Archive for November, 2010

Your Own Picture

November 29th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

There are many ways to categorise and classify the many aspects of experiential learning; this diagram represents just one such way (you can find out more by clicking here):

Can you plot your learning journey’s progress using this diagram?  Can you conceive of other axes, in place of skill and challenge, that would be more appropriate for your learning experiences?  How would you change some of the segments to better fit with your experience? 

The last question is perhaps the most important one to ask and answer.  It is never a question of shaping your life to better correspond with an external framework or set of guidelines.  It is always a question of using tools to better understand your personal experience as it is, not as others suggest it should be.  Van Morrison sums it all up when he asks, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

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Find your own way.  Use ‘pictures’ to help rather than define and determine.  If it is your learning journey and not a facsimile you have borrowed from someone else, then you will create your own ‘picture’.

Slow Down, It’s Sunday

November 28th, 2010 | Related | 0 Comments

Every Sunday, ’tis nobler presents seven things that you may find inspiring, intriguing and informative.  Enjoy!

Was November a particularly busy month for protests

The case of the vanishing blonde … and justice. 

A great ‘open letter’ in the unlikeliest of places that makes a compelling case. 

The last code is proving very, very elusive! 

Long live the Web, says Tim Berners-Lee 20 years on. 

Of course, people never just say, “I’m lying.” 

Boy, the people on Bath Spa railway station move slowly …. or …….??

Unusually, Usually

November 26th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

There are two types of ‘unusual’ things:

There’s the type of thing that starts out being unusual and gradually becomes usual, and;

There’s the type of thing that always remains unusual.

Don’t think it’s only the always unusual things – the odd, the rare, the unlikely – that present challenges to experiential learners, because it’s the usual things they have to watch out for.  Nobody is perfect in dealing with the usual things – error is a frequent companion to performance – and errors while doing the usual  occur many, many more times than errors learners make while trying to cope with the unusual.  Overall, there is more (aggregate) risk associated with the usual than the unusual.

When you start out doing something, most of it is usually unusual.  While you’ve seen others do it, while you may have watched it on TV, while you may have had a bit of a go from time to time, everything changes when you actually and seriously begin to do it.  Everything is, or appears to be, unusual.  With growing experience, much of the unusual gradually, very gradually, becomes usual; despite this shift and despite what you might think, the ‘usual’ remains your biggest problem.

So, don’t think that all of your effort is directed towards being able to cope with the unusual, because the unusual may never occur.

So, do think that all of your effort is directed towards being able to cope with the usual, because the usual happens every second of every performance episode.  But it is never as usual as you think it is.  But what should you do if you find yourself confronted with unusual circumstances?  What would you do in these circumstances?

Maybe the answer is to treat these very unusual circumstances in the same way you handle the usual stuff, the way you manage your ‘usual’ skilled performance  and its attendant risks day in, day out, time after time.  Do you think that the unusual demands that you do things that you don’t usually do?  Perhaps responding to the unusual with the unusual isn’t such a good idea.

Are you unusual in coping with the usual?  Are you usual in coping with the unusual?

As One

November 24th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

Have you noticed how often we use shoes as a metaphor?  We invite others to ‘walk a mile in our shoes’.  To resolve a dispute or make our position known, we might suggest others acknowledge that ‘the shoe fits’.  If we are trying to extricate ourselves from an awkward situation, we might entreat others to imagine ‘if the shoe was on the other foot’.  At the same time, we could encourage people to think about what they would do ‘if they were in my shoes’.  Apparently, anybody can be ‘too big for their boots’, while there is nothing as ‘comfortable as an old shoe’, except, perhaps, for an older shoe.

All of these metaphors indicate a need for greater concordance, more congruence, stronger agreement or closer alignment.  ‘tis nobler hesitates to say ‘a better fit’.  It would also be inaccurate to suggest more synchronicity but ‘tis nobler will leave you to find out why (isn’t that an ambiguous saying – ‘tis nobler isn’t leaving).

Before you go, perhaps it’s time to watch a marvellous video and then unpack the point of today’s post.  First, though, stand by me:

Having watched the video, I’m hope you’re back from exploring synchronicity; if you are, you probably realise the difference between it and synchronisation.  And today’s post is about a fascinating example of synchronisation, building on the previous post about our memories.  Recent research at Princeton has provided some evidence for the concept of ‘cognitive coupling’ – the synchronisation of brain waves between communicators and listeners when they are on the ‘same wavelength’.  The slight response delay (or lag) reduced and, in some cases, disappeared as comprehension increased; those who ‘clicked’ with the speaker were anticipating what was being said to bring about (close to) perfect harmony.

