Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Eternal Fight over The Holy Land

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DESTINY’S CHILDREN

Pilot Concept for a Television Drama Series
 

Students of many nationalities at the United Nations International School (UNIS) in Manhattan are concerned about the Israel-Palestine crisis. They find themselves forming a group to do something about it.

Arguments break out about what they can do, and what the solution is. The Iraqi boy has very different ideas from the Israeli girl, who although at odds are attracted to each other. The other kids, American, Russian, French, Israeli, Arab, and so on, all have their own perspectives.  

Interacting with UN officials and their parents who are in some cases UN diplomats, they evolve a step-by-step plan for averting what they see as the dominos leading to a possible world war. The plan all of them finally agree upon: the desired Palestinian state will come into existence under UN administration. UN peace zones have never failed*. Israel’s main concern about a secure strategically defensible border would be seemingly solved. There could be a long-range anticipation that one day perhaps the UN would leave the nation to its autonomy once the world was convinced of its maturity to handle that autonomy peaceably.

The Iraqi boy and the Israeli girl are now on the same side, and they become an item.

The kids distribute a paper about their plan at the UN but nothing changes, and in the kids’ minds they see a probable military powder keg explosion looming. A number of UN delegates explain to them the flaws in their plan and why it will never work, but other UN delegates encourage them and give them suggestions.

A few of them get interviewed on a television talk show and the next day their ideas are debated in the Security Council and in the General Assembly. The students are elated and inspired and decide that to continue to have an effect they should create their own weekly television series, THE KIDS’ UN. An interactive show utilizing social media in which kids can participate from around the world — with webcams even, and with the kernel of the show being a drama series about kids putting on a show like this.

As they struggle with starting a production with almost no money, and they and their families feel that the probability of a world war continues to mount, some of the kids come under family pressure because of differing ideas and the possibility of political reprisals. This tears apart the romance of the Iraqi boy and the Israeli girl.

The students put a rough pilot together and play it for key diplomats and video their reactions, hoping they will hear support. But the opposite happens. They meet objections for which they have no answers.

Mulling it all over afterward they strike on answers. The main objection is that “it’s not a brilliant new proposal: it’s been suggested many times before.” It would therefore need a twist to get attention, someone had said.

And so they change their plan: they will propose to rename the contested territories that the Palestinians want as their own state: “The First World State of Palestine”.

People around the world who believe in the idea of One World, will be asked to help make that idea a reality, by visiting The First World State of Palestine at least once a year. If they do so they get to carry a second passport as citizens of Earth. They need to revisit the First World State once a year to maintain this passport.

One of the students makes a guess at the tourism revenues that would be added to the region: if only ten percent of the people in the world today believe in the idea of One World, that’s 500 million people. If only one in five of them can afford to fly over each year and spend only $1000 each, that’s a hundred billion dollars a year. Surely a stabilizing boon to the region’s economy.

And with Israel replaced by the UN as caretaker in Palestine, the area would once again be safe for tourists. Once in the region, people would visit The Pyramids, Israel, and other places as well as Palestine. Other destinations in the region would begin advertising themselves…

The fiery debates between the Iraqi boy and Israeli girl in the kids’ councils are what gave rise to the First World State idea. The two are brought back together by it.

_____________________________________________________________ 

Just retrieved the above from the archives. It was written in 1990.

Back then my contact at the UN was George LeClere, the media director, who liked the First World State idea. He put me in touch with the Israeli Foreign Ministry Undersecretary and with Palestinian Observer Zehdi Terzi. I met with Mr. Terzi in the UN Plaza Hotel, and he felt the idea was worth considering, especially after I showed him the encouraging letter from the Israeli Undersecretary. Later Mr. Terzi reported that Yasser Arafat had liked the idea too and was willing to go on TV saying as much. George LeClere offered me the UN video facilities to produce a talk special on this subject with all the key players. At the time we both imagined we could get Dick Cavett to be the host.

Jimmy Carter sent me a second handwritten note, this time saying that the peace talks had to be started ‘without crippling preconditions’. In the context, I took it he was saying to hold off on airing any idea. We followed his guidance. We shelved the TV show idea.

Before closing the door on the idea, we penned Destiny’s Children (the start of this post) as a fictional TV drama series, on the premise that it wouldn’t have the same negative effect Carter advised against. We never sent it to anyone, feeling that I was just rationalizing by thinking fiction could be less dangerous than nonfiction.

