BTW, about passion and capacity
Wednesday June 15, 2022
I had this summary-thought recently:
“Dispassionate capacity points to stable capability.”
Looking it over a few times, I think it could be a pretty reliable model for measuring one’s day-to-day work, for example.
So, I ask: Are you appreciating, and employing, your dispassionate capacities?
We talk a lot about passion as if it’s a huge target worth chasing in life. But some things must be done because simply because there’s capacity to do them. Must be done for who? For you!
They are marked as stable and capable, not so much passionate.
And that’s good, because it also feels good, even if not passionately so, at some lower level. You should feel more stable and more capable as you engage those parts of who you are.
Where is humankind headed? The coiling accountability crisis
Wednesday June 15, 2022
I thought I’d share something I’m thinking about a lot lately: The future of humanity and how our future is closely linked with a growing awareness of accountability and reconciliation.
Accountability and Reconciliation
At the decade-period level, we are just now witnessing a ramping-up of a long-term pattern of demand for accountability and reconciliation at multiple levels:
- Personal ethical and integral accountability
- Social responsibility to growth and development
- Corporate accountability to humanity, as compared against items 1 & 2
Reconciliation is pretty great, especially in theory: You enter a form of discussion around positions of equity or inequity. The outcome is one of distribution of energy toward an improved outcome for the parties involved.
Who wouldn’t want that?
But unfortunately, we’re really good at making the reconciliation process extremely personal. Without realizing what we’ve done, we tend to raise the stakes for all of us, when we think we have limited the risk-on stakes to one person or group.
Such public discussion is typically sculpted around dichotomies at first, but it tends to deepen quickly and easily. (This is also part of the problem—a lot of us are naturally deep reconcilers and this approach can be wildly inappropriate and also too personal, too fast.)
The overall trend is troubling for organisms that operate on a shallow level in their public or human-human interfaces.
And while this trend itself may not be a crisis, the response can easily lead to many, many crises.
An Example Archetype
A great example archetype in this area is the typical “boom” business, an economic organization that is absolutely printing money.
Such an organization is usually built around nimble, fast-moving economic processes. However, almost as if by script (we know about this script—personality dynamics have a lot to say here), sets of dangerously covert ethical perspectives are mostly kept in the background until they begin to pop off in unwanted ways.
This type of organization is awfully easy prey, to a natural cycle in which a business is examined for intrinsic value by various stakeholders. This examination is repeated over time, and at any time the examiner could be the consumer, the investor, the vendor, the government, and so on. (The boss’s family, the neighbors—it’s fascinating that the stories we tell ourselves reveal so, so many stakeholders in everything)
(And we are all aware of this cycle by now, aren’t we? The big bad business? It’s a huge part of what we know as the “news cycle” in modern media.)
Such an examination, which is only natural, demands a public interface to the intrinsic ethical properties of the organization. And, however obvious this unfolding may seem as I write it out here, again and again such businesses show that this is a zone of weak footing for them. Thus they will likely be rocked by continual waves of accountability and demand for reconciliation.
I’ve worked for such businesses, and they are absolutely bonkers on the inside. They represent a risk to the future of humanity, but IMO it’s a risk we should learn to interface and help with, rather than scorn.
Such businesses aren’t alone in this. Similar demand even tends to build up in therapeutic non-profit organizations, religions, and families. All well-meaning.
A good deal of this demand comes from what you might think of as displacement and projection: As individuals or groups learn of new ethical or values-based principles that may cast a poor lens on their own subjective past, they experience a heightening of fear and sensation. They begin to worry about their personal security.
Such individuals and groups, being only human, will need to find quick relief in the form of a sort of “object lesson.” This gets their mind off the subject lesson (and none of this is exactly conscious). So, the third-party, especially the third party that has lately escaped examination, becomes an easy object of their frustrating energy.
Dealing With It
This is all pretty harsh stuff in a lot of ways, especially if you feel you’re the target, or a potential target. The tendency is to react and to defend oneself.
