Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tango is NOT an Addiction, Part II

Tango is NOT an Addiction, Part I started out, “If the model for motivation you follow is addiction, you run a higher risk of eventually being healed. Once you are healed of your addiction, we may never see you again at the milonga. What keeps some tangueros/tangueras motivated and others fall away? A different model may help you from falling away.”

So what is the different model from the Medical Model?  There are many models to choose from.  I like a Human Development Model, but let's just choose something outside of the humanities.

How about a business model for tango? Anything we love, including tango, eventually becomes work--at least at times.

Why do people come and go in Tango? Will you and I just fade away too? If you were to ask newlyweds, they run NO RISK from ever falling out of love.  Yet, so many of these "no-risk" marriages fail.  People “addicted” to tango feel the same about tango--no risk of falling out of love with tango.  So in Part One of this theme, I hoped to decreased your risk for leaving tango. You are no longer addicted. Tango is a good way of just getting what all people need in life – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need.  Are you addicted to air?  Nonsense!  The medical model is taking over everything we love and calling it addiction.  Imagine two psychiatrists observing two new women at their addictions clinic:  " Look at her!  She has had three children because she is addicted children and family.  Oh no, see her over there?  Another tanguera!  She's addicted to tango because she loves a warm embrace and dancing to music in perfect tandem with a partner.  She needs help!

Now the question is how to keep this wonderful fountain of life, called tango, in your life.   Now that you have detoxed yourself from the medical model! :-)

The business model
According to a business model there are four types of motivation for motivating people to stick to things that need work: Compliance, willpower, imagination and habit. Each succeeding motivation type is more likely to lead to more motivated individuals than the ones preceding it.

This work-for-it model may work well after the honeymoon with tango is over. Once tango becomes a chore or work, the business model helps us stick to it and rediscover why tango was once so important.
  • Compliance (I know this work is good for me. I will follow the rules).
  • Willpower (I am going to get off this sofa and go).
  • Imagination (I am going to rediscover why tango was so good for me. I can imagine being really good at this.)
  • Habit (tango is just what I do. It fulfills me and makes me a better person).
Imagination was where it all started. Maybe we were lonely or want to have a better relationship.  Perhaps we went to learn how to dance with our partner. We imagined getting to be a good dancer, making our relationship better. Some long time dancers learn tango as another dance to be learned, like a new language for linguists. That imagination was or is going to be seriously challenged by how difficult becoming a good dancer really is, or learning to dance did not help much in keeping or finding a partner. Imagination cannot hold you, so you when you fall away, with this weak model, you can easily say that tango was an "addiction."  Too bad.  Maybe everything that your love will be seen as an addiction.  That's a fatalistic, negative model.  Maybe you are addicted to the model and not to the things that you love?

It does not take a prophet...Your tango will experience through the years many positive and negative experiences. We may lose a partner and a song reminds us of that loss. A new crowd of people come into the scene and they have different values and skill levels, and it is just not fun anymore. We may go through a depression and our “aura” is so heavy that people don’t even want to dance with us. So a balanced business model of compliance/willpower/imagination/habit may become the only way to stick with it. Ask the people who have been dancing for 10 or more years. They have stuck with it. Why? Ask them! They have had injuries related and unrelated to dancing. They have experienced drama and trauma related to dancing and watched people come and go (loss). But they are still working at it. I think they have learned to comply with the rules (both the etiquette and rules of dance), which allows them to dance with anyone in the world (not just a group out of a certain studio). They have had willpower to allow play to become work and then turn back to play again with the lessons of any love we might have--abandoning hope and love are so easy otherwise. Perhaps tango as a good business allows them to imagining the next level of dance and the fun it will bring.  Finally, like the devoted monk who prays and goes to church, tango has become a habit out of the comfort it brings.

And from the humanities, yet another model (in a few sentences)I hope that you have already found this on your own; so I will not say much here about even a better model than the business model. The spiritual growth model focuses on you connections to real people. You have joined a group of people who hug each other, who celebrate with each other, who cry together when someone in the community dies.  Can I then suggest a benediction to those who made it to the end of this blog?  If you truly want to stick with the wonderful thing in your life, stop worrying about "sticking to it."  It will stick to you when you ...

“Dance that you may have life and life abundantly."

1 comment:

  1. Such good points about motivation! It's very easy to have unrealistic expectations (just like any relationship) and when one starts to encounter disappointments and challenges, it can be hard to stick with it. Thank you for the reminder to keep nurturing that relationship.


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