How exposure to different people affects our thinking

“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us”

“The quote “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us”  is often mistakenly attributed to Marshall McLuhan. It does NOT appear in “Understanding Media”, as Wilson Miner confidently asserts in the presentation below, indeed it does not appear in any published work by McLuhan at all. The quote was actually written by Father John Culkin, SJ, a Professor of Communication at Fordham University in New York and friend of McLuhan. But though the quote is Culkin’s, I would argue that the idea is McLuhan’s, as it comes up in an article by Culkin about McLuhan: Culkin, J.M. (1967, March 18). A schoolman’s guide to Marshall McLuhan. Saturday Review, pp. 51-53, 71-72. The idea presented in the quote is entirely consistent with McLuhan’s thinking on technology in general.”

Source: “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us” | McLuhan Galaxy

Finding Goldilocks: A Solution for Black-and-White Thinking

The sweet spot between opposite extremes is the zone of effective living: Finding Goldilocks: A Solution for Black-and-White Thinking

Leaders eat last

My son is a former Marine captain. When he was going through Officer Candidate School, he told me there were times when he was leading a unit on an exercise and he didn’t have a chance to eat. Why? “Leaders eat last” he told me…

“This one choice, whether a leader puts themselves or their people first, determines if they are worthy of our love and loyalty.”

If you like this thinking, you can get the book here:

Why lifelong learning is the international passport to success

Picture yourself at a college graduation day, with a fresh cohort of students about to set sail for new horizons. What are they thinking while they throw their caps in the air? Why lifelong learning is the international passport to success

25 Ways You’re Borrowing Self From Others

Learning to rely on your own thinking can help you manage anxiety: 25 Ways You’re Borrowing Self From Others

How Anchoring Bias Makes You Dumb

Be warned, your subconscious mind often drops anchor in the strangest of ports: How Anchoring Bias Makes You Dumb

You Must Commit to This Task This Next Year

As a new year is about to begin, many of us are thinking about how we’d like to get healthier, wealthier, and wiser over the next twelve months. Of course, to the Stoics, what really mattered was that final bucket—getting wiser. Understanding yourself and the world better was their primary focus. So if your goal: You Must Commit to This Task This Next Year

Priority Matrix from @appfluence

I am a huge fan of productivity thoughts, tools and tactics and I firmly believe that no matter what business you are in, you can benefit from some intentional thinking in this area. All of us have more things to do than time to do it in and could benefit from a tool that would help us to organize our thoughts and tasks in a more systematic way.

I have been interested in this space since the early 90’s when the company I worked for at the time implemented the Franklin Planner as a means of increasing or enhancing productivity. Franklin Planner was a great way to start but organizing things according to their methodology was as cumbersome as the mass of binders that we had to carry around in order to manage our days.

Almost 20 years ago David Allen came on the scene with his radical ‘Getting Things Done’ approach to time and task management. His ‘mind like water’ approach is perfect for a time when to-do lists must be more flexible while recognizing the context of tasks as well. I have taken his approach to productivity to heart for almost half of my business life and thought of you who know me have heard me talk about it at least once, if not more! What I have never really found is a way to implement his thinking in a way that incorporates the best of software tools, the cloud and a platform independent approach that met my needs. Until now, that is. The tool I want to tell you about is called Priority Matrix from Appfluence.

Priority Matrix is platform independent, based in the cloud, freemium software that integrates with any email platform you’re using including Office 365, Outlook, G Suites and Gmail and it does it seamlessly and elegantly.

Here’s a brief overview:

Overview

Additional Examples

It’s even available for smartphones!

You can find many more of these examples on their YouTube channel here.

This solution hits all my high notes around thoughts, tools, tactics and timing in the productivity space and it meets all my criteria for an effective solution. It is simple, it is powerful, it is platform independent, it is freemium and therefore it is effective. If you’d like to talk about how this applies to you, please use the contact form below!