However, that’s also an unfortunate mistake in a lot of cases. Again and again we find that it’s a mistake to take an obviously defensive posture, at least as if it’s going to be the solution to the problem.
At an individual level, I have also seen this with my coaching clients—they tell me that their response to a need for reconciliation is more like martyrdom.
Personally, I’ve been down this road myself, and while examining the circumstances, I realized it was a huge mistake, and a waste of energy. There’s no real need for it, first of all. It’s more like an exercise in hallucination based on one’s conflicted understanding of one’s own good nature. And as such, it makes the problem “all about me,” which makes little logical sense if you consider that there is another party to the issue. Some burdens must be shared, but even more importantly, sometimes others want to share those burdens because again—they’re projecting. They also desperately want to know that there’s a constructive solution in here somewhere.
Let me repeat that in a different way: We all, desperately, want to know that there’s a constructive solution in here somewhere. Even if we’re less-than-aware of this fact. Even if we’re talking an evil business, or an evil person. We have skin in the game.
So what are some other actions or postures we can take in this kind of situation? This seems like a really important question.
Finding New, Solid Footing Beyond Reconciliation
In my opinion, businesses, organizations, and individuals will need to find, test, and vet many new models for interfacing with the outside, or the outsider, in such situations.
I’ve participated in organization-level interventions aimed at this kind of outcome, and I’ve worked alongside those who were intervening as outside consultants. The interventions were indeed helpful, but they also weren’t intrinsically available to the organization. This was a huge problem, in my view.
In considering various models that could help, there are many obvious leverage points and workarounds. Many of these could be made intrinsic without too much work.
Unfortunately, I don’t see many people talking or thinking about this yet, but I could be wrong.
And maybe that’s the thing: “Many.” “Various.” “Models.” There is a plurality vs. singularity issue here, and the plurality part can help out the singularity-with-issues.
We don’t need one thing or another. We need to start to perceive, together, that there is more than one way out of a really uncomfortable examination. For both the examiner and the examined.
I really think part of the secret in responding successfully is in taking lots of paths, even contradictory paths, at the same time—and communicating that.
Perhaps in the future we’ll learn more about it, but for now, my hat is off to those who embrace such a situation with creativity. It’s taxing because there is not a very strong cultural history or tradition to draw on. And it is not often very rewarding, because the solution may need to be kept and protected at a subjective level until it can mature, and long before others realize its utility.
And that’s about as low-level as I’m comfortable going with this topic. I don’t believe we really need so many examples at this point—the idea is to look forward and work forward, to be willing to talk about this at a high level, even if it takes some learning—and not to look backward so much.
Those higher principles of decade-to-decade movement point at patterns which will be useful in guiding very specific future developments in culture and society.
Eventually, hopefully, we’ll be able to look at problem-things and say, “that’s part of us, or it’s not a problem at all,” and move forward creatively, less personally, maybe even less passionately, and more grounded in experience: “This used to be a problem for society, until we all learned, together, how to treat it in all these different ways.”
How can I work less like an ESFP? And how can I get out more?
Tuesday June 14, 2022
Some personality type Q&A today….
How can I work less like an ESFP?
When I’m in the office I work a lot like an ESFP. I like to feel that I’m constantly available and responding to issues as they come up. This is not ideal though, because it sets expectations poorly, among other things. Any pointers?
I know what you mean Jon. I’ve talked to a lot of INTJs who work in the same way. And it feels good in some important ways! But like you said, there are lots of downsides.
(Well, I guess unless you are looking for a fantastic way to reliably burn yourself out by 5 p.m.)
Some things to think about:
Scheduling action is taking action, and time is golden: It’s still helpful and responsive to say, “let’s discuss this for about ten minutes today, just before lunch”. This will give you time to think and let your thoughts settle (a huge one for introverts), and the same will be true for others. And maybe more importantly, that extra time can help you think in higher-level terms about the problem, for additional creativity and leverage.
