Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Art Of Noticing

There's a super short distilled version of my method for training cognitive habits, and I call it "The Art Of Noticing".

Skills I have so far trained using Noticing, with very little reliance on any other technique, include empathy, not trudging uselessly ahead when I'm trying to learn something but have gotten lost, and anti-"guessing the teacher's password".

The Art Of Noticing goes like this:

  1. Answer the question, "What's my first possible clue that I'm about to encounter the problem?" If your problem is "I don't respond productively to being confused," then the first sign a crucial moment is coming might be "a fleeting twinge of surprise". Whatever that feels like in real time from the inside of your mind, that's your trigger.

  2. Whenever you notice your trigger, make a precise physical gesture. Snap your fingers, tap your foot, touch your pinky finger with your thumb - whatever feels comfortable. Do it every time you notice that fleeting twinge of surprise.

Noticing is not the end of the story. But I am astonished by how much of the story it appears to be. In many situations, merely Noticing is well over half the battle, and what's left automatically works itself out on the fly.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

A great post as usual. I've been following the Art of Noticing on this blog for a while, and it's great. But even I had some trouble understanding some of the jargon, simply because it's been some time since I've been keeping up.
If you want to 80/20 this, I think it'd be of value to simplify some parts, such that this article is clear on it's own two feet. I won't pretend I know exactly how to do that, but here's the part where I noticed my understanding stumbling- and I quote.

"What momentary subjective experience matters most to this problem?"
(How do I figure that out?)
"If your problem is 'I don't tend to indulge my curiosity,' then the momentary subjective experience of highest leverage will probably be a tiny sensation of fleeting curiosity.(Because I'm curious, I believe I understand why indulging that feeling helps solve problems. But a non-curious person could really use a simple and true explanation here. If your goal is to expand the ranks of curious people, at least. Now, since I am pretty curious already, what are some other examples of common triggers? Having one or two more small examples of useful triggers might also make the gains of Tortoise skills seems more tempting)

Anonymous said...

(I wish I could edit as anonymous, that last bracketed paragraph should have been a space away from the end of the quote.)

Brienne said...

Thanks for the feedback. I am not surprised it didn't work. I just wanted to check.