Supplemental articles

My interview with David Allen…


These thoughts were assembled with care for the important people in my life. If you’re getting this link, it’s because you and your productivity and happiness are very important to me! I hope it benefits you…

Why We Can’t Stop Thinking About Other People’s Lives

Observations on jealousy, social comparison theory, and being human: Why We Can’t Stop Thinking About Other People’s Lives

15 Common Cognitive Distortions

What’s a cognitive distortion and why do so many people have them? Cognitive distortions are simply ways that our mind convinces us of something that isn’t really true. These inaccurate thoughts are usually used to reinforce negative thinking or emotions — telling ourselves things that sound rational and accurate, but really only serve to keep us feeling bad about ourselves. For instance, a person might tell themselves, “I always fail when I try to do something new; I therefore fail at everything I try.” This is an example of “black or white” (or polarized) thinking. The person is only seeing things in absolutes — that if they fail at one thing, they must fail at all things. If they added, “I must be a complete loser and failure” to their thinking, that would also be an example of overgeneralization — taking a failure at one specific task and generalizing it their very self and identity: 15 Common Cognitive Distortions

The Surprising Benefits of Journaling One Sentence Every Day

“From 1986 to 2011, Oprah Winfrey hosted The Oprah Winfrey Show. It was the highest rated talk show of all-time and familiar to nearly anyone who owned a television set in North America at that time.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the “Queen of All Media” built a brand that stretched far beyond the television screen. She went on to become a billionaire, a well-regarded philanthropist, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And as she was busy working toward these otherworldly accomplishments, Oprah relied on a simple habit: journaling.

Journaling is simply the act of thinking about your life and writing it down. That’s it. Nothing more is needed. But despite its simplicity, the daily journal has played a key role in the careers of many prolific people.

As you might expect, journaling is a favorite habit of many writers. From Mark Twain to Virginia Woolf, Francis Bacon to Joan Didion, John Cheever to Vladimir Nabokov. A journal was rarely far from any of these artists. Susan Sontag once claimed that her journal was where she “created herself.” 

Journaling has been utilized by scores of brilliant thinkers and inventors. Charles Darwin. Marie Curie. Leonardo da Vinci. Thomas Edison. Albert Einstein. Similarly, leaders and politicians throughout history have kept journals in one form or another. People like Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill, and Marcus Aurelius. In the sporting world, athletes like Katie Ledecky, winner of multiple gold medals, and Eliud Kipchoge, the world record holder in the marathon, rely on journals to reflect on their daily workouts and improve their training.

Why have so many of history’s greatest thinkers spent time journaling? What are the benefits?”

Read on: The Surprising Benefits of Journaling One Sentence Every Day | James Clear

Lead Yourself First by Raymond M. Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin

More inspirational thinking from Brian Johnson of optimize.me…

The Courage To Speak Up

“If you see things differently than others, congratulations.  You’re thinking for yourself.

If you find yourself pressured into thinking like everyone else, that’s a sign your opinion threatens. It’s too powerful to be dismissed out-of-hand, and that’s why they want to shut you up.

If the status quo is angered by your theory, you’re likely onto something.  Stick to your guns.

If your boss doesn’t want to hear your contrarian opinion, that’s because it cannot be easily dismissed. That’s reason enough to say it.”: The Courage To Speak Up | Shipulski On Design

Helen Fisher’s Personality Test; The Anatomy Of Love

Helen Fisher’s Personality Quiz has now been taken by over 14 million people in 40 countries. Helen created it to test the degree to which you express four broad styles of thinking and behaving, each associated with one of four basic brain systems: the dopamine, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen systems. We call these four types the:

  • Explorer: those who primarily express the traits linked with the dopamine system.
  • Builder: those who primarily express the traits linked with the serotonin system.
  • Director: those who primarily express the traits linked with the testosterone system.
  • Negotiator: those who primarily express the traits linked with the estrogen system.

We are all a combination of these four trait constellations, but we express some more than others. In fact, it is not unusual to score equally on two (or sometimes three) of these temperament dimensions. Moreover, each of us has a unique combination of overall traits, a unique “personality signature.”

Go to the source to learn more and take the quiz: Helen Fisher’s Personality Test – The Anatomy Of Love

Here are my results…

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