Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Building The Clear Thinking Skill

After my presentation on the 6 Questions of Technology (yes, I will share more on this) at the TOCICO Conference, one of the people in the audience came up to me and said how happy he was with the work model we suggested, until the trees came out. They are so hard to construct, he said. I could hear the despair. I could also understand it and relate to it. The TOC TP are a set of highly potent tools, of course but they are very hard for many (present company totally included) to use.

This week I started testing out a new point of view I had been thinking of since my trip to S. Africa - problems are just opportunities in the rough (and yes, I will share more on this as well, you really have a lot of great things to come back to this blog for). As a result I had given my self several mind games and exercises to work on. Then it dawned on me - just like we wouldn't expect anyone to run a marathon before the have run several shorter distances in the weeks and months leading to the race, why should we expect people to take on TP without first building up to them through mind clearing workouts?
You wouldn't be doing this the first day of your workout program, would you? (Source - Wikipedia)

My point is that many of us are not used to thinking about things the way that is required by the TP. While we spend our lives thinking, we are still not trained to the level TP requires. It is very similar in yoga where although you have breathed all your life, you are not trained to breath the way yoga demands and you have to learn and practice it. So, it may be that before we venture into logic trees we have to build our brain muscles with easier exercises to prepare us for it.

Now, this is just a theory and I don't have a progression of exercises mapped out, just a few preliminary ideas. So I really need you help and inputs.

Here are the exercises ideas I already have and have been practicing:

  1. Beginner - learn to ignore all or nothing thinking by creating a 100 list - think of a block that you feel is in your way to achieve something then create a list with 100 things you can do to achieve it despite the block (so if you feel you can't get a good job because you don't have enough experience in your resume, then think of 100 ways to make you noticeable to recruiters in and out of your resume). I managed about 30 ideas in the first 24 hours and got to 44 on the second day. Once you are at 50, I suggest you start acting while keeping the list going until you get to the 100 mark, don't use it as an excuse.
  2. Intermediate - clear your thinking from emotions by putting yourself in places where you are uncomfortable, like not reacting to a question by your spouse when that question is "illegal" - e.g. asking you what your kid's preferences are when said child is present. The idea is not to to stop you from feeling but to help you separate your thoughts about what needs to be done from your emotions about a situation.
  3. Advanced - practice result oriented thinking by mapping a process backwards - think of an interaction you are planning to have and then map it from the desired end state back to the beginning. So first you must figure out how you want that interaction to end at a level you can visualize it. This means you have to take your goal or desired outcome and turn it into a concrete result (say I want my adult kid to move out, my end state visual would be of her saying "You know what, mom, I'll get my own place within the month"). Now figure out and visualize what had to happen just prior to that (perhaps she said "Staying with you and Dad isn't good for me, it doesn't help me become a capable adult"). Credit to this exercise goes to Jeff "SKI" Kinsey and his book "Purple Curve Effect" I covered in this review.
I'll update you if I get new workout ideas. 

Let me know what you think - will it make any difference if we address the TP tools more gradually? What else can and should we try?
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