Tag Archives: Acceleritis

The Second Cornerstone: Mindfulness

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In last week’s post we made the point that better decision-making and higher performance is achieved mainly through Positive Thinking and Mindfulness. We included tools to increase Positive Thinking, which we also call Solution Orientation. We promised to investigate the nature of Mindfulness in this post.

Mindfulness is a form of attention control.

The need to be master of one’s own attention has gotten progressively greater over the centuries as a result of information overload and its distractive effects. We have given this condition the name Acceleritis™, the vast increase in the amount of information needing to be processed by our brains each day. ADD, ADHD, and a fairly obvious reduction in the general population’s ability to stay focused on one problem long enough to solve it, have been the result.

Watch a video about the cure for Acceleritis.

The need for Mindfulness has never been greater.

The Vedas, some of the earliest writings on the planet, recommend three yogic mental/emotional methods to achieve the conscious and willful control of our attention.

  • Concentration is the focus of the mind on a single object.
     
  • Contemplation is the focus of the mind on a single subject.
     
  • Meditation is the contemplation of the Self.

What then is Mindfulness?

We define Mindfulness as the optimal allocation of attention for maximum effectiveness. When one is mindful, attention optimally allocates both inwardly and outwardly at the same time. This helps us understand our own motivations in the moment, to consider not only our needs but the needs and probable responses of others, and to greatly improve what fighter pilots call situational awareness. This is in sharp distinction from our typical behavior, which is to allocate virtually all attention outwardly whenever the eyes are open.

It takes attention and effort to be mindful, but practicing persistent mindfulness not only allows us to be more present in each moment, it also allows us to shift into a higher state of consciousness to reach the Observer state more often and launch into the Zone or Flow state, the highest known state of consciousness in which right actions seem to do themselves effortlessly.

Mindfulness and Positive Thinking with a solution orientation — overleaping the focus on the problem once it is defined and going right to the focus on the solution — are the cornerstones of what I practice to achieve superior decisions, highest effectiveness, and creative innovation in all aspects of my life. Try this approach for yourself to see if it works for you.

Best to all,

Bill 

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: "In Terms of ROI". It is in the free section of the website at Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.

Bill interviewed on RBDRFor those interested in my work in the media business world you might like to watch my video interview with Bob Lederer on Research Daily Report in which I sum up highlights from the ARF Re:Think 2015 Conference in New York March 16 – 18.

How Did We Become So Distracted?

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We live at a discontinuous point in history.

Most of us know that the human race started evolving from primates, coming down out of trees over 1,000,000 years ago, but it's only been the last 200,000 years that we've been homo sapiens.

We've written things down for only 6,000 years out of those million years so we have no written record of what went on before those roughly 6,000 years.

Key Survival Characteristic

My hypothesis as a social scientist is that in the last 6,000 years, written language changed the way we use our minds.

It actually started with the cave paintings, some 30,000 to 40,000 years ago, using symbolism — we started to be able to look at abstract symbols to represent things like animals that we were going to be hunting.

When we moved to written language, we could see the language — the granular bits of information. Pictures don't have chunks to them like words do.

Though nowhere near digital yet, we started to get into granular chunk thinking as soon as we got into written language.

This development marked the beginning of a revolution in the way we use our minds, and this has been accelerating for the last 6,000 years.

We started inventing things — first tools, then weapons and then media — and all of those things have contributed to the fact that we now every day are subjected to a deluge of stimuli that exceeds our ability to answer all the questions arising in our mind second-to-second.

We get into a habit of just sweeping things aside. “I'm never gonna answer all this stuff. I won't try to answer all this stuff. I won't even try to answer the basic question of what is life, what is the meaning of all this, what is my purpose? It's just too many questions. I can't answer them.” I call this condition Acceleritis™.

We see things like increasing ADD and ADHD and we see people who are supposed to be running big countries acting like high-school kids and not getting anything done.

This deluge of stimuli all the time is not good for any of us. In the face of the hugely distracting environment of Acceleritis, we are being distracted from Flow state, which I believe is our natural state and which occurred a lot more before 6,000 years ago.

This is why I consider psychotechnology, which prepares people with techniques to stay focused through complexity, to be so important. No matter who we are, the quality of our life depends upon our effectiveness in meeting challenges, whether as a parent, an executive, an athlete or a world leader.

