Tuesday, April 28, 2015

FOLIO Tool 8: Label and Extract


Tool 8: Label and Extract

Label

The Label tool represents information with a single word. This makes the information into a manageable chunk and can open it up to more thinking options, ideas and possibilities.For example if I've written the sentence, "I can't sleep at night", then labeling it as "that problem" makes for a more manageable way to attack and think about the problem (I could use Advice-mentor, Questions-mentor, or any of the SHM ABI PLT tools).

I can use any word to label any amount of information I want, but the words from this group of words seem to work again and again: challenge, fact, question, goal, action, thing, sentence, problem. 

Example of Label:

The sentence I'm looking at is:

Some books are too expensive to touch.

That can be labeled as a fact, and I can then refer to the idea that some books are too expensive to touch as "that fact".

More Examples of Label: 

A party manifesto: That publication.
Reading up on music theory:  That mission.
Reading the work of a famous satirist: That idea.
Finding a way to project a book onto a wall: That challenge.
Reading a book in the bath: That action.
What makes a good reader? That question.

NB: If the information is plural then "those" can be used instead of "that":

People who read books: Those readers.
Stories that appear in trilogy form: Those stories.

Extract

To do the Extract option, I parenthesize some words in the past sentence and "lift them out", to consider them in their own right. For example, while thinking about the reading books topic, I could've generated the following sentence:

Have any books been written by ouija board?

I can parenthesise some of the words there:

Have any books been (written by ouija board?)

and lift them out, to focus on them in their own right:

Written by ouija board.

More Examples of Extract:

Here are some sentences. The words I could extract are inside the parentheses.

(What makes a wise) reader?
(Learn to read) Latin.
(Ways to express information) in ways that relax the reader.
The (horror) genre.
If floats (my boat).
You can't (judge a book by) its cover.
Might read and study a book only to find the (information is useless).

FOLIO Tool 7: Paper


Tool 7: Paper

With the Paper tool, I look back on the information written on the page so far (I usually work on A4 paper), parenthesise a selected section of the writing (it can be a word, a phrase, sentence, paragraph etc) and "lift" that information away to focus on with the SHM ABI PLT tools in its own right.

For example, from the previous FOLIO posts I could pick out information such as:

This is a simplified version.
Produce more switches in my thinking.
My thinking.
I pick a random adjective and use it as a trigger to generate some advice.
Make a difference?
Relaxes the reader.
The purpose of the creative mentor.

I can opt to stay on-topic or go off-topic. So, for example, with "my thinking" I could stay on-topic and think about my thinking in relation to the topic -  reading books - or go off-topic and think about my thinking more generally.

FOLIO Tool 6: Introspection (Psychological)

Use of Adjectives 

In this post, I'll be using random adjectives to help guide the thinking directed by the Introspection tool. Here's a post about generating a list of adjectives: How to create a list of adjectives quickly.


Tool 6: Introspection (Psychological)

The idea of the Introspection tool is to dig deep into thoughts, feelings, beliefs etc. There are three elements with the Introspection tool, represented by the letters BAH. B is for  BA DAFT. A is for Arrows, and H is for Hypothetical. 

BA DAFT 

BA DAFT stands for: Belief and assumptions, automatic negative thoughts, downsides and benefits (same as pros and cons), automatic positive thoughts, feelings, thoughts. The aim is to list my BA DAFTs about the topic. I imagine there is a mentor-type person with me prompting me to address seven psychological directives about reading books.

The Seven Directives:

1) On the subject of reading books, name one of your beliefs (or assumptions)
2) On the subject of reading books, name one of your automatic negative thoughts.
3) On the subject of reading books, name a downside
4) On the subject of reading books, name a benefit
5) On the subject of reading books, name one of your automatic positive thoughts.
6) On the subject of reading books, name one of your feelings.
7) On the subject of reading books, name one of your thoughts.

Example of Each of the Seven Directives Applied to reading books:

1) On the subject of reading books, name one of your beliefs (or assumptions).

Answer: Reading books is good.

2) On the subject of reading books, name one of your automatic negative thoughts.

Answer: I don't have much time to read.

