11 days ago, Friday June 2nd 2023, was when I decided to review my previous summer plan, and change it completely around. Based on a strong feeling, I knew that I needed to go far outside my comfort zone; I needed to travel to Tanzania. I wrote about that here.
I have never been on the African continent, and I am in my process now of getting small glimpses into it, glimpses into the continent, through Tanzania as my first gate. First, but not last.
I know that the trip will be a new experience. That is a given. My first trip to India, sometime in my future, will also be a new experience, to put it mildly. But I also know that somewhere in this new horizon, and new experience, there will also be a new set of PDR – Planning / Doing / Reviewing. Old concepts and assumptions may crumble. Old views of what an African society is like may crumble. Or it may be confirmed. Confirmed in my eyes, that is.
I have not blogged so much lately. That may change when I get there on June 30th, but it may also continue. In either case, I will try to plan ever smaller challenges for myself to dive into.
But I now know that I will also go to Mbeya. I will avoid Arusha and other safari-loaded places. I may stay in Mbeya for 10 days or so during my time in Tanzania. The Mbeya region has 1.7 million inhabitants. Who are they? What are their dreams, hopes, fears, nightmares? What do they aim for in their society? What is the future of this city, this region, this part of the country?
I leave for Tanzania on Thursday June 29th. It is now June 13th. I will be leaving in 16 days. It feels so wonderful.
But in the meantime: A ton of work. And I will do what I can do plan/do/review. But in small cycles. Iterative movements.
In 2007, during VlogEurope in Heidelberg, I organized an event. The participants would be given a certain timeframe, and they would get a card each from the Oblique Strategies (Wikipedia). The task was to create a videoblog entry with the theme from the card.
My card was this one:
I remember that when I pulled this card from the pack, and it was my card for the time… This really struck me, almost like a lightning.
The point is:
You define an area as ‘safe’ – whether it actually is safe or not.
Then you use that area as your anchor, and from that anchor you can build further.
The message in this card has been with me ever since, and I often do it, in all kinds of situations and contexts. I conceptually define a “safe spot”, and then I use that spot as my anchor.
Now that I am not going across Europe for my summer vacation, but instead going to Tanzania, I am also doing this – looking for safe spots, that I can use as anchors.
One very concrete example. I use a focal point in the map: Nafari Art Space (GMaps / Website). The ethos of this place seems just right for me, and I decide to look at areas around that. Perhaps that space can be a “safe spot”, that I can return to often. Hang around. And from that space, I can circle myself out, seeking out other anchors. And as time goes, I will have several anchors in the city.
This is how my map of Dar es Salaam looks now:
As the month of July progresses this year, I will have more and more pins, and they will have specific categories, as well as notes. They are not public, so it is just in my view, but they are important as part of my processing of the event.
Defining. Using the anchor. Using the anchors. Switching the anchors. Finding my own rhytm.
My first version of the summer vacation plans was: Amsterdam, Brussels, Warsaw, Krakow, Milan, lake Como area, and finally back home to Oslo. Three weeks solo travel.
My second version of the summer vacation plan was: Amsterdam, Brussels. Warsaw, Krakow, eastern Czech Republic, back home.
But yesterday night, during a conversation at the summer party at work, I decided on the spot to change my summer vacation plans completely.
I will instead go to Tanzania for the entire summer vacation.
It is linked to several things, basically.
Mostly, it is linked to my wish to get first-hand experience on the ground in an African country. How can I do my job properly as leader of the expert group for IT and digitalization at Engineers Without Borders Norway if I do not have any field experience?
Also, this summer, when I have my summer vacation, I would feel better if my vacation is conceptually linked to something larger. And if I now spend 4 weeks in Tanzania in this summer, both to relax and recharge my batteries, as well as doing field trips, and talking with locals, questions related to Their life, their situation, their hopes, dreams, opportunities; I will feel better afterwards.
Also, I have the intuitive feeling that this trip will mark a new direction for me. The trip marks, cements, my dedication to a new urge to challenge my comfort zone. To see new things. To find new threads.
To weave with new threads. Weave the next phase of my life with new threads, and based on new designs.
Of course, this sudden change in my summer vacation plans has consequences, including economically. But I will now start to conceptualize ways I can apply for funds for my field trip this summer. And I will also find/invent new threads related to this that will aid me in this process.
I will begin by talking about the trip with others, and ask for feedback. I will explore the Existing links, and seek new ones. The links are the threads; while the…
Let me explain my weaving process.