Our memories play a vital direct and indirect role in experiential learning.  When the memories are indirect – communicated by another for us to learn from – it is possible to synchronise or couple cognitively.

And that’s what ‘Stand By Me’ portrayed – people all over the world communicating in a beautifully synchronised way.  But you don’t need sound engineers and audio software to synchronise.  You just have to listen.

Our Memories

November 22nd, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

The list is a long one, but it remains a list.  It might have length but lists usually have little depth.  It is possible to compile a long, shallow list of the many things that affect learning.  Memory would be somewhere on that list.  After all, education relies on the storage and retrieval of memories:

“What is the boiling point of water?”  “What was the former name of Ethiopia?”  “does the equator run through Brazil?”  “How many facts are on your list?”

But memory itself would have its own list – a list of the things that affect memory, which in turn affect learning, which in turn affect behaviour, which in turn creates memories that affect learning.  And so on, and on and on.

Context would be on the memory list, as would framing.  Priming would feature, along with state, mnemonics, repetition, rehearsal and environment.  It’s a very long list, as long as it is shallow.  Let’s have a look at one item – social memory.  When are two heads better than one?

Research demonstrates that there is a very clear, unambiguous answer to the question, “When are two heads better than one?”, which is set out succinctly below:

Sometimes.

For the answer depends on a range of personal, interpersonal and task-related factors.  In experiential learning, however, there is another dimension to this question that warrants attention.  Perhaps, for experiential learning, we should focus less on the retrieval side of things (can two heads recall more than one head?) and more on the storage side (do two heads have more memories than one head?).  There is a very clear, unambiguous answer to the latter question, which is set out succinctly below:

Yes.

The real world is very inefficient in presenting learning opportunities to experiential learners and this is where the value of ‘two heads’ comes in.  I can learn from your experiences as they will be, to some degree, different to mine.  Exploring your experiences can help me understand mine, while expanding the overall number of direct and vicarious experiences.

Use as many heads as you can in order to find your own way!

Slow Down, It’s Sunday

November 21st, 2010 | Related | 0 Comments

Every Sunday, ’tis nobler presents seven things that you may find inspiring, intriguing and informative.  Enjoy!

And you thought it was created by the Swiss.

The Insanity Virus?

Great examples of the positive power of online communities.

The brain’s seesaw ride of fear

See London as a (very big, very detailed) PANORAMA

Where heart disease is concerned, you can beat your genes

You may have seen a previous Danny MacAskill video – here’s how he finds his way home.

Paying For It

November 19th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

Making decisions can be a weird or wonderful process.  How did I make the decision to use ‘or’ rather than ‘and’ in that first sentence?  Does it make any difference?  If it doesn’t, was there a decision to make in the first place?  Cue the sound of one hand clapping.

Weird or wonderful might equate to inexplicable (usually to others) or accurate/helpful (usually to ourselves).  There is a huge range of factors that can impinge on individual decisions, so let’s just examine one for a start.  As you would expect, this one is, itself, the tip of a decision making iceberg.  An iceberg can be a slippery slope but only until you hit the water.  Then you start floundering and sinking.  Or then you start swimming.  Sink or swim – the outcome is determined by the decisions you make.

There is evidence that we discount the advice of others in reaching our ‘own’ decisions.  One of several factors that affect the discount rate is whether we have invested in this advice.  A series of three experiments concluded that we are more likely to follow advice if we have paid for it, presumably because we need to demonstrate ‘value for money’.  This resonates with the more general ‘sunk costs fallacy’ – a personal investment is pursued beyond the point where it makes sense on the basis that we are averse to loss.  And the most obvious loss would be the money we have paid, which explains why we endeavour to extract continuing value from it.  In all sorts of investment decisions, the perceived ‘point of no return’ recedes into the distance so that you feel that you never reach it.  In fact, you passed it some time ago!

Think more broadly about how discounting and investment affect the decisions you make in your learning and behavioural change journey.  There is always a price to be paid – an opportunity cost or a consequence – for the decisions you make.  How will you make these decisions?  Does the value of something increase just because you paid for it?  What price are you prepared to pay?

Sometimes, the price you pay is more than the price you pay. Above all, perhaps, it’s best just to pay attention to your journey rather than pay others to take you for a ride.

