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  • David Loughry 2:55 am on January 14, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , machines, self-sabotage, Specialization, Success, victims   

    Don't Be a Machine Please 

    Just because machines are specialized, please don’t think you should be.

    You’re not a machine (most likely!). You are a complex human being, that thrives on many different things.

    The world is chock full of stories of people who specialize, become successful, and then become victims of their own specialization.

    Someone once said that poison is often a matter of how large the dose is. With many things, a little bit can be wonderful. But a large amount, or too much, can kill you, either slowly, or quickly.

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  • David Loughry 3:31 am on November 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Complexity, ,   

    Embrace variety. Or not (wink, wink). 

    To be interesting, and engaging, and to feel alive, and to engage with the world, and to connect with people, you’ve got to be both different as well as accessible. You’ve got to be complex enough people can’t quite figure you out, yet they feel comfortable with you as well. How can you do all that? Embrace variety.

     
  • David Loughry 3:55 am on November 10, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , competition, full life, ,   

    Winning at Life 

    A life made full with variety is the best way I know of to really win at life. Partly because it becomes not about winning.

    I guess this partly relates to the adage “living well is the best revenge.”

    It also relates to something I’ve said from time to time: Variety — it’s the best kind of wealth.

     
  • David Loughry 1:07 am on July 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , films, , , , reviews   

    “Casablanca” great partly due to the great diversity of talent behind it. 

    If you watch the “making of” documentary on the Casablanca DVD, you’ll see how many different sorts of people contributed to it, especially to the writing of it. I think it’s quite possible the interactions of this wide variety of talent played a huge role in making Casablanca one of the great movies.

    Another ProxPattern that played a role is allowing some uncertainty. They talk about not knowing how the film would end, up until very near the end of the shooting. This allowing of tension throughout the making of it I think also contributed to the special quality of the film.

     
  • David Loughry 7:27 pm on July 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    Doing a bunch of different things you don’t like is not variety 

    Doing a bunch of different things you don’t like is not an experience of variety.

    Why? Because those different things share one common feature, which is that you don’t like them. In a sense, they weren’t even a bunch of different things, since you felt the same way the whole time.

    If you had felt a variety of different ways when doing those variety of different things, then you’d be getting somewhere!

     
    • Jeni Norton 6:35 am on January 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Now, THIS is some mighty astute logic. At first I was like, “Oh, come on. SURE it is. They’re different, which means varied, which is the root of variety.” And then you got me. With the part that starts with “because.” You also answered a “why” question. That in itself is somewhat heroic. Thank you.

      This makes me think, too… Perhaps I am not a variety person. Or perhaps I experience variety in a variety of ways. And maybe my ways are sort of “cheating.” But maybe not, as this is my first venture toward your philosophy as outlined in your blog. So… you tell me, if you want.

      As a kid, I started making up games just to get through the chores of life. Clearing the table after dinner became a mental exercise, a visualization game. I would see the table, memorize where everything was, focus and burn it into my imagination. Then I would remove two or three items, turn from the table and take them to the kitchen; then go back to the altered table and reconstruct it. In my brain. I think you may be the first person to have heard this; I thought people would make fun of me for it. Well… for this and about a billion other ways I qualified for the goober award I was sure existed among junior high kids (and maybe teachers, who knows.)

      As a grown up, I have sometimes gone to my job knowing I would do the same exact thing all day long. It has taken everything from placing slight emphasis on certain things and allowing others to remain in the background, to using all different colors of highlighters and writing pens and post-it note papers just to make my eyeballs happy, to volunteering for those head-stretching spreadsheet design tasks (with ghastly deadlines) to get past the tedium while keeping the paychecks (and the benefits) streaming in.

      I still play the visual games – especially when cleaning kitchens and bathrooms, or dusting my largest pieces of furniture – but also when doing laundry, and even on some of the most mundane reports at work. For which I also check back the work with a rainbow of ballpoints.

      OMG. What if there’s a goober award for adults, too…?

      • David Loughry 11:09 pm on March 8, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I’ll take somewhat heroic! You are most welcome.

        It seems to me you often take situations with low variety and turn them into ones with much more variety. You’re not sticking with the dreaded feeling of “I hate this, I hate this, I hate this” when doing boring things which, without your games, probably would be doing a bunch of different things you don’t like. You’ve found ways to like them!

        This reminds me of when I used to mow the lawn after coming home from the first year of college, which included some design courses that loosened me up. Going straight back and forth? Boring! I would make all kinds of lines and designs with the mower that would slowly disappear as I finished. I decided, so I mow some grass twice, so what?? So it’s a little inefficient, so what?

        Which leads, with your talk about your job, to two other points. One point is, while our society is not ONLY focused on efficiency, it may often be OVERLY focused on efficiency. Which may often lead to boring jobs. And I think many people may be often bored by their work. I think there are at least good two angles of approach in changing this. One is at the more micro level of putting the idea of more variety out there and then supporting people in their efforts to value, allow, seek and manage variety in their lives. The other angle is at the more macro level of treating environments, contexts and proximities as living things in a sense, that we can make efforts to keep alive, and when those environments, contexts and proximities are more the focus, individual people may be able to have more variety in their lives. It’s like by doing one thing you also get another thing you want. I also think networks allow treating environments, contexts and proximities as living things more than we are currently leveraging.