Data points are of several types: Facts, intuition, emotions, analysis.
Threads are of several types: Cognitive links, emotional links, intuitive links.
My weaving is combinations of these elements; an interplay between them. My instrument for the actual weaving is myself, in all my aspects.
I create internal «heat maps» as a part of my process. I scan my field of vision, which as I mentioned includes different sources and processes. And in this scan, I have started to use my intuition as my «sensor» much more often. I look at the picture, the field, the different elements with my intuitive sensory system. I reach deep inside myself, within seconds or hours, and I see the heat map-like. I see it visually with my mind.
So, «heat map» is an image of my mental processes, just like the «litmus test» is another.
And I listen to the results of my heat map view.
Yesterday, I did a scan, in the middle of my talk with the other person. It took 2-3 seconds. The scan revealed this new heat map, where there was the huge red/orange new spot, it almost blinded me. It said: «Skip Europe this summer. Go to Tanzania. Go to Dar es Salaam.»
So, in a month, on July 3rd, 2023, I will be in Dar es Salaam. I will write about this process under the tag «Tanzania 2023».
I try to remember when I started loathing the “mandatory” summer parties or Christmas parties at work. But it must be many years ago; I don’t even remember when.
Tonight, there is a summer party at work. Again. My expectation is to be bored to death. Not because I don’t have good colleagues; I enjoy being with them. But because the Setting is so unsettling for me. I simply do not enjoy those kinds of events.
My expectation is 3/6. A three out of six score. I will leave just after the dessert; after the food is done. But I actually believe that I should just listen to my own needs more, and just avoid them.
Today, I joined as participant on my first “mapathon”, and here is the result – my “cell” that I marked with buildings. It is part of this project, and I hope to do a lot more mapping in this part of Malawi (GMaps).
Here is my OpenStreetMap user that I created today, and this is my diary there; just starting out.
I will first do my best to become an experienced mapper the next days in my spare time, and then later on get involved in the mapping community. My goal is to with time organize a mapathon here in Norway.
As always: One step at the time. Iterative processes.
I have input machines. A camera on my phone. A microphone; well, two microphones.
I have output machines: A phone. A computer.
I have processing powers. My own brain. The phone. The computer.
My output can become my input; my input can become my process; my process can become my output.
It all can become rather confusing (pdf of v0.01 of my IPO matrix).
But the pattern is something to explore as well.
No, I will continue. So, basically, let’s not fool ourselves. All humans have these matrixes. But I am somehow interested in being more experimental about it. The example in the mentioned pdf is a good example:
I am reading a book (Input), I reflect on the book’s themes (process), I make a video about my reading a book (output), that video becomes input in another process.
So, I am now in a Process of writing this blog entry. I am recording the screen of me doing this; that recording becomes output. Watching that recording can then become input for something else. I could for instance re-watch that recording on Dropbox. I could then record my watching of it; my process, my thinking, while watching it. I forget response; I guess I ignored it, but yes, response is a part of my process. I respond to my earlier self writing this; I respond to my earlier self listening to “Silentium” by Wojciech Golczewski.
So, what’s the question here?
It’s about patterns. My patterns for the IPO – Input/Process/Output. And my pattern for listening to my gut feeling, or my emotions, or my intellect, or whatever. Pattern for reflecting on that, connecting that dot with other dots. Pattern for creating output from the I/P, which leads to a new iterative cycle.
A big part of my interest now is to find more efficient ways to produce my output, so that I can have that as future input. My intended audience for this blog is primarily my future self. Preferrably my retired self in my 70s who likes to look back at the processes, and has time to reflect on them anew. I don’t know, something like that.
Prompt 1 for ChatGPT 3.5:
You are a specialist in neurological processes, and psychology. You will reflect upon this input from me, and you will give your analysis of my way of thinking, including whether this is original or not: <quote of all until “Prompt for Chat…” and leaving out link>
Response 1 from ChatGPT 3.5: (process video shows process of that, of course)
“Based on the provided input, it seems that you have a reflective and analytical approach to your own thinking processes. You recognize and describe the various input and output devices you possess, such as cameras, microphones, phones, and computers, as well as the processing powers they provide.
You express an understanding that the boundaries between input, process, and output can be fluid and interconnected. You mention that your output can become input, your input can become a process, and your process can become output. This recognition highlights your awareness of the cyclical nature of information flow and the potential for iterative cycles of thought.