3) On the subject of reading books, name a downside.

Answer: You can't learn all day. Fatigue sets in. And it's difficult to judge when you're properly refreshed enough to go back to the study.

4)  On the subject of reading books, name a benefit.

Answer: It's an enjoyable process. You can feel like a different person.

5) On the subject of reading books, name one of your automatic positive thoughts.

Answer: If reading fiction, you can get lost in another world.

6) On the subject of reading books, name one of your feelings.

Answer: It can be hard work if you're memorising information.

7) On the subject of reading books, name one of your thoughts. 

Answer: The knowledge I've gained from reading has improved my life since I started reading seriously in my 20s. 

Arrows (Why is that good to me? Why is that bad to me?)

The Arrows technique (asking "Why is that good to me?" and "Why is that bad to me?" ) is covered in the Big Picture section above.

Hypothetical

For the hypothetical, I create - and think about - a hypothetical action I could do. I am asking, "What would happen if I did (hypothetical action)...?" and then I can apply the BA DAFT and Arrows tools above.

To form my hypothetical, I use random adjectives and the format:

If I do something-X

I pick a random adjective for the "X" and ask myself "What action does that suggest?"

So, for the topic reading books, the random adjective "bleary" for the "X" gives:

If I do something-bleary.

And then I ask, "What action does that suggest?" Maybe:

If I burn the midnight oil and study until the small hours.

More Examples of Hypotheticals:

If I do something...benevolent: Contribute to the local library. Give some books away.
If I do something...cheeky: Leave smart arse comments in library books.
If I do something...unwanted: Read a book that doesn't interest me at all.
If I do something...moany: Write critical reviews of books I hate on Amazon.
If I do something...aesthetic: Try to design a cover for a book.
If I do something...alone: Live in a cave and spend all day reading.
If I do something...red: Read Chairman Mao's Little Red Book.
If I do something...matey: Ask mates what they're reading at the mo.
If I do something...material: Read up on understanding the economy.
If I do something...interrogative: Read about interrogation techniques and brainwashing.

I can apply BA DAFT and the arrows techniques to any of those, or I can use any of the Folio tools.

WITOWT (What If The Opposite Were True).

There's a simple question I use to challenge assumptions and beliefs etc. It's "What if the opposite were true?", which is represented by the acronym WITOWT. It works on beliefs, thoughts, assumptions and opinions. Generally speaking, WITOWT can be applied to anything that could be recognised as an assertion. In addition to asking WITOWT? I like to generate thoughts that are somewhere on the scale between the opposites.

For example,  if I believe, "I'm no good at singing", then that's an assertion, and I can ask WITOWT? and generate the opposite:

I'm great at singing!

then list points between the two opposites - "I'm no good at singing" and,  "I'm great at singing":

I'm okay at singing.
I can sing sometimes.
I can sing some kinds of tunes.
I can sing tunes that don't have a great range of notes.
etc.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

FOLIO Tool 5: Big Picture

Use of Adjectives 

Throughout this blog post, I'll use random adjectives to help guide the thinking directed by the nine tools. Here's a post about generating a list of adjectives: How to create a list of adjectives quickly.

Tool 5: Big Picture

There are three options within Big Picture, all used to dig deeper into motivation. These are ASH: Arrows, Scenarios, and How to (more and more).

A: The Positive and Negative Arrows

The positive and negative arrows are based on the Vertical Arrow Technique,  a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) technique that features in the book Feeling Good, by David Burns. The idea is to dig deeper and deeper into motivations, thoughts and beliefs - both positive and negative ones. There are two types of Arrow approach: Positive arrow, and Negative arrow.

Positive Arrow: Why is that good to me? 

To do the positive arrow, I look at the topic (which can also be a thought, problem, challenge, etc) and I ask, "Why is that good to me?" I answer that question, then apply the question, "Why is that good to me?" again, to the previous answer.. I keep repeating this process, asking "Why is that good to me?" and then answering the question again, digging ever deeper until I'm left with an "final answer" where I think I am unable to dig any deeper.

Example 1:

Reading books...