Now, 21 years later, we and the world are back in the same mess again in the Holy Land. The Palestinians are asking the UN for recognition as a nation, and the expectation is that they will drag Israel into a war crimes tribunal if they are granted statehood. This is ironic in the extreme since as recently as October 1, 2011 Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said “Palestinians must resort to resistance no matter how costly it is, until Palestine is free and Israel is destroyed.” Speaking at the same conference in Tehran, Iran supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the Palestinians should not limit themselves to seeking a country based on the pre-1967 borders because “all land belongs to Palestinians.” These are the people contemplating accusing others of war crimes while they plot the destruction of another nation.

One precondition that the UN should institutionalize for recognition of any new nation is that it officially accepts the existence of all states currently recognized by the UN and will not be an aggressor state against any UN member states. This would symmetrically establish that Palestine cannot become a nation without agreeing that its neighbor Israel has a right to exist there. And as a provision its inherent fairness is obvious. “We’ll recognize your right to exist, if you’ll recognize our right to exist.”

Maybe bringing up a crazy idea like the First World State can at least jog Acceleritis-paralyzed minds into some better-informed or out-of-the-box thinking than I can produce right now. Even if the FWS idea itself is a non-starter for some reason. I conjecture that my esteemed readership contains the top percentile of out-of-the-box thinkers of any media audience. If anyone can think up an idea worth considering it is one or all of you.

Let’s hope so.

Best to all,

Bill

* After this TV treatment was written in 1990, UN peace zones were perceived failures in Rwanda and in Lebanon.

A Founding Father Reincarnates

What If?

Consider this post to be metaphorical rather than something we are proposing is possible. Of course, neither is it impossible, based on the current state of science.

Picture a day like all days, one day in the near future, say around the start of election season.

Out of the blue, there on television, as you flip the channels in your living room, is what looks like an actor made up to look just like George Washington, sitting there talking to a well-known TV journalist.

You take it off mute just for a moment out of curiosity.

The journalist is asking, “Mr. President,” (your eyebrows raise as this is a serious journalist looking serious so perhaps this is not a Saturday Night Live rerun you missed) “why have you waited so long? The USA has been in trouble for quite some time now and many of us are suffering more than we like to admit.”

“Had to pick the time of course,” Washington says. “It had to be a time where one of us could make the difference,” apparently referring to the Founding Fathers. “This is the right time because there is no choice anymore. We stand a good chance now and if it does not work then all has been in vain.”

“You’re speaking of the national debt I assume sir?”

“More than the current trillion or so of debt — what about the going-forward annual shortfall, the budget deficit?” Washington asks “We are looking at tens of trillions over the next decade even if we arrest the course and set things straight. It’s got to get worse before it gets better. That’s the hard part. Americans don’t like hearing about that.”

“Sir, can you tell us what you would do?”

“Yes sir I can, that’s exactly why I’m here. Without stringing it out, first we have to stop blaming and start thinking of new out-of-the-box creative ideas for the underlying problems. These ideas need to be studied carefully without rejecting any out of hand based on opinion alone — what has happened before, factually, if something like this has been tried, computer simulations, even in-market tests in small areas. Secondly we have to work out the economics carefully in advance so that we speed up the inflection point where we start to see the debt being paid down and the people getting back some fairly basic amenities like jobs and good schools.”

“Is that it?” The journalist actually blushes at what he’s just blurted. “I’m sorry sir, I do not mean any disrespect. But surely it’s going to be a lot more complicated than that?”

“I thought you fellows invented sound bites?” Washington quips and smiles for only a second then his face turns serious again. “Of course it’s complicated. I’m just trying to lay the keel first. If we don’t know the main ideas we will never get the details right either. The key is to be objective and to have solidarity with one another, and to think out of the box, because none of the ideas we have generated thus far are going to do the job, and we all know it.”

“In the green room you seemed to be making solidarity the overarching principle,” the journalist commented.

“It is. Think about the word ‘union’ and its derivative ‘united’. The United States of America. Closet mystics that we all were, we dreamed secretly that one day there would be a United States of Earth. Just as the Temple at Jerusalem was to be a temple of all religions, The USA was to be a land to serve the whole world; to be the seed crystal from which Unity would ripple out.

“Now,” Washington goes on, “all we see on television is that the two parties are at each other’s throats. Of course, that would be the first stage after denial — anger. But as we often said back in the day, we’re just wasting time now trying to blame it on somebody else. Let’s get on with the solution. Every day we waste time this way we are investing in future suffering.”

The journalist interrupts “But sir, isn’t part of the solution to find the guilty?”

“‘Let him or her who is without sin cast the first stone’, as Jesus wisely said,” Washington gently notes. “We are all a little guilty aren’t we? There is a grey area between tax shelters and gaming the system. Once you see that you have even a little bit of ‘taking advantage’ in your own behavior, how can you continue to be so mad at those who were sucked even further into this direction by a system that was fundamentally not thinking out the details clearly enough.”

