Proximal stability for distal mobility.

I learned about this while studying to be a physical therapist long, long ago.

These words (proximal and distal) refer to the relative position of things within the body. Proximal means something is nearer to a point of reference, distal means something is farther away from a point of reference. The point of reference is usually the midline (the core) of the body. So… my shoulder is proximal to my elbow. My ankle is distal to my hip.  Got it?

So…. proximal stability for distal mobility.  The better developed the muscles of your core (back, abdominals, shoulder, hips), the more refined the movement of the distal parts of the body (hands, fingers, feet) can be. This is a guiding principle for therapists who are helping patients recover from physical injury, and is also the premise behind pilates.  Great tap dancers need abs of steel. A person recovering from an arm injury has to hold her shoulder in a stable position to button a button with her fingers.

Now. Let’s wax philosophical for a moment.

Kids who have stable homes have a better chance of performing well at school.
When things are in order in my home I can be more creative and effective in my work outside my home.
An organization that has a stable structure will be more innovative.
Self-discipline makes greater creativity possible.
A good leader starts at home.

Said another way….
If an organization is led chaotically, the output of that organization will dry up.
A church filled with people in conflict with each other won’t effectively serve their community.
If I’m consumed by inner confusion, I won’t notice or be able to address the needs around me.
Floppy self-discipline leads to floppy work.

Proximal stability for distal mobility.

Do you see it?

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