You can personality-type the problem: In your downtime, break down your problems into problem-types, or groups of problems. Aim for 3-4 categories to start with. Then test different responses 1) in the moment and 2) when the appropriate discussion / problem-solving time has arrived. This will fold in some analysis and help you gain more leverage over the situation in general.
Start to bring others in on the solution: A huge ESFP issue is peacocking, and a huge introvert issue in general is making things all about one’s own perspectives. This combination can quickly turn against INTJs at work. It can also start to make others feel like they are being excluded. Try to find simple ways to show others you want to involve them, and that you trust them, even enough to make mistakes.
You may feel like you already know what they’ll say (Ni) or that you are constantly learning even though one else is (Te), or that you’re the martyr for the cause who must make all the difficult decisions (Fi). But IMO it’s worth it to start to learn to let others share your bad-decision space with you. :-)
How do I get out more?
I’m an INTJ and I don’t get out much, and that’s a problem. You’re probably just going to tell me to find balance in my life, but what can I do to get out more? I don’t like being outside. I like being in my apartment.
Sarine, first of all I would never, ever tell you to find balance in your life.
As a professional coach, I have come to really hate the word “balance.”
Balance is so overused as a (sloppy) mental model, and IMO is almost always easy to file in the category of discouraging, low-leverage advice (or self-advice!).
Whenever somebody tells me they probably need to find balance, it seems like they are signaling that they haven’t got a clue and feel like giving up. And I feel like saying, “blame that stupid word!”
So. With all that said.
Make going out about your existing, favorite interests: Going out in this case should be as sweet as possible, in concept. It should be about going to shop for your favorite thing, for example.
Use your conceptualizing mind: Use your intuition (Ni) to visualize yourself coming home feeling good about what you just did, and then work backwards: What did you do?
Use your Fi and allow yourself to don’t-wanna: Embrace no-balance! Embrace I-don’t-wanna! Moan and BLEB about the issue and get that all out of the way. You’ll probably find that this turns some important gears behind the scenes.
Good luck Jon and Sarine!
A common sequence of interest-energy for me
Monday June 6, 2022
It starts with a vague feeling of want, then a feeling of need, or deeper-want.
Then it turns into interest in ideas/concepts/products, to browsing products, to feeling need for specific products or items.
Next to vague intuition of a specific visual intuition or visual collage I can see in my mind’s eye, then to explicative visualization, or a visualization that seems to expand on or explain the previous visual intuition.
From there the energy goes to thoughts about application of this new concept to my life & energy systems. I get excited—application, this I can do something about and with!
Then to keyword-intuition, to keyword search, and to sorting / ranking based on intuitive (future) suitability. Not searching for products anymore, but for whatever the product interest turned into. From searching for a book on fractal math to searching for a tutorial on drawing fractals.
After that—to review, sometimes to purchase, to file away, to build on, to model, to framework, to leverage, to use, to teach.
These last few are optional. Usually we get to some point of leverage though.
What NOT to do when keeping a journal
Wednesday May 11, 2022
I’m using my journal to support my daily life & work activities, and I wonder if you could provide some examples of what not to do when keeping a journal?
You got me thinking, Philip. Here are some important ones:
Do not use your journal the way you think it “should” be used.
Some people see others journaling a chronology of events, like “what happened today.” For you, this might be a waste of time. You can do these instead:
- How I feel right now
- What’s next in my day
- What’s interesting to me today
It’s also a really great idea to start building your idea of, “how I use a journal” because this is often a very easy and effective way to make fast improvements, as long as you keep an open mind and periodically try out new approaches.
Never feel pressured to read to others out of your journal.
And by pressure I mean internal pressure from yourself, mostly.
For example, if you feel pressure to show others that you aren’t writing about them, to prove that you’re a good person, please reconsider. A lot of times this pressure is really coming from yourself, not from them. And if it does come from them, it’s often a good idea to set a boundary and not entertain others with your private thoughts.
Related: Don’t feel pressure to be unrealistically positive in your journal.
