obstacles. And even if you don’t reach

what you wanted, well, you reach other places

which could be as interesting. Thank you for listening. (Applause) (Whistles) (Cheers)

Brilliant! so interesting that she took Feldenkrais back where he started….mathematics…

Thank you for posting this helpful video! Is there a version with accurate captions or could you edit the autocaptions? The autocaptions are inaccurate in many places. I would like to recommend this to colleagues who have hearing impairments or auditory processing difficulties, but it would need accurate captions.

What a great way of showing the practical applications of Feldenkrais to life. Thank you!

brilliant woman

This is exactly how copywriters and art directors work in the advertising world to come up with new ideas.

You are so inspiring! Thank you Dorit!

very poor example with a riddle… no any clear explanation… since the beginning we don't know what numbers are written on each side… i'm a feldenkrais practitioner myself and it's so sad to see that noone presents this methode simply and efficiently…

The delivery is so poor it is a poor advertisement for this method.

That's a beautiful message in life. thank you Dorit ðŸ™‚

WOW DORIT> EIZEH YOFI ! A great way to show an approach to life. I was inspired. I would lie to see more of your work in the field. NEHEDAR!

Mis-titled video, and enormously boring. Feldenkrais begins at about 2/5 into the video.

Also, uses trickery. If she had said, and a 6 looks identical to an inverted 9, then one's thinking on solving this puzzle would have been different. For example, my written 6 looks different from my written inverted 9.

Also, there is no reason to believe her principles are best. Why not begin at an uncomfortable place instead?

The points made in this talk are top notch; very informative

2016, we have working quantum computers.

This is so interesting because the approach is an extremely "heady" one, unlike the much more physical approach I am accustomed to in Feldenkrais work….I suppose it makes sense for a person who is coming from the standpoint of quantum computation, but for me, a dancer/movement person this is almost other worldly! I'm having the hardest time making the physical connection.

Very interesting. She clearly makes very pertinent and insightful analogies between physical and mental movement, which is one of the main foundations of Feldenkrais.

These ads are far to too loud

Thank you!

Thank you !

Thank you I enjoyed the talk very much and it really inspired me

What a wonderful concept. Thank you.

Wah! Most inspiring and my one hour spent on computer on your talks is so valuable. If I need to ask questions, what email should be used? Pl guide me. May Lord Bless you to continue to deliver useful lectures

Anyone notice she's not wearing a bra?…..

Thank you for sharing. Wonderful ðŸ™‚

Super power.

moshe would be proud, thank you.

Feldenkraise plagiarized Alexander Technique so the story goes. But then F. M. was a Delsarte teacher first.

Wow very interesting talk! Thanks ?