Shutting out distractions

Most all of the techniques I use to increase focus and creativity are included in my book, Mind Magic, and I also share them here in this blog space — techniques like mindfulness, meditation, self-awareness and letting go of attachment. Learning to become the observer more often and not getting caught up or reeled in by all of these distractions, we can find greater clarity and reach Flow state more often. Learning to stay focused in an ever increasingly distracting world, we can ultimately increase our creativity and improve our decision making.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: "In Terms of ROI". It is in the free section of the website at Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.

Improve the Creative Result by Goofing Off

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Looking Inward At Oneself is the first step

In our present culture in which multiple jobs are held by most people just to keep up with their latest Jones, and in which Acceleritis™ necessitates massive multitasking, the creative process tends to become shortened into a two-step process of absorbing information (never enough), and implementation. In other words, no Aha! Moment.

The absorbing of information part was easier before the Internet. One saw the logic of not going too far because it would cost too much time. Now one can keep drilling down further and further without an apparent end in sight.

Finding information however continues to be the major complaint of executives and their teams. You know you have it somewhere and you can go searching for it but it is so boring and annoying given the time pressure. Give me a dashboard where I don’t even have to remember what it is called and yet can still find it in a second. Until then, just send that thing to me again please.

When you break down how much time goes into the absorption (including searching) and other aspects of the process, the two middle stages — turning away (“sleeping on it”), then the Aha! Moment — take almost no time compared with absorbing and implementing. And yet those two middle processes account for the quality of the outcome or creative result. With only the bookends and no middle the result may be passable but it does not rock. Are we here just to do stuff that’s passable, without the satisfaction of Flow state-level outcomes? No way — makes no sense. Life is about living large, not just robotically coping.

Are you letting your mind go wherever it wants?

The creative process goes through four stages: absorbing information, turning away, the Aha! Moment, and implementation.

A third of a second before the Aha! Moment — a type of Flow state experience happens. Daniel Goleman explains it as a burst of gamma activity, signifying the rapid creation of a new network of neural connections in the neocortical right temporal cortex of the brain. Simply put, the Aha! Moment is a scientifically measurable event, i.e. it’s real.

However, this only occurs if your mind is in a certain state receptive to the sense of Aha! That state can be described as the indirect observation of undirected mentation. Let’s break it down.

Undirected mentation is when you let your mind go wherever it wants. Indirect observation is (by my definition) the alert watching of something as if seeing it for the first time.

So you get the Aha! to the degree your mind can do whatever it wants to do with no pressure to perform or achieve anything, while a very alert part of you is watching your own mind, as if from outside.

When you do this, the tendency is for the Observer state part of yourself to go to sleep. That is, your point of view tends to get reabsorbed into the part of the mind that is just playing and you forget to look at it from the detached Observer point of view. You get caught up in some attachment motivation, some feeling/emotion, which identifies you with the relaxing, playing, wandering mind. This may feel wonderful; however, it doesn’t help you if the objective is Observer and then Flow states. “Identification with” leaves the attachment turned on. “Detachment from” is the goal.

So how do you increase the Aha! Moments and improve the creative outcome? Take a break, a mini-vacation at the right moments in your creative process, and the Aha! reveals itself. Trust that if you remain the scientist, the objective observer when goofing off, Aha! Moments WILL come more often.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: "In Terms of ROI". It is in the free section of the website at Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.

Data Mining Your Own Intuition — Revisited

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Have you ever had an intuition?

You are the HEARER of your Thoughts

Intuition is when an idea pops into your head fully formed without being preceded by a step-by- step logical chain. These intuitions may come to you with “cognitive elements” usually in the form of a feeling. You understand the meaning of your thoughts and what it is you are saying to yourself, without having heard words spelling it out. Although often there may be no image that you can see in your mind, in heightened states of consciousness you may be able to see an image tied to this intuition.

These ideas flash into our mind and usually flash right out again unless we have a strong and abiding mental intention to pay attention to and remember their content. Without such conscious intention, we probably won’t even notice these fleeting intuitions. They are a subtle guidance system that does not speak loudly in our mind.

Dan Goleman points out that at least some of these feelings — the ones we call “gut feelings” — are called that because we sense they are somehow coming from our gut, which is accurate because the part of the brain from which these intuitions come (the basal ganglia) is also associated with the nerve connections between the brain and the gastrointestinal system. These intuitions are really the net guidance stored from our experiences in the form of summary action implications that tell us the way we are going either worked or failed in the past.