Your journal should be a place where you can write “so-and-so is a jerk and I hate them.” It’s important to have a place where you feel free to express this energy.
Avoid the temptation to stick to your journaling style, or template, when it shows signs of not working as well anymore.
Periodically ask yourself, “what do I dislike about my journaling template, or journaling practice?” Immediately make the change.
If you don’t do this, there is a really good chance that you’ll start to procrastinate.
For personal support, know what TYPE of journaling is appropriate.
Use the right type of journaling to support yourself. For example:
If you feel like you’re not getting anything done today, stay away from imaginative journaling practices, and instead use the emotional-informational dichotomy.
You can start with “I’m not getting anything done!!!!” instead, followed hopefully soon by a list of things that should be done, and maybe followed by more venting…this is all really appropriate for diving into lists, especially big lists.
For more information on that kind of emotionally-balanced productivity, see Task BATL, my free productivity system.
If on the other hand you’re burnt out, or getting things done isn’t super important right now, it can help to move to intuitive or imaginative journaling exercises for example.
That ought to be good enough for now Philip! Good luck. —Marc
Slim Down for Summer with Federated Content
Friday April 29, 2022
Recently I spent some more time exploring the Fediverse, specifically a little corner of it called Mastodon, and specifically to that, a little corner of it called “awkwardly trying to figure out WTF I’m doing here.”
Which, IDK, I think I’m going to say this was a success. I enjoyed it past tense, I enjoy it present tense. I look forward to using it more.
It feels like I’ve found a pretty good way to connect with people who are into a lot of the things I am, like FOSS, Linux, retro computing, music, art, whatever. There aren’t any ads, just ad-mins. They seem like a nice bunch of people.
Also, people generally put sensitive content (I had no idea it was so VARIED) behind a click-to-see barrier, so you don’t see it unless you want to.
Finally there are tons of controls and lots of little nooks to explore, and after some first efforts to understand it, I feel like it’s been a net positive.
So, to integrate that profile a bit with this site, I’ve added my feed to the world’s longest sidebar, here on MAYBE.
If you’re also a Fediverse person, feel free to follow me, my username is @marcolas at oldbytes.space:
…and RSS Ninja friends can get the RSS feed here:
A Sketch of A Stepping-Stone Model for Systems Fluidity
Monday April 11, 2022
The text below is a sketch from my journal and I thought I’d share it here so I don’t forget about it…
To those of us who do a lot of systems thinking, it’s becoming ever more clear that we live in a post-system world. It’s a world in which systems are widely understood and accepted as such, and subsumed into social meme culture.
We are far past the point at which “systems thinking” was broadly interesting as a novel term, and we have long since reached the point at which well-designed systems of the past can also be modeled as a threat to our current well-being.
Systems are now part of a broader, social conversation and information flow. In the world of internet platforms we can perceive one huge social “wall” against which we all throw our content and see what sticks, together.
This implies that those of us applying systems and systematic approaches, while still doing important work, may benefit from zooming out a bit, and giving additional consciousness and attention to a flow of systems engagement, or a flow between systems.
One of the biggest problems facing those seeking therapeutic resources is the fear of the unknown, the future-tense, “will be, or may be” aspect. More than ever, people are becoming aware that change is not only necessary, but is also happening whether we like it or not.
This thought alone is a stimulant, and certainly a possible point of anxiety.
But we are also more conscious of the need to welcome change. In recent decades we have become more conscious of the risks of bringing the past wholly forward in order to solve problems in the future. The risks emphasize the need for a newness. And newness implies change.
In order to become more comfortable with the unknown, and thus more capable of facing challenges in the future, we’ll need to learn to fluidly navigate across systems, using the systems themselves as foundations, but also as increments, similar to stepping-stones.
Without this fluidity, people tend to come to perceive (consciously or unconsciously) the system in question as a provider of a given set of outcomes, and then perceive themselves as stuck with those outcomes. This will certainly increase the level of frustration a person feels with themselves and others.