Advocating Uncertainty

November 17th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

There is a gap between knowing and understanding, just as there is between understanding and doing (well).  These gaps are reduced through experiential effort.  But there is a view that you can avoid the effort by strenuous advocacy of your current position:

“There is nothing left for me to learn.”  “I am already a good driver/lawyer/photographer …”  “I can’t see the point of more practice.”  “You just don’t understand things as well as I do.”  “With respect, you are completely wrong about that.”  “You don’t know what you’re talking about.  Just listen to what I have to say.”

And so it goes.  The words go round and around and around, without moving anywhere, without making any progress.  There is more effort expended on defending the status quo than effort expended on transcending the status quo.  You might think that this reflects certainty and conviction – after all, aren’t those who speak the loudest those that are most convinced of their statements?  In fact, there is evidence that the opposite is true.

Strenuous advocacy can be a reflection of personal uncertainty.  In these circumstances, such ‘shouting’ is designed to reduce doubts – a sort of “I must be right because I am stressing my ‘rightness’ so forcefully.”  Trying to reduce your doubts by committing more strongly to that which you doubt has an even stronger influence on those topics/skills/behaviours that you deem more important.  If it’s more important to you, you’ll ‘shout’ more often and more loudly.

And we wonder why politicians shout at one another.

There will be many occasions in your learning journey where you might feel like ‘shouting’.  Circumstances, the behaviour of other people or the need to ‘win’ in the short term can all combine in ways that make one reaction apparently inevitable – you know you make me wanna shout:

Regardless of the circumstances, you always have a choice of whether to shout or not.  There will be times, many times, when you are unsure about how to proceed but this is an inherent quality of exploration.  And the journey is about exploration, not arrival at a pre-determined destination.

Shouting’ is a way to reduce your doubts by entrenching your current position.  You ‘shout’ because your eyes, ears and mind are closed.  ‘Shouting’ is the antithesis of learning – embrace the uncertainties and work your way through them rather than ‘shout’ as a way of convincing yourself that they do not exist.

Do, Not Don’t

November 15th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

‘tis nobler spends a lot of time thinking through the power and pitfalls of ‘Do’.  It’s a simple word that, in the context of experiential learning and behavioural change, can be more complex and confusing than it is short.  And, comprising just two letters, it is very short.

‘tis nobler spends a lot of time thinking through the power and pitfalls of ‘Don’t’.  It’s a simple word – actually, it’s a contraction – that, in the context of experiential learning and behavioural change, is designed to make things simple through contraction.  ‘Don’t’ is meant to simplify your options by reducing your choices.  As a result, the power of ‘Don’t is confused rather than confusing; the power of ‘Don’t’ is a mess.

In this heartfelt song, Sharon Van Etten sings about the limitations of ‘don’t do it’:

And you want to do it,

And you want to do it,

If you want to do it,

You are going to do it,

Even if I don’t want you to

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External avoidance requests or demands have some common ground with the shortcomings of internal suppression (see previous ’tis nobler posts here and here); essentially, they are ineffective.  Avoidance instructions can produce either ironic or compensatory outcomes.  Ironic outcomes are those that ‘disobey’ the avoidance instruction (in much the same that thought or behaviour suppression makes the thought or behaviour more likely).  Compensatory outcomes, more properly over-compensatory, are those in which avoidance behaviour is exaggerated.

When told to avoid doing something when doing something else, there may be a pattern of ironic or over-compensatory behaviours.  And this is where the mixed bag comes in.  Research studies have shown that, for individuals, there is little, if any, pattern.  At times, you will be ironic, at other times you will over-compensate and there appears no way to predict when either will occur.

Avoidance instructions may be well-intentioned but you cannot allow them to determine your behaviour in isolation.  Rather than guiding more effective performance, they may distort it.

Ironic, isn’t it!  And, if it is ironic, there’s no compensation.  Unless you over-compensate, that is, for then there’s no irony.  How will you avoid certain things without irony or over-compensation?  Perhaps it is better to focus on what you have to do, not what you have to avoid.

Slow Down, It’s Sunday

November 14th, 2010 | Related | 0 Comments

Every Sunday, ’tis nobler presents seven things that you may find inspiring, intriguing and informative.  Enjoy!

The ultimate Snow White mashup.  

Can you spot a fake smile (‘tis nobler got 18 out of 20 by not looking at the mouth)?

Thankfully, it was only a miniature Big Bang

Words, that link and flow in a visual poem.