By contrast, the ego voices that dominate most of our mind at most times are loud, strident and salient. These ego voices are the thoughts, inner dialog, and feelings that are linked to our base motivations. We are pulled around by our negative fears and anger reactions to events around us when we feel our livelihoods and social standing are at stake and sense at any moment something can be taken away from us. The ego is also stressed out due to Acceleritis™ (Information Overload), thus exacerbating its own predisposition to worry.

As a result of this inner competition for attention and the fact that most of our attention at nearly all times is cast outwards not inwards, we don’t even catch these intuitions in the first place.

If we do catch the intuition, it is generally not heeded because of the jumble of subsequent louder thoughts giving us impulses to verbally fight, complain, argue, dismiss, or otherwise rain on whatever it was that somebody just said that may have triggered the intuition.

How to Use Your Intuition More Effectively

This is a testable hypothesis — try this:

Start a program of paying attention to your own hunches and look for them to arise. When they do, put off the other business that seems so important to the ego and everyday mind, and focus on what your intuition just told you. Make sure you remember the content by either writing it down or forming a keyword, key phrase or key image that will serve as a retrieval mechanism to bring back the whole content of the idea.

Then at an appropriate time in whatever is happening, tentatively see if the application of that intuitive idea seems to contribute anything to the situation taking place around you. Do this instead of — or at least before — offering the people around you any of the subsequent jumble of thoughts that came after the intuition.

On the other hand, you might see what the intuition is and realize that although triggered by the current situation, it really applies to another situation. Then wait to tentatively apply the hunch until you are in the other situation. In this case also resist the tendency to edit that first flash — though using diplomatic language is always a good idea so long as you do not distort the original idea.

Sometimes the intuition gives us not the right strategy but rather a strategy that although wrong will lead to the right answer, one that might not be reached other than through considering this wrong answer. Socrates appeared to know this — he flowed with his intuitions yet by phrasing the ideas as questions he protected himself against error.

Most often our mental process is to speed past the intuitive event and come up with some other strategy for dealing with the present situation. If we even retain memory of the hunch, our tendency is to later edit and “improve” upon it, which often has the opposite effect. Based on my experience, stick with the way it appeared in the beginning — the odds favor this being the successful course of action.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: "In Terms of ROI". It is in the free section of the website at Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com.

You Are a World Changer — Part Three

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In the last two weeks you have begun committed work on a problem/challenge condition in your current situation. You started using the techniques and tools we presented beginning with trigger notes, then you created a table with problems and approach directions toward the solutions of each problem or challenge. Then you began to apply solutions from your plan to your situation, evolving the plan with changing circumstances and new information. And you began to practice being unpredictable. All with the overarching goal of transforming your current situation into one that affords you more power to do good.

Let’s face it, the world needs changing.

World problems need changing

We see world-class threats at all levels — military, economic, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, environmental… In my 9-5 life, I see the first solution in 50 years to make companies more profitable — yet it can only in the most brilliantly-led companies make it quickly through the thicket of confusion and lack of communication. This is all due to Acceleritis™. Changing the world means tackling Acceleritis, the pandemic shock reaction to unprecedented information overload that has most of us in its grips.

Tools for Clearer Thinking

Getting people to think more clearly and to reach the right decisions more quickly, scraping aside the emotional historical perceptual baggage, requires releasing people from Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP) so they can spend more time in the Observer state, where they can slip through into Flow.

Perhaps you want to change the world in ways that seemingly have nothing to do with changing people’s effectiveness levels, but I submit that your desired change will occur all the more easily if your audience of co-workers is at a higher level. If they are in EOP, scared to come out of the meeting having lost something, good luck getting the best decisions.

How do you get your colleagues out of EOP? One on one. Take them to lunch or coffee or drinks and just talk — but mostly listen. You’ll find out what they really want and what you have that can help them. You’ll also see how certain of your ideas are not yet covered on some particular flank, which is pivotally helpful. Are you doing enough reconnaissance? Are you doing it in the right spirit — nurturing, guiding, mentoring, listening, being a friend and/or ally?

The number one thing everyone is feeling is fear.

One of the biggest fears is that the game is going too fast to keep up effectively. This is a rational fear, because it is true that the game is going too fast. That’s Acceleritis for you.

However it is not rational to hold onto that fear. Fear is an alarm clock, and you turn off the alarm clock once you get its message. Move on from fear to dealing with the challenge slope such as it is. Fear only degrades your performance on that slope. Rationality therefore dictates removing the fear as a preliminary step to functioning at all.