“Sir, I don’t understand.”

“The system was designed to be perfect, to operate perfectly, with checks and balances and a built-in self-learning method called the legislature. The only thing we didn’t think deeply enough about was how ignoble motivations could derail our ideas. There weren’t a lot of ignoble emotions among us back at our nation’s dawn. We were as babes in the woods in that terrain. We didn’t foresee how the system could be made to operate poorly to the extent that individuals were seduced by ego, power, money and sex. We could have built in even more creative controls if we had those insights back then. But it is not too late now. We can fix the dream machine so that it works perfectly —” Washington cuts himself off. “Well, this is Earth not heaven so I won’t say ‘perfectly’. Let’s settle for a perpetually balanced budget and a land of comity and brotherhood/sisterhood.”*

“How do we get there, sir?”

“Lay aside the blame and start thinking creatively. Stop rehashing the same old ideas in different garb. We are afraid to do so in the atmosphere that pulls down anyone who has a word out of place, we interrupt constantly, and this is the first signal that we have all lost respect for each other and therefore for ourselves and everything else. But bravely expressing the ideas you have — even when you are unsure of them — is the way to fill the idea marketplace with grist for the mill. Perhaps your lame sounding idea can provoke a new line of thought. Speaking your mind out was one of the freedoms, the innate rights we see in all people, the core of Democracy. If we hesitate to speak out because of the current atmosphere, then everything has gone to hell in a handbasket at the core already; the rest of the fruit will go next unless we change the core.”

“Surely sir there are some among us who deserve to go to jail, or at least be taken out of their power seats, or they will continue to ruin us?” the journalist doggedly persists.

“Stop picturing good guys and bad guys,” Washington says. “We need to all get past these conventional mind traps. We need to get into unconventional ways of seeing situations. Out of the box. Instead of seeing good and bad people, just try on for size another way of looking at it, keeping an open mind. I know, this is very difficult — that’s what got us into this pickle. Picture the tendency to bad behavior to be like a mind virus. What it is in reality is not the point now. First we have to stop the bleeding before we give the patient a nose job. We are action oriented, and whatever way of looking at things that helps us think our way to effective solutions will have been a useful fiction for its time. Later, scientists can pick it apart and explain to us the details of how we got ourselves into this mess and out of it, teaching us things that will help Life in the future. For now, let’s experimentally employ any mind tricks available to see if they can help us.”

“Sir, help me visualize how you’d like to see this turning around.”

“All I can do is what I just recommended to all of us. I will share with you my first crazy ideas about how this is going to play out and how the American people are essentially so smart that despite slowing ourselves down with silliness we will get to the balanced and prosperous state we want. Don’t judge the ideas —” Washington turns to the camera and speaks to the people directly — “just ask yourselves ‘ok that doesn’t work but is there some variation on the idea that could work? What needs to happen beforehand in order to change the underlying conditions that would prevent George Washington’s first cut from working?’

“I see,” Washington says, turning back from the camera to talk to the journalist — and then he looks a little to the left of the man and seems to be staring into the future. “We have to cut the budget in the most obviously off-kilter categories first — and yet we have to make such cuts in ways that vastly jack up the efficiency and effectiveness of the remaining dollars in the categories we’ve reduced. Probably working with for-profits in win/win ways — like the highly successful Boxtops for Education program launched by General Mills in 1996, which has so far raised $400 million for America’s schools. This is just one of many successful partnerships between for-profits and the public sector — and we need more, utilizing advertising sponsorships, cause marketing, affinity clubs, social media.

“First and foremost we cannot default on Social Security. To make up the gap, in addition to budget cuts, we will need to tax not only the income but also the accumulated wealth of the rich. I would prefer them to come forward and volunteer that money philanthropically — perhaps we can make that work instead, or some combination. Doctors among the rich might find this the appropriate time to voluntarily lower their rates. We need to inspect the profiteering of companies and individuals, and do this objectively, respectfully, and efficiently — which calls to mind applications of the Internet as one of the sources of efficiency we need. Where government has become inefficiently bureaucratic and there are rules we have made that prevent bureaucrats from layoffs, or that provide excessive perks to public servants, we need to fix those rules. We are going to have to find ways to move people out of jobs and into other jobs, about which more in a moment.

“We’re going to have to encourage more barter trade within the USA. People out of work will need ways to log on and indicate the kinds of work they can do and we’ll have to do a combo Craigslist and MatchMakers, preferably in partnership between the public and private sectors, in order to help connect people and jobs.

