Tag Archives: Observer State

How can you seize the day?

View the current THE CHIEF episode Go the the current Great Being post

Not just the “set the world on fire” days are important — you can seize the day every day.

make every day count

Sometimes what will make you feel good and would serve as the day’s best strategic move actually begins with an insight. Imagine the type of insight that sparks a throbbing impulse to creatively optimize it in ways that will continually bubble up in your mind.

We have the power to make every day count and to feel like it’s one of those days by prioritizing our mental state over the to-do list.

Achieving this is mostly by remembering the intention to do so, and bringing your attention to the intention. Intention without attention goes nowhere.

Typically, when the To-Do List has supremacy over our Intentions, each day is kept from being a day of great strategic insight or other accomplishment. We’ve become slaves of the To-Do List!

How often do our To-Do Lists supersede all higher values present in our accumulated intentions sac? How often do our intentions mostly live in a figurative mindspace where they are saved like an Amazon Wish List and perhaps looked at about as often? This is what is happening on a grand scale every day that we stay stuck in the pervasive Acceleritis™ cloud.

Pragmatically, the reason for giving highest priority to one’s own mental/emotional state over the To-Do List is that without shifting into Observer state or Flow state, the quality of one’s work is not going to be world class and the day will not have been fully seized.

Optimizing each day includes keeping track of the key moment-to-moment tradeoff decision between the To-Do List and one’s mental/emotional state. By stepping back, reexamining your intentions and your attention, you will notice that you take more frequent breaks from the To-Do List and in so doing you get sudden rushes of brilliant insights and ideas.

Don’t you breathe more deeply now that you’ve merely entertained the notion of freeing yourself from mental slavery? Doesn’t that air feel good? Is a slight headache you take for granted strangely gone?

With more practice every day, we can all seize each day. Carpe diem!

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.

I recently had a great interview with Creativeroom4talk for their first issue. Go to  http://issuu.com/creativeroom4talk/docs/creativeroom4talk. The interview begins on page 149 which you can get to directly by using the search function/icon.

Do what you’re moved to do.

View the current THE CHIEF episode Go the the current Great Being post

One of the challenges of our current reality is the pervasive condition we call Acceleritis™ wherein we feel we never have enough time to do all the things we feel we ought to do.

Don't overthink it.

Do you feel like you are always behind and have too much to do? Do you speed up your actions to the point of increasing errors that require fixing (which then slows you down and makes you feel even more behind with no apparent hope of ever catching up)?

You are not alone! We have a natural drive for closure, and the seeming impossibility of ever reaching closure on everything the mind desires closure on makes us uneasy at most times — but we have gotten used to that feeling.

During your work day or at play, are you often not sure what to do next? Try to not overthink it…

Do what most inspires you at that moment. Why? Because the chances are higher that you’ll be doing it in the Flow state, which never occurs when you are doing something because you should do it. I call that “doing it to get it out of the way”. Flow state only occurs when you are enjoying what you are doing, and doing it solely or mainly for its enjoyment.

If you’re in the grip of Acceleritis and therefore not in the Observer state, you may not know what inspires you more, X or Y or Z. The solution here is to just let your body go and watch what it does. The body often makes decisions before the mind is consciously aware of making the decision.

Don’t be driven by email/text/social media.

It has become all too easy to become driven by incoming email, texts, Tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts — meaning you don’t decide what to do next, you react to the ubiquitous digital input stream. This goes on all day and you become a willing slave to others’ priorities rather than your own. Instead, practice setting aside a time each day to deal with and catch up with emails and texts and whatever else is queuing up. This puts you in charge of what you do for the better part of your day.

Create a practice to step away from the to-do list.

What works best for me is meditation — where the mind observes itself, watching thoughts as they come and go. I find this is the most effective way to allow assimilation and closure of the most salient “anti-closures” bugging my mind subconsciously at any given point in time.

 

Like trying to remember a name, meditation does not work by “trying to do it”, it works by letting go of everything going on inside, and continuing to let go of thoughts/feelings/ images/hunches as they arise, watching them float away (or whatever imagery works best for you). From this effortless place comes clarity that often moves you closer to closure.

Next time you are overwhelmed, step back, and do what you are moved to do!

Best to all,

Bill

My regular media blog, "In Terms of ROI" now appears on Myers new free site, Media Village.  You can read my latest post here

For those interested in my work in the world of media and marketing, you can now view my April 9 webcast, The Importance of a Holistic Approach to Big Data and How to Do it Step by Step. My overview of it is also the subject of my current Mediabizbloggers post. (see link above.)

Are you getting enough pleasure out of your life?

Go the the current Great Being post

If you’re not, you’ve got to fix that. No one else is going to do it for you.

ability to re-create ourselves

All that exists is now, this moment, so you can’t be putting off fun to some hoped-for future. If you’re not getting it right now, this very day, you’re not playing to win at the game of life; you’re trapping yourself in illusion and accepting second best.

