This is the last in a series on force, and how you use it. We’ve looked at using less force in computing, at using less force in other tasks, and how to spot too much force.
My final instalment looks at the question “what is too much force?”
You’ve probably worked out by now that there is such a concept as too much force. But there is also such a concept as not enough force. One of the skills of the Alexander Technique is learning to tell the difference between the two.
As ever, there’s a question to help:
“Can I think of a really good reason for doing this activity with this much force?”
Sometimes the answer is ‘Yes’.
I learnt to type on an ancient manual school typewriter. If you didn’t bash the keys good and hard, you got a fuzzy letter on the paper. That’s a definite ‘Yes’ to our question. But any computer keyboard made in the last 15 years requires only the slightest pressure to engage. That’s a resounding ‘No’. Same with a mouse (this series started with Imogen Ragone’s excellent “Mouse Hand”). If the whole table moves when you click the mouse, that’s probably too much. If nothing happens at all, that’s probably too little.
Usually, the amount of force someone uses has nothing to do with necessity. Usually it has more to do with tradition, poorly-understood instructions, and a lack of the right tools necessary to take apart the activity and put it together again in a constructive way(*).
So, the question remains – can you think of a really good reason for using that much force? If you can, great. If not, how about you do it differently?
(*) For those who are new to the Alexander Technique, these tools are what you learn in lessons.