“Work programs to put everyone back to work have to in some form be part of this. Bridges and dams need to be rebuilt. Where necessary, perhaps we can find empty real estate to house those in the work programs. We have big-hearted people here in America and we can encourage patriotism in the form of greater charity towards the needy, especially those heroic individuals joining work programs, a true form of community service; I have every confidence that most of us will respond to such a call. Beyond work programs, there is the need to upgrade skill sets. I must add that your current leaders have been generous in this regard to those on the Unemployment rolls — but this effort needs to extend to all who need and are willing to upgrade their skills. I see us helping private corporations to work together to create a computer code whose interface to the programmer is like a kinetic video game, so that everyone in the USA can become a computer programmer if they so desire — because there is no end of work for those people. Because belt tightening is not the future I want for our baby — this noble experiment we are all still caretaking and guiding and leading — we must as a nation find ways to generate huge wealth together — like this all-programmers project, for example.

“There are other ways to generate wealth that require out-of-the-box thinking. There is an organization that today is thriving and largely insulated from the recession — crime. It makes most of its money by catering to illegal pastimes that, while unsavory, do not harm anyone other than the person indulging, for the most part. By decriminalizing drugs, prostitution and gambling, the government can make those pastimes safer for the indulgers, can offer options to the indulgers that will gradually take some of them into more positive uses of time and thereby reduce collateral damage, and we can generate the dollars we need to provide for the elderly and the needy, and to rebuild the infrastructure, especially education. This will also take funds away from the crime/terrorism sector. Again, making these things legal gives us more exposure and opportunity to suggest other job opportunities for prostitutes, bookies and dealers as well as suggesting other options to their customers.”

Washington smiles to himself as if over an old memory. “We used to kid Tom — Mr. Jefferson — about his soapbox. Of course, we all believed in Democracy out of an innate trust in the wisdom of the people — otherwise it would be insane to contemplate putting one’s life in their hands. We assumed that public education would be well cared for. This is what gave us courage to trust the people. What we think of as education includes deep thinking about life, and connecting to the inner knowing of the spirit dimension. This never actually came to pass in our schools, and for good reason: we separated Church and State. What we didn’t think enough about was how the Spirit side of the equation was going to stay opened up. Of course, we never foresaw how the accelerating grind of life was going to alter that feeling of connectedness. Today’s people do not realize how different it all was then. It was something you felt at all times. You didn’t know what it was, or Is — God, or something else? But it was there. Today you can’t feel that as we did then. You are simply moving too fast.”

“You and the other Founders must be very sad,” the journalist sympathizes, realizing how in love with America this man is.

Washington shakes his head. “We see education as the main solution direction. All we are is a group of people in a piece of land. The land is a vast resource, but just a small fraction of the potential value stored up in the people. Optimized, the people become as God On Earth — full of wisdom and bonhomie, grace and culture. Optimized means that education is the main force for Good that exists in the world. When I say ‘education’ — from the Latin educare, to draw out something that is in there, not to pump anything in — this is up to more than just the schools and churches. It is also up to the media, corporate climates, climates within every organization — every organization in America must be fired up with the zeal to optimize its people in a well-rounded way. They have no mandate to exclude the spiritual — we must all be willing to talk about the spiritual dimension again without fearing that it is sure to divide us; we can find common ground because it is there waiting for us. One of the first lessons must be forgiveness: we must stop wasting time pointing fingers. Let us declare a National Amnesty on those who have taken too much for themselves just because everyone else was doing it.

“Verily sir, I tell you that if we do not stop this disunity at once, the greatest hope for humanity will be literally torn in shreds,” Washington says darkly but then instantly brightens, “This is where we were a couple of times before,” he says, “and those were times we showed what America is made of. We rose above our ordinary levels of performance and made idealism practical. That is who we are: practical idealists. This is one of those times where our ability to be heroes must prevail — not just for glory, power, money and sex, but because it is innate, it is who we are, it is our nature to be heroes.”

This is one way a Founder might look at it.

Best to all,

Bill

 

*Here I would respectfully differ from Washington and say that given sufficient centuries it can be heaven-like here on Earth. That is a spiritual viewpoint and I would not impose it on anyone.

If You’re Not Enjoying Your Self, Something’s Wrong

Most of the time if we are not having fun we just assume “what else is new.” This method asks you to assume differently.

Assume that if you are in a bad mood or feel a negative physical symptom, this is a communication to you. The highest priority then is to decode the message and thereby reverse the emotional or physical quandary.

