It used to be that when someone asked me to look at something, or for feedback, I took it very seriously. Not “gravely” serious, but appropriately serious. I allocated what I felt would be sufficient time to give the task my undivided attention. I gave the whatever-it-was a deep thinking-through and tried to melt my mind into all the nooks and crannies(*).
Why? Because what do I desperately want when I ask someone for feedback? I want their fresh perspective.
I’ve already thought about it six ways to Sunday—I don’t even know what that means. I’ve a reason for every minuscule feature, every character, every color, … I don’t want you to ask me what sort of feedback I want… I don’t want you to get a pencil and pad out to write an outline… I don’t want you to think about what would be he best feedback to make the thing better… And these days I’m figuring that’s what everyone else wants too.
Just my first reaction. If I’m on my game, maybe my first few reactions; bonus points if I can muster a few positives and negatives. But either way, just *pow*, no holds barred. RFN (right now). As Pressfield said, hang the note right on the doorknob: “Your baby is ugly.” “That’s the most elegant Rube-Goldberg device I’ve ever seen.”
And then maybe ask a question or three once I’ve done the hard work of doing what I was asked.
* Anyone else always associate that phrase with butter and Thomas’s English muffins?
A lot of my thinking, and sometimes even my problem solving, revolves around juxtaposition. What would the inverse of the current this be? Can I gain useful perspective from the other position? Big/small, loud/quiet, perfuse/sparse, etc.; there are many obvious qualities that create striking changes in perspective. However, I find particularly rewarding juxtapositions in unusual dimensions, and there’s one dimension in particular that pays off more than all others: Time.
Have a problem? …how would I solve it if I had 100 years? …what would have to be the case if I were going to solve it in 5 minutes?
It’s become common to talk about “minimum viable product” in the entrepreneurial space, and that’s a form of time constraint. (But it’s a useful idea because it also includes other constraints such as resources and people.)
The famous Getting Things Done system has many critical components. One in particular is paying attention to the next action for any given project. (And in GTD everything you do in your entire life is a ‘project’.) This too is a form of time constraint; it’s not, “I’ll move this project forward at some point in time,” (the perspective of unlimited time,) rather it’s, “if I was going to move this project forward in the next minute…”
Where in your life might a shift to expectation of greater or lesser time yield a huge benefit?
This is a news flash to some: It’s okay to experience unpleasant feelings. It’s okay for things to happen that you don’t want to happen. It is possible to notice these things happening and consciously allow them to be there. And it makes a huge difference to how traumatic or not-so-bad the experience ends up being.
I believe that in some people circumspection develops with age.
I love to remind myself: If things are not going as I’d wish, relax because they won’t last. Also, if things are going as I’d wish, relax because they won’t last either.
There will be a last time that I awake from sleep. There will be a last time I have dinner with my mom. There will be a last line of software I write. There will be a last parkour jump I do. There will also be a last wasp sting, a last broken bone, a last heart-break, and the hottest and stickiest time I’ve ever experienced.
Why exactly should I be affected by the flat tire on my bicycle, the traffic jam, the cancelled flight or the irate customer?
In outer space you develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics looks so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, “Look at that, you son of a bitch.”
Weak as I am, I carry on the war to the last moment, I get a hundred pike thrusts, I return two hundred and I laugh. I see near my door Geneva on fire with quarrels over nothing, and I laugh again; And, thank god, I can look upon the world as a farce even when it becomes as tragic as it sometimes does. All comes out even at the end of the day, and all comes out still more even when all the days are over.
There are exceptions, such as when I travel, where I end up unconscious on some other horizontal surface, but it’s as sure a rule as any that no matter what kinds of wild or unpredictable events happen during the day, the conclusion is quite predictable: me, horizontal and comatose.
~ David Cain
Elsewhere, I’ve written specifically about sleeping. Sleep itself is fascinating, and a critical component to—well, everything; Life, quality thereof, the ability to think, and so on.
But until I read David’s piece, I’ve never had the vertiginous perspective of millions of people laying out horizontally and slipping unconscious. A rolling wave of countless people passing into unconsciousness as the world rotates. It’s eery, a third of all people are unconscious right at this moment. Also this moment. And in a relatively few more moments, I will be unconscious again.
I’m not certain, but I think my perspective upon first awakening may have shifted a little towards the, “oh! This is interesting,” end of things.
Social conditioning may have convinced you that sacrificing your happiness to maintain a certain bank balance, to send timely payments to corporations to which you’re indebted, or to pay for someone else’s needs and expenses is the proper way to live. Perhaps your parents played a role in this conditioning as well, teaching you the importance of being responsible and holding down stable employment.
~ Steve Pavlina
There’s a lot of value to the idea of, “and now that you are moving, you can steer.” Lots of metaphors here: A ship’s rudder doesn’t work unless the ship is moving; A car cannot turn around unless it is moving; etc. But there’s a vastly bigger picture that, “you can steer,” will never reveal.
It doesn’t matter how fast I’m “moving” or how well I “steer” if I’m on the wrong eff’in continent.
Steve often writes phoofy new-age mumbo jumbo stuff that I can’t even read. Why do I keep reading [you might ask]? Filter bubble. Perspective. Articles like this one which challenge the reader to wipe off the entire board and consider redrawing the plate tectonics.