So, you want to make it big as a pop star in Japan.  Pity, you’re real.

Benefits of meditation at the cellular level.

A life on Facebook.

Social Solving

November 12th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

They say that many hands make light work so let’s twist this around a bit.  Will extra hands turn the light on in your head?  Welcome to the world of social solving.

Some recent research examined the effect of brief, positive social encounters on what psychologists call ‘executive functioning’ – things such as working memory and self-monitoring, processes that are central to problem solving.  Spending some time getting to know the other person, chatting about life in general or exploring common interests – the sorts of standard social interactions we tend to take for granted – contributed to better problem solving performance.

Interestingly, when there was a competitive dimension to the encounter (as there often is, for much applied communication has a persuasive aim), there was no apparent change in performance.  When you want to win, you tend to stay the same; when you want to share and understand, you tend, for a short time at least, to get better.

Social solving relies on your objectives.  If you want to impose, coerce or dominate, any benefits from this behaviour may be illusory.  Being involved and engaged and wanting to explore rather than conquer can enhance, broaden and deepen both the interaction and your consequent learning.

And this is a perfect opportunity to play this video:

What a joyful, collaborative experience!  As an experiential learner, engage authentically with those who pass by your journey for the benefits, while unpredictable, are important.  Now, if only corporations, governments and nations could learn this lesson!

Subtle Reminders

November 11th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

WOULD YOU AGREE THAT THERE’S A LACK OF SUBTLETY IN THE WORLD TODAY?  DOESN’T IT FEEL LIKE EVERYONE IS YELLING?  LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME.  DO THIS NOW.  DON’T DO THAT EVER.  IT’S ALL ABOUT BRUTE FORCE, seldom about subtlety.

And little of this explicit, direct and demanding noise has any place in experiential learning and behavioural change.  ARE WE ALL CLEAR ABOUT THAT?

Whether it is priming inside your head or framing outside it, there are so many subtle reminders that serve to affect your choices or attitudes.  Look at all the cues in this music video by Royksopp, appropriately called ‘Remind Me’:

Some recent work has shown that these effects can go beyond recall, word choices or self-reported attitudes; being subtly primed can shape subsequent behaviour.  It seems that those primed to think about money issues then spent more time ‘working’ whereas those that were primed to think about time spent longer doing social activities.  Afterwards, the latter group reported greater levels of happiness.

If you demand things of yourself – learn this now! – or have things demanded of you by others – learn this now! -, any short term effort won’t be sustained.  An imposition is an imposition irrespective of the imposer.  Do you think you can shape and sustain your learning journey through coarse demands and brute force?

If not, how will you use the subtle effects of priming and framing to enhance and deepen your learning?  What subtle reminders will you use to activate learning experiences?

Learning through coercion will quickly crumble whereas frequent yet subtle reminders will sustain.  Remind yourself to continue your learning journey, but do it subtly.

Even Though You Know

November 10th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

It works, you know.  Even though you know, it still works.  It works despite what you might think.  Even though I know that you know, I still do it.  Why would I continue to do it, even though I know that you know?

Because, even though you know, it works!  You, dear reader, are so clever and charming that you probably already know what ‘it’ is.  Do you know?  Wow, you are truly awesome!

It is, of course, flattery.  Even when the flattery is delivered by a stranger as part of a commercial transaction, it can still apparently have an effect:

Why isn’t this stuff dismissed out of hand?  While our initial and immediate reaction might be positive (after all, who doesn’t like being described as a discerning buyer, a person with impeccable taste, a talented musician or an expert driver?), it doesn’t take long for us to place these comments in perspective.  We recognise that these comments are strategic, that they are designed for purposes of persuasion, that they are designed to achieve a particular goal (which might be for us to purchase something, agree to something or to do something that we might not otherwise do).

While perspective is introduced, flattery is never dismissed; it is simply discounted.  Discounting may be marginal or significant but part of our positive reaction always remains.  You won’t believe everything you’re being told; neither will you believe nothing of what you’re being told.  And, because it has an effect, this is why you will be flattered by others.  Even though you know it is purposeful flattery, it will still affect you.  It’s the tension between the implicit (perhaps I am like you‘re saying) and the explicit (I’m not sure I can trust a word you say).

Of course, flattery can be well-intentioned and designed to motivate – that was a great session, you are doing really well, I’ve never had anybody make as much progress as you have.  How do you distinguish between insincere flattery and constructive feedback?