A contemplation for burning out fear is to dwell on it until you hit bottom. Since this doesn’t usually happen overnight, schedule times for this contemplation over the course of days, preferably when you are alone. Visualize the worst possible outcome in the most complete detail possible, actually feel it as if it is happening. When the “so what?” feeling comes over you, you know you have burned out that circuit. If the feared scenario ever happens that way, you won’t seem to care as you simply deal with it, and you will have a great chance of turning the whole thing around just by your state of being in that moment.

You won’t be able to talk to all of your associates about the inner life, as some will not be ready. Follow your intuition. You don’t have to address these subjects directly to communicate the essence of attitude adjustment — people see it in you. Just hanging out and being a friend is more than enough to get the entire process to work perfectly.

You certainly don’t want to become manipulative and try to brainwash people. That’s what got us here. We’re trying to go the other way now.

Ultimately you want everyone to make up their own mind. You just want them to do it in the Flow State.

As we all work together to change the world, one situation at a time.

Best to all,

Bill

Read more. Read more about Acceleritis™.

Watch the video Watch a video on Acceleritis™ on my YouTube Channel.

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Welcome to “Classic Bill”: You Are a World Changer — Part One

Welcome to the first "Classic Bill" Pebbles blog post. Every Tuesday beginning today you will find reposts of some of Bill's most classic and popular nonfiction blogs (sprinkled with occasional fiction) from the past.  There will always be a link between the Tuesday and Thursday posts. Plus the most current Bill and the Universe YouTube channel videos will appear in the right column here. 

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We hope you’ll let us know what you like and don’t like so we can increase your enjoyment and takeaway value. Thanks!



changing the world

What’s my evidence that you’re a world changer? You read my stuff. That’s my evidence.

I get an interesting if fuzzy picture of who reads this blog from the people who thank me for it. And from some indirect measures, such as how rarely people leave public comments, instead emailing me; what does this tell us: private types who read in this blog information that is also kind of private. It’s about the inner life. Inner, not outer, means that it isn’t something people talk about. If they’re going to talk to me about it, they don’t want to do it publicly.

Aristotle considered the inner life the most important thing to Humanity. If he saw what Acceleritis has done to shrink the inner life down to the smallest part of one’s existence, he would become depressed.

But somehow in my readers that inner life is strong. Why else read about it?

Another indirect measure is how I picked the list I started with when I launched this blog. Out of some 8000+ people in the contact list I culled about 1600 whom I see as game-changing people. People who have already visibly changed the industries I touch. People I resonate with because they too are on another plane, looking in at life from angles that are open to change every instant, to triangulate all the hidden corners. This is what the Flow State is like. People like us who flash through the Flow State spend a lot of time getting back there from the lower states that capture us, usually through distraction and attachment coming at us both at once. One of the universe’s trickier sparring partner moves.

So, given that you’re a world changer, what to do about it? It’s not as if you haven’t been asking yourself this continuously all your life. Therefore my answer may not be new, as you may have already said it yourself. Wherever you are now, whatever job you are doing or trying to get, that’s where to change the world first.

Start activating change where you are now

Pretty much the only way to do it anyway. Getting out of your current situation into one that affords you more power to do good is as you know an uphill battle. Where you are is where you are. Change things there. Make it better there.

Are you ready to dig in? Here’s the technique I recommend to begin to create change.

Begin by writing trigger notes. For the first notes — focus on a problem/challenge condition you’re out to fix. Don’t attach the usual negative emotions. All will flow naturally, no need to push, just wait and be ready to jot— you’re the consultant here, the cure, not part of the bad weather.

How do you do that?

  1. Start to take notes as if you’re seriously going to do this thing. You are serious.
     
  2. The first notes — all will flow naturally, no need to push, just wait and be ready to jot — will be the problem/challenge conditions you’re out to fix. Just write trigger phrases — a small number of words, often just one or two — that will remind you of a whole train of thought and the feelings and images that go with it.
     
  3. Later make a clean table with the smallest cluster of problems organized to the left and large spaces to the right to fill in approach directions toward the solutions of each challenge cluster. You don’t have to rush to jot down the approaches; just let them come naturally and write them in.

Is that all there is in the way of technique? No, there’s a rich body of technique to convey; the universe — life — is the most complex game ever invented. But this is where we start. Today, tomorrow, this week — start here.

We will continue on to next steps in the next Tuesday post.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular blog contribution at Jack Myers Media Network: "In Terms of ROI". It is in the free section of the website at Bill Harvey at MediaBizBloggers.com