Tag Archive | Clarity

On Leverage and Clarity

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What are the highest-leverage things you could reflect – and incrementally make progress – on?”

“I need to give it some thought.”

“Having to think about it every time signals inefficiency. It means there’s room for optimization.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“Gain clarity on it once, and make the insight persistent.

Make an open list of the highest-leverage things you could reflect on. I call it the HL List. You can call it any way you want.

In the (inevitable) moments when you lack a clear focus, check the list and resume a path that feels most appealing in the moment.”

On practicing Self-Awareness

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I practice Self-Awareness?”

“Take a moment to think of a color and look around you. Notice how all instances of the color start popping into view, many of which were invisible in plain sight a few moments ago. This is an instance of directing attention – a fundamental operation of the human mind. In this case, I intentionally used the color as an attention-directing tool. I call such perceptual tools, lenses [<link; short read].

In the same way, Self-Awareness requires directing attention to certain aspects of yourself. Part of the practice is gaining clarity on what the most important things to notice are.”

“What are the most important things to notice about yourself?”

“These are the most important lenses I’ve identified so far:

Lens of Expansiveness

When you’re focusing your attention on something and when lost in thought, your field of awareness collapses and you lose touch with your sensory awareness. 

Use the lens of expensiveness to do awareness checks throughout the day.

Question: Are you expanded or contracted?

Practice: Meta-Awareness, Expanding Awareness, Peripheral Vision

Lens of Posture

There’s an optimal position of the head on top of the spine – one of the core insights of the Alexander Technique. When you find this sweet spot, the result is lightness; it feels as if the head is floating over your shoulders. Some people describe this feeling as ‘antigravity’, or ‘freeing the neck’. This is the key to posture.

To discover the sweet spot, imagine a thread that runs from the top of your head all the way down through your spine, and gently pull the thread up. Relax your shoulders. Feel your spine lengthen. Chest up, chin down.

Use the lens of posture to do posture checks and free your neck throughout the day.

Question: How is your posture?

Practice: Alignment, Body Awareness

Lens of Breathing

Emotional states influence our natural breathing patterns. By changing your breathing pattern, you can change your state. Slowing down your breathing has a calming effect.

Use the lens of breathing to do a breath check every time something disturbs your inner balance.

Question: How is your breathing?

Practice: Breath Awareness, Conscious Breathing, Body Awareness

Lens of Feelings

Emotions are nothing more than physical sensations that have been named and have had a story woven around them. To deal with any unpleasant emotional sensation, always choose awareness over avoidance.

Another important physical sensation is muscular tension. Releasing muscular (and mental) tension helps you relax. Tension is often located in the shoulders, neck, and face.

Use the lens of feelings to fully experience your emotional sensations and to notice muscular tension.

Questions:
Where are you feeling this emotional sensation in your body? What was the trigger?
Where are you holding tension?

Practice: Body Awareness, Body Scan, Non-Judgmental Awareness, Non-Doing [<link; medium read], Relaxation, Letting Go

Lens of Thoughts

Everything we experience is influenced by our thoughts. Our thoughts create our reality.

We view reality through a filter of meaning. Everything we experience is an interpretation. Change your interpretation of something, and your experience of it changes.

Use the lens of thoughts to notice your thought patterns. Notice judgment [<link; short read], assumptions, ruminations, desires and expectations.

Question: What kind of thought pattern is this? Is it resourceful or unresourceful?

Practice: Metacognition, Non-Judgment, Letting Go”

Clarity

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Seek Clarity.”

“Can you clarify what you mean?”

Seek Clarity of Purpose.

What is it that you and only you can do? (Onlyness)
How can you use your unique gifts in greatest service to the world?

Seek Clarity of Identity.

Who are you? What is the essence of who you are?
Who do you want to be?

Seek Clarity of Values.

What qualities does the highest version of yourself possess?
What are the things you choose to never compromise on?

These form your Compass of Meaning, which helps you find your way back to the Path when you (inevitably) get lost. They’re also a reality filter. In directing Attention, they shape your reality.

Seek Clarity of Practice.

To consistently be who you want to be, you need to consistently practice it. You can practice something in every waking moment.

What can you practice in this context?
What can you practice now?

Seek Clarity of Focus.

To do your best work, you need to focus your Attention on one thing at a time.

What is the highest-leverage thing you can focus on?
What is the highest-leverage thing you can focus on now?”

“What if you have multiple valuable things you can focus on?”

Seek Clarity of Priorities.

Employ what I call the value razor [<link; short read].

Which value is more important/impactful now, x or y?”

My Niche

Make yourself useful.
Make yourself scarce.