What counts as a system, in this context?
- A relationship
- A team
- A membership in an organization
- A belief system
- A problem-solving method, or a way of thinking about things
- A corporation
(Exercise—are there specific examples of the above which come to mind and make you uncomfortable? If so—this gets exactly at my point)
Eventually, systems of this type will head toward disintegration if they aren’t redefined and re-contextualized to account for those emergent, yet-unknown needs which the future brings.
Human psychology is too dynamic to place trust in individual systems for very long, even though the systems’ usefulness may still be worth recognizing, or it may differ depending on the context.
So, we must learn to identify or create perceptions of navigable pathways between systems that transcend already-known boundaries. How do we do this?
For example, how can you preserve the system in which you own and operate your car, being authentic to what you love about driving your car, while also transitioning to a new state in which you live a car-free lifestyle, and authentically live its advantages?
Here are some ideas, for starters:
First, one must first meet a basic level of openness to new ideas and concepts. We can model this as “don’t be afraid of the future,” but there are other ways of looking at it:
- Recognize and illustrate other examples of “having both”, i.e. examples not having anything to do with cars. Map this onto the current car-related context.
- Encouraging an experimental approach, solving detail-problems as they arise
- Modeling ways to find useful assistance or input rather than sitting with the problem
One must also be able to redefine a situation. This is as simple as switching from words that apply, that you used before, to words that also apply, that you didn’t use before.
- What happens when you model “procrastination” as “waiting for the right moment”?
- What new insights open up when you model “earth” as “living system”?
Finally, one must stay with the effort, check in on it over time, and hold it in a spirit of persistence and authenticity. This will help the individual continue to change things while moving ahead. For example:
- How do you follow up on problems that are important to you?
- What gets in the way, and how can it be dealt with?
- How do you process regrets and mistakes in a way that helps you save face and feel less like a failure?
These are some of the first important steps in stepping forward with systems. And we must bring our systems-consciousness forward.
But we must also become new beings, in a sense—newly aware of new leverage over threats and problems constantly arriving from the future, which our previous systems may not be able to handle.
As we learn to improve our capacity to work in this way, our general ability to solve problems related to the future-concept will increase. As a result, our future-anxieties will dramatically decrease, and we’ll enter into a new period of superheroic possibilities.
It’s difficult to imagine a more amazing outcome, if we can pull it off.
The Name's Roo
Monday April 4, 2022
Recently I realized I had read the name “Quintana Roo” too many times to not know more about it. This is part of Mexico, so what’s with the Roo in the name? It doesn’t exactly sound Spanish, does it?
Quintana Roo is one of the 31 states of Mexico, and it turns out that it’s named after historic Mexican political figure Andrés Quintana Roo, a descendant of Canary Islanders. Aha, so I pretty much gave up on figuring out the Roo surname from there, because I found out that this is also a place where they have this interesting whistle.
The first thing that it reminds me of is being a young outdoors-kid, working his tail off for all these badges. There was all this learning about all these different forms of communication. Flags, mirrors, whistles, trail signs, animal signs, long-form narratives that end in a silly joke, and so on.
The second thing it reminds me of is radio propagation, specifically line-of-sight propagation which is where there are a lot of overlaps with ranges used in whistling for communication. But it’s not quite as simple as one might think; I mean you’ve got fresnel zones to think about, and I wouldn’t even call a fresnel zone calculator a very intuitive tool at all.
So I wonder if whistling gets that complex, and if, way back when, in the Canary Islands, there was somebody working on similar tools or practices for the dynamics of whistling for communication. I’m sure the topic can go pretty deep.
Anyway, back to the Isleños, or those who hail from the Canary Islands, you’ve got this very fascinating cross-emigration between Cuba and the Canaries, for example Fidel Castro was born in the Canary Islands, and from what I understand, the Canary Islanders are basically responsible for the Cuban cigar industry.