It could be that your subconscious is trying to tell you something. This is an autonomic alarm system we all have. If for example your current activities are not in alignment with your goals, or if you have set a goal that is not in alignment with your core values, parts of your mind will try to bring this to your conscious attention any way they can, and often the signaling will involve feelings of distress or something not right. It could start out one day as a bad mood you don’t even realize you are in, then escalate as the signal strength is gradually increased in an attempt to finally get your attention. If this persists long enough it can turn into physical symptoms. It is all about communication — in this case, internal communication.

Don’t get lost in the suffering so as to forget to decode first ahead of anything else. Act as if you deserve to be happy at all times. Getting lost in the suffering is what most of us do at most times, and this is a life-threatening waste of time. It also blocks your quality. No point in soldiering on in a bad mood because whatever you do in that state will not be in the range of high quality / high effectiveness. Better to let the work fall even farther behind while you figure out what is bugging you and dispel it by taking the action required, whatever it is.

One of the primary characteristics of Flow state (aka the Zone) is that the individual is doing something s/he loves to do, and is immersed fully in the playing of that game as a game, without over-motivation to win or over-concern of failure — and above all that, impregnable by attachments, free. This mood is a clue that you are in the process of moving into higher effectiveness and you just go with the flow enjoying it — and if you don’t distract yourself by subtly gloating over it, you go all the way into the Zone.

If something is bringing you down, that is going to block the Zone. So set aside your work and get yourself somewhere where you are uninterruptible, and see inside yourself to detect where the bad mood or sick feeling might be coming from.

It is likely you are attached to something that you now have fear of not getting. Or you are attached to something not happening that some part of you now expects will be happening anyway. What could it be?

You might find that taking notes helps, especially if you let the pen just write, without editing. This is because different neuron clusters become engaged when you go from just pondering to also writing notes. Shifting modalities like this is like sweeping a searchlight around inside your psyche.

Another way to shift modalities and bring different neurons into play is to turn aside from actively thinking about the question and instead just cultivate emptiness inside while paying sharp attention. This is a powerful shift of neurons, known to other writers. For example, adman James Webb Young’s 1960 classic A Technique For Producing Ideas speaks about a need to set aside all thought about a project after studying and thinking deeply about it, and sure enough flashes of inspiration will appear out of nowhere (usually within three days in this writer’s experience, frequently within hours nowadays after decades of practicing this and other techniques).

The effectiveness of this kind of internal gear shifting is perhaps most commonly observed when we are frustrated trying to think of a word or name. It is on the tip of our tongue and we keep trying the same file drawer in our mind certain that with enough effort we will remember it. But we don’t remember it until we give up and then it easily pops into our head a short while later. This appears to be because we were forcing ourselves into the wrong file drawer and therefore blocking the retrieval.

To recap, we are discussing micro-methodologies to carry out the imperative of not taking foul moods for granted but instead getting to the bottom of the causes, so that action plans can be made that will help to overcome whatever is secretly bothering you. This will also tend to improve your physical health and keep you looking young. However our main goal is to get you out of lower states into the highest performing state Flow state (the Zone) or into the next best thing, the access state right before that, which we call the Observer state. Thus our purpose steadfastly remains to improve the creative effectiveness of our readers thus improving decision making for as many people as possible.

Test this method over the next week or lifetime and see if you don’t agree that it works. There is no downside risk in the lifetime test — it can only help you, or at the worst change nothing.

This has been another installment of our summary release of psychotechnology here at the blog of The Human Effectiveness Institute. We suggest that the condensation of this kind of subtle guidance system is also worth testing by getting our book or video. Another word from our sponsor. :-)

Let’s review the techniques presented in the last few posts:

  1. Create in yourself and your team a mood of optimization, where that mood has the highest priority over self-aggrandizement or any other more typical mood.
  2. Banish negativity as ineffective time-wasting and rechannel it into a stimulus to discern root sources and then plan / implement effective actions to remove those root causes of the negativity.
  3. Respect yourself and everyone and everything else. Disrespect blocks solutions and creates new problems.
  4. Remain open to the existence of all possibilities where you have not proven — with evidence that would stand up in court and to scientific public scrutiny — that some possibility does not in fact exist.
  5. Do not tolerate bad moods or sickly symptoms in oneself without seeking out the root causes and taking effective action to remove those causes.

These are but a few of the techniques we share in our book and video. Lately people have told me they love the book but their busy lives are spinning out of time control entirely nowadays so the book sits with other books half-finished. My suggestion is to not read the book but just open it at random — especially at times when you do not feel on top of your game. One of the most frequently mentioned ideas in the thousands of endorsement letters and emails we have received from readers is this use of the random pages method. This is the way we suggest circumventing Acceleritis to still get the benefit of our book despite “never having enough time anymore.”