The answer to this question is that, along with everything else, you must work it out yourself.  It’s your journey and this is yet another type of decision you must make along the way.

The Third Message

November 9th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

This video is called “The Long Haul”.

The first and most obvious message in the video is reflected in the title.  Experiential learning takes a considerable time; regardless of what you’re learning, you have to be prepared for the long haul.  Progress in the short term may appear to be rapid but the refinement and validation of the basic building blocks will take years.  There are no short cuts, and you shouldn’t waste your time looking for them or pretending that you have found some.

The second message has to do with the (unstoppable) passage of time, which produces change as a by-product.  Stick around for long enough and you’ll gradually, perhaps imperceptibly, end up being different to when you started.  Many experiential learners rely on this passive passage of time; eventually, they realise that they have changed.  At the very heart of the ‘tis nobler world is the commitment to make this process much more efficient.  You don’t go anywhere when you just mark time.

But it’s the third message that is the main point of this post.  The actual ‘story’ component last for less than half the duration of the video; more than half the video is spent nominating who did what and/or how it was done.  Don’t get ‘tis nobler wrong – it can be valuable to review and reflect but you need to think about balance and you need to think about purpose.  Was the allocation of time in the video balanced?  Was there a forward-looking purpose to this allocation?

It is a long haul; what you have done already is valuable in its own right and also valuable in defining or guiding what you are about to do.  But if you spend a lot of time simply describing what you’ve done, these ‘conversations’ could lack both balance and (learning) purpose.

Be balanced.  Be purposeful.  Make the long haul as efficient as you can, for this will enable you to go further in the same time.

To Communicate

November 8th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

There is much evidence on the value of social learning (more of this later), value which complements the solo journey of experiential learning.  The bridge between the solo and the social is communication.

Effective communication needs to be learned and then applied consistently.  Here’s a simple ‘guide’ – one of many variants in this area – that is derived from this book  although the guide has been created by ‘tis nobler (so the authors shouldn’t take the blame!).  As you would/should expect, ‘tis nobler cautions you against any such guide unless you explore, understand, shape and own it.  Communication, learning and life do not correspond neatly with any guide or set of instructions – there are lots of ragged edges, messy bits and things left over.  Notwithstanding these reservations, this sentence might be a useful starting point:

I know how before why, then I feel why and when.

Let’s break this sentence down into its bits, for it, like communication itself, can appear puzzling.  ‘I know how before’ indicates that you’ve made the effort to be self-aware, that if you have communication expectations of others, they should be matched by your own.  ‘How before why’ indicates that you understand your motives for the communication, specific motives that will accord with your general expectations.  The ‘I’ encourages you to take ownership of your communication, rather than delegating your communication to others by talking about ‘you’, ‘they’, ‘teachers’ or ‘politicians’.  ‘Feel’ comes next, emphasising that you are saying what you feel rather than what you are expected to feel.  Together, ‘I feel’ reinforces the personal; after all, if I am not saying what I feel, what am I saying?  This is particularly important in experiential learning, where some may retreat into role playing rather than advance through honest, personal communication.

Why and when’ complete the guide, providing useful context for the personal through explanation (why I feel) and anchoring (this is when I felt).

I know how before why, then I feel why and when.  It’s only a guide, designed to help you get to where you want to be – I ‘got’ you and you’ve ‘got’ me:

Get it?

Slow Down, It’s Sunday

November 7th, 2010 | Related | 0 Comments

Every Sunday, ’tis nobler presents seven things that you may find inspiring, intriguing and informative.  Enjoy!

Emotional experience improves with age.

Great stories to be found at A Blast From The Past.

Dancing under the gallows.

I had no idea that what happens within cells could be so rough.

The third of three essays (with links to the first two) on what it means to be Stoic.

Zombie masters are alive and well, …. and ‘living’ in ants.

Salesman Pete to the rescue!

This Too Shall Pass

November 5th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

Let’s start with a great music video from the always inventive, always entertaining OK Go (’tis nobler used a different video of this song in the Do Or Blue post):

As a sentiment, ‘This Too Shall Pass’ is an important thing to remember, for there are pitfalls, obstacles and flat periods in any learning journey.  When immersed in them, when it seems impossible to free yourself from their quicksand, you just have to remind yourself that ‘this too shall pass’.

One of the difficulties in maintaining this perspective is that it requires willpower.  Persisting is not necessarily a persistent trait.  And everybody feels as though circumstances will eventually wear them down, that continued struggle is pointless.  “It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I just can’t get it” is a common catchcry amongst experiential learners.  “I feel like giving up for I’m just wasting my time” is another.  “I should have known that I’m not good enough to do this” is yet another, and perhaps the most distressing.