By the way, the Canary Islands are not named after the bird, but rather either dogs or an African Berber tribe known as Canarii. Something like that—and from what I can tell, this latter point may be a very important point of identity for a people who were colonized by Spain.
Oh and San Antonio, Texas, USA, was founded by Canary Islanders. All of a sudden there are a bunch of random facts coming up as I open various browser tabs.
I thought I’d look up a book on the Canary Islands so I headed over to Gutenberg.org and found book number 66355, which is to say The Canary Islands by Florence Du Cane, which starts a little something like this:
Probably many people have shared my feeling of disappointment on landing at Santa Cruz. I had long ago realised that few places come up to the standard of one’s preconceived ideas, so my mental picture was not in this case a very beautiful one; but even so, the utter hideousness of the capital of Teneriffe was a shock to me.
And with that out of the way, there are some interesting historical insights shared, so maybe it’s a good book. There’s also a book called A Voyage to New Holland, Etc. in the Year 1699 by William Dampier which is from a couple centuries earlier, and contains some pretty neat map-style drawings along with quite concrete descriptions of the place as he found it.
Additional aspects I thought were interesting:
- Lucha canaria, the islands’ own form of wrestling
- Parts of Solo: A Star Wars Story were filmed on Fuerteventura
- Speaking of Star Wars, Krull was also filmed in the Canary Islands.
So, starting with Quintana Roo and going through all that, I’ve still got about 30 tabs open that will have to wait for another time. Examples:
- A pencil portrait that caught my eye
- Smiggle which also sells pencils
- No. 4 Branch which is not, to my knowledge, a secret organization
- Telma Monteiro, who I would want on my secret agent team if possible. Look at all those medals! Look at that tomoe-nage throw at 1:30! Airplane sounds
- Oh and this lovely piece of industrial art.
Where's the Dirty Cut Gone? And Some Notes on Introverted Sensing (Si)
Friday March 25, 2022
Where did you end up with your dirty cut dieting regimen? Did it continue working for you?
It’s been a while since I was really focused on that! Good q.
(This makes me think about the way weight loss is also an archetypal interest, itself a symbol, since its subjectively-interpreted importance REALLY varies in interesting ways over time. Lately I’m interested in this other stuff over here, but wow, I was really laser focused on cuts back at that time! Interesting to observe that.)
So first, I’m definitely not in a really intense mindset about weight loss right now.
But second, health in general is always interesting. And I’ve been working on what you could call Si lately.
In other words:
- What is my body “asking” me to eat right now? (Or not eat? Or drink? Or do?)
- How much will do the job? A lot, or just a little bit?
- How do I feel after eating it? Did it help to think it through?
- What does my body seem to like to eat, and when?
This kind of thinking helps me a LOT. You may recall that I wasn’t very aware of my limits and needs with eating in previous decades.
I was certainly way more into the Se box. Sensory impression and sensory variety were really important to me.
Overeat? Sure!!! Hey, you can have so much fun eating a huge plate of what’s basically garbage! NICE!!!
Whoa Whoa Whoa what about Se though?
Now, before I get into the rest, I’m still in the Se club:
- New and interesting foods are awesome!
- Interesting AMOUNTS of foods are awesome!
- Whoa look at all that FOOD!
I will probably go to my grave a fan of videos like these because they are too much fun to watch with my kids, for one.
Enter the SiNJA
But I married into Si psychology. My wife and some members of her family are SUPER DUPER into Si, by nature. I always appreciated this, but I never really got it, at this psychology-of-food level, until recently.
During a stressful day, my wife would ask something like, “would a little piece of chocolate help?” And I’d think, “you mean like the LARGEST chocolate bar in the store, right? Can we go to the store? That would be so cool! I would devour that thing!
I had found my groove in this fundamental level of non-attention to my physical needs. Unfortunately, that non-attention led to ERUPTIONS of food-need, in a feast/famine cycle of my own making.
Eventually it started to click as I studied personality dynamics—this is a more frequent, low-level attention to those needs. It’s more sensitive, too, so it’s gentler by nature.
