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Follow-up Question about Rigid Mindsets and Frameworks

Friday December 4, 2020

Evelyn writes,

You wrote about rigid people who want to learn about a few easy principles and then dive right into application of these principles with a rigid mindset, instead of using a framework. Could this practice itself become part of a new framework? Maybe it could teach some good lessons about flexibility?

There’s an interesting thought! It may be worth a try in some cases for sure.

Improvisation is certainly scattered throughout the framework design process, so we don’t want to throw that away altogether. And sometimes people learn big lessons from this kind of activity. While I personally don’t see myself telling someone, “OK, right off the bat you should take the most rigid mindset possible, dogmatize the first few things you learn, and see how it goes,” I would guess that you’re talking about something that’s more gentle, educational, and conversation-guided.

So if one can be aware that they’re doing this in a conscious fashion, and hopefully understand the possible positive / negative outcomes, then that might work really well.

If it’s unconscious though…maybe not so much? And it’s easy to overload the consciousness in new undertakings, so some balance would need to be found.

It’s also important to understand that there’s a form of improvisation involved in hypothesizing and testing those hypotheses, which can help expand or improve a framework. And some dogmatic rigidity may be helpful in reflecting on the results.

And I think that might be a good way to redirect a tendency toward rigidity: Quantification, logging, recording. “Here, you should be REALLY rigid in quantifying your results,” for example. Even then, over time you’d have to work in some flexibility. (I know that I have had to learn to be super flexible with logging, quantification, and testing processes. Rigid testing methods can derail or misdirect efforts to get at a desired outcome, if they’re not adjusted or discussed.)

Finally, you can think of a framework by itself as a work of long-term improvisation, or broad-minded experimentation at the very least. There may be really good reasons to think of a framework this way, and it doesn’t have to negate anything related to the benefits of the deep and deeply-organized parts of the framework.

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