Another yoga analogy. It is much more valuable, for me, to do a difficult asana like the Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana) using a block rather than straining to do without. In fact, I end up with just a fingertip on the block. In essence it’s not really holding me but I can get so much more joy and openness by not having to go to pain but rather doing the position comfortably and with support.
When I was taking Cognitive Science courses for my masters, I was introduced to the pedagogical concept of scaffolding. We learn a new skill more easily with a small amount of support. Not spoon-feeding, the challenge is needed to truly engage us, but just the right amount of structure to guide us. Over time, the scaffolding is removed and the learner is doing it on their own. The classic example of course is training wheels.
So, now, how do we look at the areas where we struggle to go it alone, with a ‘no pain, no gain’ attitude and find we aren’t achieving our goals. Having a system of capturing our to-do’s, organizing our projects, processing our email, mail, news feeds and myriad modes of input is a structure of support. When we practice our system regularly we come to a point where it has become so ingrained that we are no longer making an effort. We are resting the lightest amount of our weight on it and opening up to accomplish what we’ve put in motion with ease.