Q: Why is that good to me?
A: I like new ideas.
Q: Why is that good to me?
A: I like to think in new ways.
Q: Why is that good to me?
A: It floats my boat.
Q: Why is that good to me?
A: It means I enjoy life.

Example 2:

Reading books...

Q: Why is that good to me?
A: I can learn new information.
Q: Why is that good to me?
A: I can think differently.
Q: Why is that good to me?
A: I like to blitz my assumptions.
Q: Why is that good to me?
A: I like making life simpler and easier.
Q: Why is that good to me?
A: I like a creative mental challenge.
Q: Why is that good to me?
A: It's fun.

Negative Arrow: Why is that bad to me? 

To do the negative arrow, I look at the topic (which can also be a thought, problem, challenge etc) and I ask, "Why is that bad to me?" Like with the positive arrow above, I answer that question, then apply the question, "Why is that bad to me?" again to the previous answer, continuing the process, asking and answering the question again, digging ever deeper until I'm left with an "final answer" where I think I am unable to dig any deeper.

Example:

Reading books.

Q: Why is that bad to me?
A: It can be hard sometimes to restructure someone else's thoughts so it fits my own thinking model.
Q: Why is that bad to me?
A: It can be stressful.
Q: Why is that bad to me?
A: It's unpleasant.

Scenarios: The Worst That Can Happen, The Best That Can Happen 

Everyone is familiar with asking, "What's the worst that can happen?" and "What's the best that can happen?" I think asking these questions is an important part of seeing the big picture. I also like to get a bit creative when thinking about these scenarios - here I've included the option of putting more imagination into forming the scenarios (again, by using random adjectives).

The Worst-That-Can-Happen

There are two ways here to form the WCH - intuitively, and generated with an adjective.

Intuitive Worst-That-Can-Happen

Here, I'm asking the following question: On the subject of readings books, what's the worst that can happen? Here's some possibilities:

I might not understand it at all.
I might get so lost in reading that I neglect real life.
I might read all of it but then forget it all by the next day!
I might never be able to retain the information.

Using an Adjective to Generate a Worst-That-Can-Happen

Here I'm using the format:

Create X worst-that-can-happen (about reading books).

I insert a random adjective into the position of the "X". The random adjective "normal" gives:

Create normal worst-that-can-happen (about reading books).

What terrible scenarios could occur? Maybe:

Information overload. Meltdown! 
Stress.
Burnout.

More Examples of Worst-That-Can-Happen Scenarios:

Create excluded WCH: I might be the only one who can't understand it.
Create unhygenic WCH: I might catch an awful disease off a library book.
Create fun WCH: I might have so much fun and get so engrossed in the book I neglect other areas of my life.
Create valuable WCH: I might read the book and learn the information only to find the information is now useless, obsolete, or not applicable.
Create bespectacled WCH: My glasses could break and I won't be able to read.

The Best-That-Can-Happen

Like with the worst-that-can-happen, there are two ways to form the best-that-can-happen - intuitively, or with an adjective.

Intuitive Best-That-Can-Happen

Here I'm asking the following question: On the subject of reading books, what's the best that can happen? Here are some possibilities:

I'll be ecstatic about reading..
The information could change my life.
I could find a new author.
I could be inspired to gain a qualification.
I'll retain 100 percent of the information.
The knowledge might help me to tackle other subjects. 

Using an Adjective to Generate a  Best-That-Can-Happen

Here I'm using the format:

Create X best-that-can-happen (about reading books).

I insert a random adjective into the position of the "X". The random adjective "quick" gives:

Create quick best-that-can-happen (about reading books).

What great scenarios could occur? Maybe:

I might learn a new subject quickly.
I might really get engrossed in the reading straight away.
I might find my outlook changes quickly due to learning new information.
I might finish the book in one sitting.
The reading could change my life very quickly.

More Examples of Best-That-Can-Happen Scenarios:

Create far away BCH: I will drift off to another world and feel refreshed after reading.
Create countryside BCH: I might want to take a book everywhere.
Create natural BCH: I'll enjoy the whole process.

H: How to...More and More

This is the same as the "How to...more and more" explained in the Creative-mentor section above.