Best to all,

Bill

Re-Imagine Your Life with Fewer Constraints

Featuring two Mind Movies

What if you suddenly had more freedom? You could do whatever you wanted to do. What would you do? Before continuing to read, take a moment and jot down a few quick notes as you ponder this question.

Read on, and you will get one major step closer to that freedom in the next few minutes.

Now, take a look at what you wrote down (or thought about, if you didn’t actually write anything). This is supposedly what you really want out of life.

Is it? Is what you wrote/thought really what would make you the happiest?

If the answer is anything but a resounding YES!, then perhaps you have not been fully honest with yourself in the past, and perhaps your biggest current plans in life are still, deep down, something that you are settling for, because you believe you cannot have what you really want.

What would your ideal life actually be? Drop all constraints in your thinking — the question is not what might be realistic but rather what is the ideal, unconstrained and unrestricted.

Every moment we face choices. When we make these choices it is always in the context of our options. But we don’t consider all of our options. Therefore we make some choices that might be okay but without realizing it we just threw away a choice that could have been superb. A choice we didn’t even know we had.

Why don’t we consider all of our options? Hidden assumptions keep us from even posting those options on the bulletin board of our minds. We don’t have sufficient insight into our own thought process to even suspect that we only consider the options we think might actually be do-able — just a small proportion of our real options.

And by restricting our thinking to what we at the moment think is do-able for us, we are leaving out too much.

First of all we might discover that something has changed so what was unrealistic before is realistic now. But more importantly, unless we start from the ideal, we will never fully understand ourselves and so cannot be creative in bridging the gaps to get to the ideal. Settling for a “good enough” scenario, whether for our lives, or for our company, or for any situation, is not the way to generate creative thinking. The real value of the ideal is that it always generates creative thinking because achieving it seems out of reach.

Creative thinking is valuable because, even if it doesn’t always get you to the ideal, it gets you closer than if you just exclude the ideal from the beginning of your thought process.

We are operating within self-imposed constraints. We have been told so many things are impossible and advised to not aim so high because we will be heartbroken when we fail.

We also live in a reductionist culture that tends to lop off possibilities from our thinking —this would not normally occur to us, because reductionism is so ingrained in all of us. You might have a hunch taking a certain path could get you exactly what you want, but the reductionist culture says hunches are irrelevant, so the hunch gets left out of your set of alternatives. However, your hunch might have been right, and you might have just thrown away your biggest chance in life.

Hunches should not be thrown out. Include them in the list of possibilities you consider when facing an important choice.

From time to time in these postings we bring you summary insight into one new method for optimizing performance for you and your team — bringing you first into the Observer state and then into the Zone. We write these postings in hopes of directly lifting the probabilities that the largest number of people spend as much time as possible in the Observer state and Flow state (the Zone). We hope also to move more people to read our book, which contains much more than summary insight, including detailed instructions for spending more time in the Observer state and Flow state.

Recently we have brought you summary insight into the mood of optimization, negativity controls, and the power of respect. Today we are talking about the power of imagination.

Most of the population most of the time is in a mental state that has all but shut down the imagination. We have dubbed this state EOP, for Emergency Oversimplification Procedure. It’s what happens when there is an information overload. All parts of consciousness are negatively affected, none worse than the imagination.

Relaxation would be most conducive to imagination, but unfortunately Acceleritis — the acceleration of the global information overload — produces stress not relaxation. This robs mental energy needed to propel imagination, limits the perceived time to do something so seemingly impractical as using our imagination, and creates a mood that blocks imagination by focusing on a list of must-do’s under time pressure.

But even worse than any of these limitations, even when we give ourselves time and let our imaginations run free, our imaginations have been constrained for so long by a reductionist culture that we don’t even realize has stunted our assumptions about reality.

We find it hard to imagine things that quantum mechanics has already proven do exist. In our gut, even if we go to church, we may feel strongly that God is just wishful thinking and superstition, yet we may not realize that God could be something different than what religion teaches — something more than what religion teaches. A universe that requires an observer — the universe we live in, according to quantum mechanics and relativity — could have an original observer that came before all other observers. As soon as we realize this, the question of whether in fact God exists becomes a completely different conversation. Who was the original observer?

Our imaginations fail again to keep up with latest science in being unable to conceive of consciousness as just as primary as matter or more so — which is true in the universe we live in, according to quantum mechanics, relativity, string theory, multiverse theory, and the latest scientific findings regarding extrasensory perception.

In a universe in which the observer is mathematically impossible to remove from the scientific picture, all of our materialistic assumptions about our personal identity, the existence of God, whether death is the end of consciousness, become equal to superstition in the degree to which they are unproven and unscientific.