All of this is based on the traditional view that willpower is a finite resource that eventually runs out.  The only way to get it back is to take a break and return refreshed.  Just as there is a limit to the number of push-ups you can do at any one time, there is a limit to the amount of willpower you can apply.  But some recent research suggests that this may not be the case and that, perhaps, the limits to willpower are believed (or learned) rather than actual.  What changes if you realise that limited willpower is a self-fulfilling prophesy rather than a fact?  Are you able to turn this around by learning that your willpower is not limited, that it is possible to keep going and going?

Willpower might be a victim of context, willpower might be a slave to your experience and losing willpower might be a product of prior learning.  And while this prior learning is ‘muddied’ by all sorts of other factors, it is easier to conclude that willpower runs out rather than accept alternative explanations.

It is one thing to have the willpower, it is another to know or believe that you have it.  Which ‘will’ will you have – the sort that apparently runs out or the sort that you know allows to persist?

This too shall pass, except when ‘this’ is willpower!

Little Too Much, Lot To Little

November 4th, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

Have you read ‘Catch-22’ by Joseph Heller?   Here’s a small excerpt that defines the concept in the title:

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

It’s a paradox – a (surprising) contradiction or incompatibility that might just be true– and you’ll encounter paradoxes, things that run counter to expectations or truths as you know them as your learning journey unfolds.  The ongoing challenge is to sort out the apparently contradictory from the actually contradictory.

Here’s one paradox – the scope-severity paradox – that might have parallels with your learning.  ‘tis nobler would imagine that as something affects more people adversely, it is seen as worse than something that affects only a few.  But that’s not the case, something which has been demonstrated in research studies and in real-world situations.  As the scope or impact of something widens, perceived severity is reduced.  While it might be a leap, can you relate this to the frequency of errors or risks in your behaviour?

It seems that if there is one cat stuck up a tree, it’s a serious problem.  Twenty cats stuck up a tree, while probably more newsworthy (sigh) is not seen as more serious.  Do we focus too much on the ‘(relatively) trivial near’ at the expense of the ‘(relatively) important afar’?  Are a few proximal events more important to you than much more frequent distal events?  Do we focus on the local availability of bananas while ignoring the impact of rampant consumerism?

And what does this scope-severity paradox mean for your experiential learning and behavioural change?  What other paradoxes have you encountered in your journey?

From A Distance

November 3rd, 2010 | Specific | 0 Comments

Bette Midler sang that, from a distance, the world looked blue and green.  Does decision making look much simpler from a distance?  ‘tis nobler is sure that it does, which is one reason why there are so many armchair experts.  From a distance, decision making looks easy and obvious.

This may be one reason why decision making styles have received significant attention.  From a distance, it’s easy to sit back and categorise the general ways in which decisions are taken.  Many issues feature on these lists, presented independently and in no particular order – locus of control, rationality, dependency, utility, effort, impulsivity, priority, speed, consultation, information search and a willingness to compromise.  From a distance, it’s easy to say that a particular decision reflected a rash impulse, a lack of awareness of some relevant information, a desire to conclude rather than prolong or an interest in placing others ahead of yourself.

From a distance, it looks easy and obvious but, for your decisions, you’re not at a distance (despite what people say about introducing psychological distance, something much easier said than done), you are right in the thick of the action.

Forget general guidance about style or process, for they provide little practical support.  Aim to strengthen the connection between doing and deciding – you can’t do in one place and decide somewhere else, especially from a distance.  It’s important that your ‘doing’ and your ‘deciding’ are congruent – they are the product of sustained, engaged effort, they have become highly-practised, automated activities that reflect your preparation, skill, motives and values.  Just as a skilled performer ‘knows’ how to do, a skilled decider ‘knows’ what to do, making the best use of their experience, their anticipation and their awareness.  When these qualities are incomplete, can you imagine the effect on decision making? 

Find your own way and make the effort.  And then you’ll know what to do:

Horses For Courses

November 2nd, 2010 | Related | 0 Comments

It’s Melbourne Cup day.  Apparently, it’s the race that stops the nation, so ‘tis nobler is stopping for the day.  An appropriately equine-related song – Horse Warriors – from Radar Bros is followed by a song – Compliments – from an appropriately equine-related band – Band of Horses.

Enjoy.

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