Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Archive for the category “Control”

Mind Control and the Completeness Obsession

Network Neurons by Gerard79

Network Neurons by Gerard79

I’m thinking a lot about whether I trust myself.

Not in the bigger sense of being out of control at certain points (I’ve controlled those remaining outposts of wildness over the years: only now to be seen when an invited house guest..) No, I mean whether I trust my mind enough. When I wrote about trusting my creativity within confined time slots I kind of papered over the nagging little voice.The nagging little voice is an element within me that is both good and bad. One of my strengths and also my hindrances? I talk a good game about taking an 80:20 approach. To operating within the time slots. But the little voice is always there in different guises.And what does it say? First, it continually asks ‘why’? Good in a number of ways, but it wants to know how and why things work from a people perspective. All the time. And sometimes it doesn’t relent until I’ve settled. The bad side of this is that it is over-rationalising and attempts to compartmentalise too rapidly at times. It attempts to exert too much mind control and not allow the grey. Read more…

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Four ways to read differently to be successful

With the amount of great content available we need to examine our strategies for consuming information.

An article on Forbes.com today questions whether you are reading fast enough to be successful

I’ve found four things really help effective information consumption:

1. Always have a reading objective. If you’re reading a book on innovation, ask yourself what you want to be left with after reading it (a checklist for launching your own product/ a basic understanding etc.). For pleasure reading however, just give yourself permission to lose yourself.

2. Fit into the gaps of your day. Have Pocket on your smartphone with saved articles of interest for a spare minute on the subway. Have a great feed reader like FeeddlerPro on your homescreen for a quick scan while you’re in the ATM queue.

3. Switch ways of taking information in. Audio books or your Kindle’s text-to-speech function whilst you exercise, walk to work or do the gardening allows you to absorb information with less effort.

4. A speed-reading technique that works for me for quick consumption of information: read it back to front. Reverse-reading by conclusion, paragraph opening sentences and sub-headings seems to crank my attention up a level and gives me a faster understanding.

Structuring how to be creative

What is the relationship between structure and creativity. How does the use of planning and systems, structure and frameworks fuel enhanced levels of creativity?

I suspect there is a greater depth to the relationship than the obvious connections:

  1. The control and structuring of all tasks and ‘to-do’s’, as well as the ordering of thoughts and the use of systems and processes creates free space for creative thinking
  2. This free space for creative thinking can be conscious: as in consciously planned time and space for creative thinking. It can also be unconscious: as in the freeing up of mental space to allow thoughts to percolate in the background
  3. The creation of structure or parameters around the object or subject of the creativity focuses the thinking and creativity. Does it enable fewer variables to disrupt the thinking around the possible options? To concentrate the power in the focus? (is this the opposite of 1. above?)
  4. Does structure reduce the sense of panic? Quell the reactive brain by avoiding the stress of ‘having to be creative’. Removing the pressure of blue sky thinking. Creating the shallow ‘on-ramp’.
  5. Something about answering questions. When framed or structured, do we have something deeper/ more genetic pre-disposed to answer problems
  6. Creates a kind of brain ‘anchor’. Avoids the natural tendency to bounce around from thought to thought, and makes it keep on coming back to the framed and structured challenge

I know a man who uses a flamenco dancing analogy when it comes to using constraints to achieve creativity: where strong control over the dancer’s movements portray the deepest passion and emotions (I added the last bit after a bit of ‘flamenco research’ Dan…)

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