Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Midweek reflections

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It’s been a good start to the week: lots of items knocked off the to-do list, kept up with healthy resolutions for diet and exercise, and balanced convergent progress with divergent reading.  The diary is organized around half-term holiday next week, the first few days away in over a year. 

Small steps forward, but still some steps forward.  And accompanied by some ideas as I cross the week’s midpoint.

Einstein-IntuitionWhy is deductive knowledge prized over intuitive knowledge?

A hypothesis, backed by objective measurements and observed data, is considered ‘true’ evidence that settles discussions. 

But a hunch or feeling, based on experience or instinct, is suspect, not to be accepted without further investigation and verification.

Yet any breakthrough idea or creative concept, insight or epiphany, depends on intuition.  These can’t be deduced.

So, how best to use our intuition?  Should we be bolder about following solitary hunches?  Or more reflective in examining intuition for bias, for effect on others, and for alternatives?

Delaney - dualityIn mathematics a dual is defined as a pair of concepts that mirror one another.  People have been suggesting  various duals to me all month (or I may be seeing more because my mind is wearing this lens).

Risk / Reward is a constant theme in fundraising.

Anger / Fear is a way to rationalize the link between how people act and the feelings that motivate them.

Persistent / Aggressive is a reminder to consider how actions are perceived, especially across cultures.  Especially British culture.

listenLeaders should be better listeners.  Clegg, FT.com

“Managers can listen better by 1) Looking for ways to neutralise their biases, 2) Avoiding doing other things while listening, 3) Watching facial expression and lip movements to improve comprehension, and 4) Join observation to listening: weighing what people say against what they do.“

I know I should try to become a better listener. 

I can be too active and interactive in conversation, not open to enough to other’s ideas nor observant of their prosody.

Listening doesn’t come easily when situations are overloaded with significance and stress.  I have experience and knowledge, responsibility for making the right things happen and accountability for outcomes. 

And, as Heskett has observed, Unless the leader is good at listening, not much listening goes on, because people watch and emulate.

Falkner quoteOn long days traveling by car or train to pitches and meetings, my minds idles through worries and solutions, a healthy bit of war-gaming through scenarios so that I can take effective action in a variety of situations.  Since planning the future necessarily requires learning from the past, there is a certain amount of rumination as I watch the landscape scroll past.

Would having a friend in the car improve the process?

Anna North, writing in the NY Times, suggests not.  Sharing seems to intensify both positive and negative experiences; concern with friend’s possible opinions distorts the way we perceive and feel.  Consider ‘contagious anxiety’ where one person’s mood affects the other’s.

More delightfully, frequent discussion of the same problem can result in co-rumination, cyclic negative reinforcement of past problems that cause problems to persist longer than they otherwise would.  While this may also strengthen the bonds between friends, it may also make past events larger and emotional burdens heavier than they might be otherwise.

3 comments:

Perovskia said...

I think when deciding to investigate instinct per current or past decisions, one should tread cautiously. It's instinct for a reason. I don't think it's supposed to "make sense" really.

Re: Anna North's comment, "..concern with friend’s possible opinions distorts the way we perceive and feel" I disagree. I don't think it distorts. Amplifies, maybe, but not distorts.

:)

David Hampton said...

Hi, and thanks for the comments!

I agree, I've learned to 'trust my gut' more than I used to, and to go with a hunch that feels right. Society at large, though, wants evidence: it frustrating sometime to have to stop and provide it.

I agree with your observation that having another person around amplified feelings more than distorts them: I can think of many instances from my recent vacation.

Still, I make different choices based on what a companion might think, and watch to see what they are thinking. I won't have a good time if they aren't, and they can help me to find beauty and insight where I might otherwise miss it.

And even that is nuanced. I was talking with someone the other day about hobbies we take up (art) because someone else valued them, and that stay with us after they're gone. Others (gardening) we only keep as long as they have an interest. And still others (walking) that we rediscover for ourselves, free of the influence.

Life evolves alongside another, not parallel to them, independent of them?

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