What’s stopping you from seizing the day and living your dreams, right this very moment? Very likely it’s the deep dark repressed (or expressed) belief that you don’t have the power to change your life into the ideal vision you had for it. Especially now, when so much time has passed, and you’ve got negative momentum leading away from the goal.

Continue reading

The Second Cornerstone: Mindfulness

Go the the current Great Being post

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.

Improve the Creative Result by Goofing Off

Go the the current Great Being post
 

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.

Rediscovering that Ancient Territory: Your Own Mind — Revisited

Go the the current Great Being post

All of us are naturally curious about our own selves. When someone who knew us when, someone older, tells us a story about something we did when we were too young to remember it, we are raptly attentive.

Looking inward at oneself is the first step toward clarity.

If it were not for the culturally ubiquitous time pressure, we would have the same curiosity if offered a searchlight method to see more deeply into our own mind than ever before. Here we offer just such a searchlight.

This posting is a brief exploration into the architecture of inner experience and offers tools to look into your inner Self, through observation and experience. Why bother? Because in order to get into the two higher, most effective states of consciousness — the Observer state, where we can really see what is going on inside ourselves rather than being puppeteered by software in our heads, and the Flow state (Zone), where we are spontaneously doing everything just right — we need to become experts in the empirical study of our own minds and inner life.

What Is the Architecture of Our Inner Life?

Carl Jung defined the four functions of consciousness as perception, feelings, intellect and intuition — the latter referred to in day-to-day life as “hunches”. These are four kinds of events that can go on in consciousness.

Within consciousness, what we experience first is something inside that motivates us and moves us toward or away from something. Those are feelings. Instincts — hardwired genetic carryovers inherited before birth — are partly responsible for some or all of our feelings. The rest arise from motivations we accumulated during our lives, stuff we learned or decided to want or not want as a result of our experiences since birth.

So what are these things you call your thoughts, your feelings, your hunches, your perceptions? Consider, or reconsider, all of the experiences you have had of your own mind, your own inner life.

When I watch what goes on inside of me, it often starts with a feeling that is also somehow an image at the same time. Another part of me then takes that feeling/image and interprets it as a conscious thought — putting names, categorizations, and other specific recognizable details onto the original amorphous feeling/image.

I think that’s what a thought is. An interpreted feeling/image. Diverging from Jung, I posit that thoughts and feelings are the same thing, at different stages of development.

Thoughts add details to feelings/images, turning them into specifications, bringing out additional information that had somehow been packed into the feeling/image.

Possibly feelings are the most substantial and primary actor, coming out of our most intimate connection with our self, and arising to be transmuted into intuitions and/or thoughts and/or emotions and/or images/visions.

Perceptions coming in from the “outside” accompanied by an equal stream of feelings from “inside” suggests that feelings are another sense, like seeing and hearing. In which case, we simply perceive, and the rest of the functions are what evolves from our perceptions. In other words, feelings are inner perceptions, and what we call sense perceptions are outer perceptions. Inner and outer perceptions are the raw stuff of experience, and as we turn them over in our minds, those perceptions turn into thoughts and/or intuitions.

I suggest that perceptions evolve into what Jung classified as thoughts (intellect) and/or hunches (intuition). Outer perceptions — the five physical senses — are what Jung called “perceptions” — and the inner perceptions are what Jung called “feelings”. In my own experience, the raw stuff of my inner life is comprised of feeling/image arisings that I then articulate internally as thoughts, with either words or not, or observe as hunches, without inner words.

Intellect and intuition have always been seen as similar functions. Intellect reaches new conclusions step by effortful step. Intuition gets there in one leap, involuntarily, all by itself. Sometimes when the intuition or hunch is particularly credible and important and came out of nowhere, we call it inspiration, suggesting help from some outside invisible source.

The Searchlight to Our Inner Self

We need maps to study consciousness. We also need meditation to concentrate on seeing what really goes on inside by understanding the basic building blocks of all inner experience — thoughts, feelings, intuitions, and perceptions.

Try this. Find five minutes when you can’t be interrupted and there is nothing dragging you away like a deadline. You might not find time to try this until the weekend, so leave yourself a note somewhere you’ll see it Saturday or Sunday morning.

Sit with your eyes closed and back straight, with your head drawn up toward the ceiling. First, still the mind by experiencing your breath going in and out, without trying to control the breath in any way. After a half-dozen breath cycles or whenever you feel as if your mind is relatively still, begin the exercise.

Now simply watch for what happens at the very beginning of a thought or feeling. A thought or a feeling is going to arise. You are in a state of concentrated sharp attention and the game is to see that arising as quickly as possible, identify what it is, and be able to remember the experience of it as accurately as possible.

This is not as easy as it sounds because we tend to get so instantly caught up in the thought or feeling we forget that we are doing this exercise. That is, until through exercises like this, we find that we have gained true control of our minds in a gradual process that we get better and better at over time. By looking inside, we can begin to cut through dogma and other people’s beliefs, and see for ourselves who we are in our inner worlds.

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