(Jack Butcher)


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is your niche?

Express it as one skill, and three skills.”

“Expressed as one skill, my niche is Thinking/Awareness. I consider it life’s most important skill.”

“Why the pairing?”

“I’ve integrated them together into one concept (Concept-Stacking [<link; short read]). Another way of expressing it is Thinking/Non-Thinking.”

“Like Yin/Yang?”

“Precisely.

Expressed as three skills, my niche is:

Meta-Thinking Deconstructing and creating meaning and mental tools of thought, optimally directing attention, QM (Questions and Mental Models), …

Creative Thinking Creativity and Design

Meta-Learning – Optimal Learning”

“If we think of these skills as tools, what is their ultimate output?”

Artful Living – Life and Experience Design

Over the coming years, I want to discover ways of making myself useful in all these areas.”

The Daily Game

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the daily game?”

The game of making the day a work of art.

“How can I make the day a work of art?”

“I call the ideal day – however you conceive it for yourself –, the masterpiece day.

Get crystal clear on what the components that make up your masterpiece day are. 

What deeply meaningful things that are always within your control do you want to do every day?

Once you have the building-blocks, create a blueprint for your masterpiece day.”

“What if life gets in the way?”

The daily game is living your masterpiece day every day regardless of circumstances.

That’s why it’s important to base it only on things within your control.”

“What are the components of your masterpiece day?”

Growing and Giving [<link; very short read] – where Giving means both Love and Contribution.

Creating, Learning, and Moving.”

Intelligibility

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is intelligibility?”

“It’s a little conceptual tool I created for myself. A measure of how easy something is to understand by others.

How intelligible is x?

You can think of it as a spectrum, from low to high.

Intelligibility has two components:

Simplicity

  • Plain language, using the most basic vocabulary.
  • Expressing the complex in terms of the simple.

Clarity

  • Clear language, and clear thinking.
  • Defining concepts.
  • Making the implicit explicit.
  • Expressing the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar.

“What about brevity?”

“Brevity is beautiful, but compression often comes at the cost of intelligibility.

Intelligibility can be used to evaluate individual concepts, and texts as a whole.

It can also be used to evaluate yourself, your capacity to make yourself understood.

How intelligible are you?

On Values and Clarity

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“An essential aspect of the Wisdom journey is gaining Clarity on your Values. There’s two aspects to this:

Gaining clarity on what your Values are.
Gaining clarity on each Value individually.”

“How do you gain the second kind of clarity?”

“You can think of Values as guides. The clearer they are, the better they can guide you.

You can also think of Values as practice. Clarity reveals the details of the practice.

To gain clarity, I find it useful to write them down. I have a document with all my core Values:

Wisdom

Play

Love
Gratitude
Beauty

Simplicity
Balance

Courage

Thinking
Learning

Presence

Movement

Underneath each Value, there’s a selection of quotes / directives expressing different aspects of the practice.

Value
Details about the Value

Something like this:

Play

Live a Creative Life. (Robert Rodriguez)

Be your unapologetically weird self. (Chris Sacca)

EVERYTHING is the Beautiful Game [<link, medium length],
EVERY SINGLE MOMENT.

It’s ALL Play.

Regain the freedom to create like a child. (Josh Waitzkin)

Maximize each moment’s creative potential. (Josh Waitzkin)

Find the Gem
Think of your life as a game in which each problem you face is a puzzle to solve. By solving the puzzle, you get a gem in the form of a principle that helps you avoid the same sort of problem in the future. (Ray Dalio)

Love

Love what Is. (Byron Katie)
Amor Fati (Friedrich Nietzsche)

Love what you Do. (Marie Forleo)
ALWAYS do your best. (Miguel Ruiz)

Love the Storm. (Josh Waitzkin)

Gratitude

Take NOTHING for granted.

Celebrate every little win.
Celebrate how far you’ve come.
Celebrate your Beautiful BodyMind.

Find the Gift
EVERYTHING you experience has a hidden Gift inside of it. The puzzle is to discover it, and express Gratitude for it.

I have a tendency to add too much stuff, so I pass everything I add to the document through the 80/20 filter, and I constantly ask myself:

What can I eliminate?”

Specificity

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“How can I implement x?”

Before you start looking for answers, get clear on what the question means, and optimize it.

What does it mean to implement something?”

“To turn it into a habit.”

“Then the question becomes:

How can I turn this into a habit?

This already suggests a course of action.

The principle here is specificity.

Get clear on what you’re trying to accomplish, and how.

What does the habit look like? When do you want to engage in it, how often, for how long?

Then follow up with:

How can I make it actionable? What specific action-steps can I take to get started?”