It is time to live life with a conscious awareness that we do not know the truth about any of these subjects — that anything is possible, and our actions second-by-second need to factor in more possibilities than we ever imagined.

The fact that we would like one set of realities more than another does not automatically mean that the one we like is impossible.

Science today is in fact beginning to lean toward hypotheses conjecturing that by liking one reality we help create it. The mind does appear to be able to modify probabilities.

Some of what we think is impossible is probably not impossible. It’s time to loosen the assumption machine up and see how this changes things. It’s time to re-open our minds to the existence of all possibilities — just as science now has.

Stop saying “No” when you imagine possibilities, even if you do this just as an experiment.

Let’s try two experiments right now. We have opened up our minds together. Now without shutting down again let’s co-produce two Mind Movies.

Einstein rocked the world with his mind experiments. We like to use our Mind Movies in much the same way but on a more personal, less cosmological level.

First, the movie of your life. Get comfortable, remove any sense of time pressure, and imagine the rest of your life as a movie playing out from where you are now to where you would love to be. What are the little successes that add up one-by-one to take you to your ideal state?

Jot down a few quick notes of what you discover. Might be a few workable ideas in there that you can turn into reality.

Now, let’s write the movie of the world. Get comfortable again, free yourself of time pressure, and see a movie of how the world moves step-by-step from where it is now to a perpetual paradise — what steps do you see happening in the ideal world?

Jot down some quick notes again.

This exercise can be used when planning for your company. One clue is to look at competitors in terms of what they do best and what your company does best, and see which companies besides yours could continue to thrive by counterspecialization, without limiting your success. What bold or subtle moves could you make that would push the situation so that competitors would get the idea to follow specializations that are different from yours? How could you use coopetition* to bring about a counterspecialized situation that leaves room for more competitors to be successful?

This movie-of-the-ideal-outcome exercise can be applied to interpersonal situations or to pretty much anything. Our ability to stretch our imaginations is surprisingly resilient and can spring back very quickly despite decades of neglect.

All we have to do is let ourselves imagine the ideal.

Here’s a relevant selection from our book Freeing Creative Effectiveness.

Best to all,

Bill

* Coopetition refers to companies that compete finding ways to work together in specific areas.

Creating a Mood of Mental Optimization in Your Organization, with the Power of Respect

The charter of The Human Effectiveness Institute defines our mission as improving decision making. As you delve into our material you discover that it is clarity we aim to engender as the means to improved decisions. A clarity that is lacking due to Acceleritis and EOP.

Distraction is the agency through which Acceleritis diminishes our clarity. The control of distraction both externally and especially internally is the focus of many of our methods. But even when one is paying singlepointed attention/concentration to one thing, the Zone may be elusive.

The Zone block in that case could be motivational. If we are attached to the outcome, feel overmatched, or bored — if these types of feelings are present, they too are distractions, even if we are not consciously aware of them until someone or something brings them to our attention. Our methods are designed to help you notice these subliminal feelings in yourself sooner rather than later, with no need for something external to jog you to realize the presence of such feelings.

Mental optimization is the underlying idea behind Psychotechnology, which is our rubric for any methods that help you work better in the world through clearer decisions. Methods that move you from EOP to Observer state to the Zone.

Mental optimization is a mood — a modality of consciousness that shapes the choices consciousness makes, shapes its information processing priorities, shapes everything that consciousness does. The way large masses with their gravity shape spacetime.

Mood is a supervening variable. It is where consciousness starts out each moment before any thoughts or feelings, memories or sensory percepts, or hunches/intuitions, arise. This is why mood is the shaping governor of which specific thoughts/feelings/percepts/intuitions arise and get your attention.

If you run the show, you can create a mood of mental optimization in your organization. The list of benefits is endless. Everyone will be in a mood of enjoying the game of making everything better, each second, the way a hero/heroine does, without internal pettiness to ruin the perfect pleasure.

Organizations run enormously better this way.

It is like expanding what you do in optimizing a marketing plan (demand), and optimizing the supply chain, and optimizing the balance sheet — applied even more broadly to optimizing the entire operation.

It is also the single best thing you can do to mentor and make good on the promise of nurturing and developing your team members, bringing out the best in each one of them. Showing them the mood, getting them into the ultimate game, where they feel its gamelike fun through and through — this is the basis for which they will continually choose this mood until they wake up every day with it fully operational in their consciousness.

How do you do this? How do you get them into the mood?

It starts with you being in the mental optimization mood. Telling them it’s your new modality. Offering to share it with them. They will ask, “Okay, so what do I do first?”