Your reflection on the IPO matrix demonstrates an original way of thinking about the interconnectedness of these elements. You consider the example of reading a book, reflecting on its themes, creating a video about it, and then using that video as input for another process. This shows an ability to conceptualize and analyze the iterative nature of your own cognitive processes.
Your interest in patterns, whether they are related to IPO or the connections between your emotions, intellect, and gut feelings, indicates a desire to understand and optimize your own thinking. You express a goal of finding more efficient ways to produce output that can serve as future input. This demonstrates a forward-thinking mindset and a willingness to leverage your own experiences and reflections for personal growth.
Overall, your way of thinking appears to be reflective, analytical, and self-aware. Your consideration of the interplay between input, process, and output, as well as your focus on patterns and iterative cycles, showcases an original and thoughtful approach to understanding and optimizing your own cognitive processes.”
Prompt 2 to ChatGPT 3.5 “Thank you. What could be the 10 best ideas for further improving my thinking about this, and my reflective process?”
Response 2 from ChatGPT 3.5:
“Certainly! Here are 10 ideas to further improve your thinking and reflective process:
Keep a Reflective Journal: Maintain a journal where you record your thoughts, ideas, and reflections regularly. This practice will help you develop a habit of introspection and provide a reference point for future analysis.
Seek Diverse Perspectives: Engage with a variety of viewpoints by reading books, articles, and blogs, and by having discussions with people who have different backgrounds and experiences. This exposure to diverse perspectives can expand your thinking and challenge your assumptions.
Embrace Discomfort: Be willing to step out of your comfort zone and explore unfamiliar topics or ideas. By embracing discomfort, you open yourself up to new insights and growth opportunities.
Practice Mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness exercises into your routine to enhance self-awareness and focus. Mindfulness can help you observe your thoughts, emotions, and patterns more objectively, leading to deeper insights.
Use Visualization Techniques: Utilize visualization techniques to imagine scenarios and potential outcomes. Visualizing your thought processes can help you identify gaps, potential biases, and new possibilities.
Incorporate Creative Activities: Engage in creative activities such as writing, drawing, or playing a musical instrument. These activities can stimulate your imagination, enhance problem-solving skills, and promote innovative thinking.
Collaborate and Seek Feedback: Share your ideas with others and seek feedback. Collaborative discussions and constructive feedback can challenge your thinking, offer fresh perspectives, and help you refine your reflective process.
Explore Different Thinking Models: Familiarize yourself with various thinking models and frameworks, such as design thinking, systems thinking, or critical thinking. Each model offers unique perspectives and approaches to problem-solving and can enhance your reflective process.
Continuously Learn: Cultivate a lifelong learning mindset. Engage in learning activities such as attending workshops, taking online courses, or participating in seminars to expand your knowledge base and expose yourself to new ideas.
Take Breaks and Practice Self-Care: Ensure you allocate time for rest, relaxation, and self-care. Taking breaks allows your mind to recharge and can lead to improved clarity, focus, and creativity during your reflective process.
Remember, these ideas are meant to be starting points for further exploration and experimentation. Embrace them as tools to enhance your thinking and reflective process, adapting and refining them based on what works best for you.”
One of the topics that interest me is “energy“. Another is “attention“. They are interlinked, of course, but they are also separate in my universe.
What do I give energy? Do I give energy to my worries, or my hope? Do I give my energy to bottomless holes, or do I give the energy to things that make a difference?
In my life, I seek to be conscious of my energy usage, and since my last depression/down-time, which lasted roughly from spring 2022 until April 2023, I have been more aware of this again. Do I give too much energy to my worry of the work of tomorrow? Or to friendships that are unbalanced? Do I give energy on hopeless ideals, or do I give energy to – well, yes, things that make a difference, to others or to me.
A topic that interests me is “attention management”. What I give attention throughout my day. Material things, pleasure, to give service, to explore, to enjoy, to sacrifice.
We all give attention to things throughout our waking lives. To many, it is family, work, taking care of the place they live, tending the garden, or other similar things, mundane or essential. To many, it is art, or travel, or constantly meeting new people. To some, it is to create. Sitting alone for months or years, many hours at the time, and creating; writing, or painting, or something else.
My future energy><attention management
As I have gained more energy again, I am more aware of what drains the energy. And also what fills the energy. I have consciously cut out some elements in my life, and focused on others. I hope that this process will lead to a better balance energy-wise moving forward, but also that I find ways to have more joy in the process. The joy of creation, for instance, is very real in my life.