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