Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“Anchoring is the Art/Game [<link; short length] of setting reminders with the purpose of priming and operationalizing knowledge. It’s also a mental model.
I like to distinguish between Inner and Outer Anchoring, setting inner and/or outer reminders.
The former is the process of anchoring thoughts to other thoughts.
The latter is the process of anchoring thoughts to things in the outside world.
You can think of Anchoring as a certain kind of life-algorithm [<link; long]. More specifically, a priming-algorithm.
IF condition THEN think x.”
“How would you express Inner and Outer Anchoring as algorithms?”
Inner Anchoring: IF you think x THEN think y.
Outer Anchoring: IF you notice x THEN think y.
Outer Anchoring is a kind of ‘reality painting’. You infuse the environment around you with meaning.
When I look at the sun I think ‘Love’.
When I look at the sky I think ‘Connection’, ‘the Universe’, and ‘Big-Picture’.
When I look at people I think ‘Memento mori’, ‘Loving Kindness’ and ‘Connection’.
When I look at children I think ‘Inner Child’, ‘Play(fulness)’ and ‘Curiosity’.
When I look at something beautiful I think ‘Gift’.
The sun, the sky, people, children, instances of beauty are all anchors.
With the Anchoring mental model, everything around you becomes a design space.
Anchoring can also be a perceptual priming-word, a reality-filter.
In the same way when you think of a color, things of that color around you start to magically pop up into view, thinking ‘Anchoring’ will reveal all the outer anchors you’ve created in the environment.”
For me, personal growth is a beautiful creative process. I’ll give an example to illustrate: my strategy for setting my mental channel to beautiful consistently, and my thought process behind it.
By “setting my mental channel to beautiful” I mean setting my mind to notice the beautiful things around me. For some context, check out this [link; short length] post.
It all starts with a question:
How can I set my mental channel to beautiful consistently?
What this does is set my mind to creative problem-solving mode. My mind starts playing with possibilities. At this point, depending on the nature of the problem, I can leave the process open-ended, or I can narrow down the possibilities by asking more questions. There’s benefits to both. The next important question here is:
What obstacles prevent me from achieving my end?
In this case, the main obstacle is remembering to set my mental channel to beautiful. The more often I remember it, the more often I can do it. This already suggests a strategy: setting reminders (or “anchors”, to use a NLP term), internal or external. Or, even better, both internal and external.
What anchors might I use?
This is the truly creative part, because you can use pretty much anything as anchors. The possibilities are endless.
For me, in looking for solutions to a problem, beauty acts as a guide. This means the solution has to be aesthetic, not just functional.
My solution in this case is to use beauty itself as an anchor. That is, every instance of beauty sets my mental channel to beautiful. Simple and elegant. Both highly functional, and aesthetic.
However I’m not done yet. Creating anchors for every instance of beauty is obviously inefficient. Better to create just one anchor, for the idea of Beauty. So every instance of beauty mentally connects me to the idea of Beauty, which sets my mental channel to beautiful.
I imagine the more meaningful the idea of Beauty is to you, the more powerful the effect. For me it’s one of my central values.
I’ve simplified the process a great deal just to make a point (it took a while, and quite a few iterations and bursts of inspiration before I came up with it). For instance, simplicity is another very important filter for me when looking for solutions.
The process described above, besides being a little window into my mental world, is also a metaphor, for how I see and engage with personal growth.
There are two types of time: alive time and dead time. (Robert Greene)
Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“Use opportunity cost as a Tool.“
“Make it a habit to always ask yourself:
Did I waste time?
If yes, think of the deeply meaningful things you could have done in that time frame. Those things that make you feel radiantly and vibrantly alive.
That’s the opportunity cost.
In practical terms, you can make a small selection of them, and recite them like a mantra. Choose only the most powerful, 80/20 style. By uttering them one after another, it will amplify their effect.
Feel those things that are most meaningful to you.
Feel the contrast between that deeply alive time and the dead time.
Then anchor this feeling to the wasteful activity.
Turn any and all wasteful activities into a reminder of what’s truly important.”
Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“Don’t compare yourself to others.”
“Depends how and why you do it.
As concerns the how, it’s a matter of mindset and focus.
Do you compare yourself to others…
with a growth mindset or a fixed mindset?
with an abundance mindset or a scarcity mindset?
Do you believe that you can grow?
And if yes,
do you focus on who you can be or on who you are not?
A passage from Marcus Aurelius comes to mind:
Because a thing is difficult for you, do not therefore suppose it beyond mortal power. On the contrary, if anything is possible and proper for a man to do, assume that it must fall within your own capacity.
Say to yourself always:
If they can, I can.
As concerns the why, comparing yourself to others can be useful. An expression of Artful Living.
Comparison can serve as a memento, a reminder.
Let your betters remind you of who you can be and inspire you to be more.
Let your lessers remind you to appreciate how far you’ve come.
And I include in the latter category the memory of who you were in the past.”
“Do you think ‘lessers’ can be perceived as disparaging?”
“Depends what you compare. I’m comparing ability, not worth.”
Make the problem an anchor for the tool that helps you solve it.
Until you fully internalize a skill, the biggest obstacle in effectively using it is remembrance: remembering to use the skill-tool when the situation calls for it.
Oft-times, even though you have the knowledge to solve a life-problem, in the moment, the solution simply does not present itself. In this case, it’s not a matter of possessing information (which you do), but of of accessing the information.
This is a huge topic, and, I think, an essential component of the Art of Learning. The meat of the issue is integration, how you structurally organize the mental information. The mantra here is:
But I think it’s also useful to create specific access points, in the form of “anchors“. It’s like creating shortcuts, direct connections between two pieces of information (in this case, between stimulus-information and response-information).
As an example, breathing is an essential life-tool for relaxing and calming yourself. Problem-situations (real or imagined) restrict your natural breathing patterns. But how often do you remember to use this tool?
Anchoring the tool to a specific category of life-problems makes it readily available.