And it feels really good.
I used to eat candy like Skittles by the handful. But now I can figure out the exact number and flavor of Skittles that will make me feel better! And sometimes it’s like THREE of them.
This kind of thing used to weird me out.
So with the dirty cut
The focus on Si has this funny way of making words like “dirty” and “cut” seem kind of ridiculous.
So, I no longer really do a dirty cut.
But overall, my diet is more under control, and also more indulgent! At least in the sense that I more frequently ask my body what it needs. Which—in other ways is not indulgent at all.
It also helps that I learned to sense fluctuations in water weight by about a half pound, which is a pretty useful input and guide in a way.
Oh and This Other Thing
These days, I find that when people talk about “healthy food” it doesn’t make any sense to me anymore. Like, it’s downright confusing to even start to talk about.
“You mean you think there’s food that’s just ‘good’, and for EVERYBODY?”
I was raised on what my dad called an “inspired diet”. Tons of whole grain, greens, diet this, healthy that. It was based on all these nutrition books he read, and asked me to read, and send me clippings from, yada yada. OK, sure there was some interesting stuff in there.
But I have to shake my head at that a bit, now.
And these days I see ads with “fresh greens” and “lean meats” and I’m thinking, this seems kind of like 101-level Eating.
Maybe I’m only at 110-level myself, maybe it’s 102, I have no idea. But that style of thinking about food seems way too kibishii. People can be gentle with their bodies and still have a healthy diet that’s not so green.
This must be where the Subjectivity in Si (that little “i”) comes from: Sometimes it depends on the details and depth. The person, their situation, their environment, etc. Why be so shallow about prescribing specific foods for all humanity?
To me, healthy food could be a candy bar or a donut. And often is! This is related to why I gave myself permission for the dirty cut back then.
I admit I probably wouldn’t eat a whole box of donuts though. Though gosh…I wouldn’t ever rule it out. Subjective stuff goes so deep…
Oh and finally
- I know this all sounds a bit breathless.
- In my coaching mind, that’s a good sign for energy levels.
- I am still just as dumb as ever, both intentionally and…sub-intentionally.
Thanks for reaching out Aspen!
The Great Dialing-Back
Friday March 25, 2022
Looking back to some of my favorite experiences and moments in life, they always started with a few things:
- Reflective Realization: Hey I’m way overexposed to this set of frustrating things!
- Emphasis on Direction: OK here’s what I wanna do—I want to END those frustrating things and DO something better.
- Dialing-Back: I lower my range of general activities and go off the radar while I figure it out and focus on these specifics.
I could say a lot about each of those points.
(And I think you could easily use those three steps, together, as a model for accomplishing a LOT of amazing stuff in life.)
But that last item, #3 above, is a big deal by itself. And nobody ever really talks about it.
Dial It Back
We can call that dialing-back “introversion,” if you like. Or “solitude” or “distancing” or whatever else seems to fit.
The fact is, it reveals a lot of strengths in introvert land.
I think I use the idea & related activities more naturally these days, than I did when I was younger. I grew up in a household that was focused more on Dialing it Up.
This is true of a lot of people I have coached, also. Typically my coaching practice intersects with their lives either just before, or during, their dialing-back phases. Some of these people were, like me, over-focused on making a big splash.
They needed to Dial it Back.
There are all kinds of side effects that come along with it, too, like:
- Maybe you don’t spend as much time with friends, and they wonder where you went!
- Maybe your family asks you—why so serious lately?
- Perhaps you neglect some otherwise-important aspects. Maybe you haven’t gone for that daily run in months!
- Or maybe you are letting other things slide.
But quite often, what happens on the other side of the dialing-back is a huge, general improvement. Those things in the list of side effects don’t matter as much, or are quickly and easily addressed, afterward.
So, the dialing-back stage is really, really interesting to me. I think it deserves a lot more credit and respect for what it can do, despite all the stereotypes of withdrawal, darkness, etc.