You’ll tell them the first rule is to assume, as an operating principle regardless of right and wrong, that negativity inside is useless and obstructive to optimization.

You’ll have to give examples and practice this. The best examples will be closest to home. Describe how you did it yourself — something happened recently to the organization and your first feeling was anger at certain people or entities — then you quickly set that aside as not optimal and began your search for problem definitions, opportunities hidden or obvious, and solution oriented win-win action plans, including provision for major refinement based on feedback along the way. Give a few examples of how you turned a challenge into a win for the organization by not wasting time with negativity nor letting it interfere with your ability to conjure a win-win solution.

Obviously you can’t come up with perfect win-win ideas while you want someone to lose because you are mad at them.

You’re even less effective at hurting them when you are sucked into negativity. Not that we espouse hurting anybody as a reasonable goal for an organization. Just pointing out how useless and counterproductive negativity really is.

But, dear reader, I hear you thinking, “Sure, Bill, you already told us about negativity in the last post. What else is there?”

There is respect. Respect is the second principle worth sharing here. Everyone wants it. The thing that usually causes people to quit ultimately comes down to respect. Either they didn’t feel it enough, or the position somehow compromised their internal self-respect, or usually both hand in hand.

Of course most people are in EOP almost all the time, so although their true self wanted respect, the way this manifested was that their ego was wounded and/or they were attached to having their egos flattered. This was coming not from their self that was born, but rather from the software layer functionally called the ego and structurally consisting of neurons built in the brain since birth, which exhibit the robotical behavior that highjacks the mind — this is EOP.

These people could have been kept in the organization by providing them true respect in the right ways and not necessarily by fanning the flames of their ego. What is the right way to show respect? There are many, including:

  1. Not interrupting.
  2. Providing just the right degree of autonomy i.e. not micro managing.
  3. Not utilizing lateral second guessing as a quality control process.
  4. Offering suggestions in the right way i.e. aimed at optimization goals held in common by those in the conversation, and without putting down anyone else’s ideas.

Not an exhaustive list. Let’s delve more deeply into each of these just for clarity.

You should run the meetings you are in either openly or subtly. If it’s someone else’s meeting, be subtle but make sure people are always allowed to finish their thoughts (method 1). Exceptions would be the rare but obvious cases where someone is talking too much and slowing things down. In those cases be careful to use respect and ensure respect from the group to the person who is being longwinded, while keeping things moving. Often the way to do this is to offer an offline meeting with that person at a later time. At that meeting you would employ method 4 above — showing respect in the way that you offer corrective constructive feedback. Your employee will appreciate the feedback if you do it in the right way — the optimization focus with respect — not a put-down.

The optimization mood gives you permission — in fact mandates you — to tell employees the hard truth of what they are doing wrong — but with respect so they can actually appreciate it.

Flashback war story. Hal Miller, my first boss in the media business, was a great mentor and implementer of all these principles. In his training program with two other people at the time we developed full marketing communications plans for a fictitious brand. He had each of us present to him alone in conference room with him pretending to be George Washington Hill, CEO of American Tobacco Company in the 30s and early 40s. Hal’s feet were up on the conference table and there were holes in his socks. He smoked a big cigar and interrupted annoyingly five times on every flipchart.

All of 21 at the time, I was polite at first and gradually became snarky in shooting down his objections one by one by my superior understanding of the technical research underpinning my case.

Later in the hall he came up to me and said “You know you really knew your stuff, and were brave in defending your recommendations,” and at this point he pinched my cheek and looked into my eyes, “but you didn’t make us love you.”  Thus he showed respect for my work while giving me feedback that I was then able to appreciate.

I won’t explain micro managing (method 2) since we all know what it is — giving a person less autonomy than is customary across all industries based on that person’s experience, title, and/or responsibilities.

Method 3 above relates to a subtler form of micro managing, where a boss has one person within the organization systematically second-guessed by peer review, as a matter of course.

All four of these methods are forms of restoring respect that has diminished within an organization as a result of sub-optimal practices slowing things down and leading to sub-optimal decisions as well as to losing employees.

So far in these posts we have covered the first three principles of creating a culture of optimization within your organization:

  1. State the goal of optimizing everything and everyone. Explain it, give personal examples, stay the course over time.
  2. Explain and follow the Negativity Rule. When broken follow the Respect Rule and bring everyone back to optimizing.
  3. Explain and follow the Respect Rule. When broken follow the Respect Rule in bringing it back for everyone, understanding that it is all for optimization.

The optimization mood feels better, and it’s also more fun.

Click here for a relevant sample from our book FREEING CREATIVE EFFECTIVENESS.

Best to all,

Bill