        The other point is about the evolution of computers. (I know, pretty gooberish!) Did you know there came a time when there were so many extra computing cycles (excess capacity) in their machines, they realized they didn’t have to write the most efficient code anymore, and could start doing extravagant things like creating the graphical user interfaces we are surrounded by now? Similarly, I think the ability of networks to let us monitor and relate to environments, contexts and proximities is currently a kind of excess capacity. What if wherever you went, you could not only just know about where you were, or be entertained by or buy things related to where you were, both of which current technology allows, but also if you chose you could join in to help create, sustain and enhance wherever you were, because you could easily see what was going on and what needed to be done? Wouldn’t that enhance the variety in your life? I think this is totally doable and I’m looking for people to collaborate with who are either already building it or want to build it.

        Thanks for your comment Jeni! Sorry it took me a while to respond. I think part of what I’m saying is your ways are NOT sort of “cheating” but you may sometimes be constrained by circumstances. And changing those circumstances may involve, to some degree, changing the mental, physical and software infrastructures we operate within.

        Also, responding to you resulted in some writing I may have to elevate to a post of its own! These are ideas I’ve had and sometimes written about, but replying to you helped me put them into a good, compact form. Thank you for that! I’ll give you credit and perhaps some other proxri for triggering it! Of course for your proxri it would help to know more about what is important to you via your ProxMonitor …

  • David Loughry 7:18 pm on July 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: diversity, fun, pleasure,   

    Using Pleasure to Get to Sustainability 

    If you want to get to sustainability, you’ve got to make it pleasurable for people.

    A sufficient amount of variety in life is pleasurable, even highly pleasurable. Luckily, variety and sustainability go hand-in-hand, in part because they share one important thing in common, and that thing is diversity.

    So if we encourage variety, reward ourselves with and for variety, and build systems which support and enhance variety, then we get to sustainability. And how did we get there? By making it pleasurable.

     
  • David Loughry 6:43 pm on July 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: my daily variety   

    My Daily Variety 

    3 – On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 = poor variety, 5 = awesome variety), today feels like a 3 for me.

    On the negative side, problems with work and technical challenges messed up about three hours for me today that could have been better used or more fun.

    On the plus side, I’ve had time to spend on my ProxThink site, and this Variety People site, which has been fun. It stimulated different parts of my brain and provided new challenges. I also got Dropbox set up on my Mac and iPhone, which was cool.

     
  • David Loughry 11:51 am on May 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Switching Gears 

    I’ve been working on my Artdown project a lot recently. I’m getting a bit tired of thinking about it, and working on it. I’m going to work on some other things for a while. It’s nice to have some variety. I try to set my life up so I have those kinds of options. I can’t always, but sometimes I can, and it makes a big difference.

     
  • David Loughry 11:37 am on April 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags:   

    What role does variety play in your life? 

    Certainly variety plays a role in most people’s lives. Are you aware of it? Do you encourage or allow it? What role does variety play in your life?

     
  • David Loughry 12:02 pm on April 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , markets, , , , , systems   

    Variety Can be Increased with a Different Approach 

    Of course jobs, work and markets often demand that we do the same thing over and over. And of course, some people are perhaps born specialists — they just love a prolonged focus in an area or subject of expertise.

    But I have a feeling that many people would like more variety than they get. Actually, it’s more than just a feeling. I’ve worked in many different industries and markets, and met many different kinds of people. It’s my impression that many of them specialized because they had to, rather than they wanted to.

    Personally, I like doing several different things. I like thinking, painting, and writing, but also building, creating new projects, and working with people. I also like variety in areas like recreation, socializing, and daily activities.

    I think part of the problem is the way our society is organized, so it’s the fault of no one person or group. Rather, it’s the system. And systems are things we can change. I’ve thought a lot about this, and I believe the changes needed involve more proximity thinking. But understanding proximity thinking involves taking some time to learn about the ProxThink framework I developed. Part of the framework is a sustainable proximities approach, which involves relating not only to people and group efforts (like businesses, organizations, clubs, governments, etc.), but also to proximities.

    Briefly, a proximity consists of elements related or potentially related to a situation, in physical, mental and other ways. But instead of going into all that here, I’ll point you to two links, at the end of this post.

    However, keep the following basic idea in mind: a greater focus on creating and maintaining viable proximities allows more variety within those proximities. This contrasts with how markets focus more effort and attention on individual elements like people and businesses. And given current systems, this makes some sense. In the absence of ways to relate to proximities, it’s not surprising people focus on themselves and their own business. However, with networks, we have the ability to monitor and relate more directly to proximities, and the sustainable proximities approach provides ways to do that. So together, networks and the sustainable proximities approach provide ways to relate to proximities. Don’t worry if this kind of thinking doesn’t come naturally at first. It can take a little getting used to. My hope is that by building some working examples of this approach, it will become more natural and obvious. This Variety People site may become one of those working examples. In cultivating variety, we relate to proximities.

    For a general introduction to ProxThink, see the main site:
    http://proxthink.com

    Here’s an introduction to the sustainable proximities approach:
    http://proxthink.com/ways/sustainable-proximities.php

     
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