Hangin’ in there

Mobius Monday Minute – May 9 , 2011

Mobius Monday Minute logo
I subscribe to a design blog and they send me updates like a lot of blogs do. The latest one contained a quote someone sent in from broadcaster Ira Glass. Ira won the much coveted Edward R. Murrow Award in 2009. He’s a very accomplished writer and radio personality. Been doing it since he was just nineteen years old.

Know what he said about his beginnings in radio? He said that he took the longest time to reach a level of mastery in doing interviews and stories on radio then anyone he knows. He says that getting through the beginning time can take years of working through the frustration with your own crappy output. It tries to be good but it’s just not. He says that’s where most loose it. They quit because they are convinced that they will never ever see success.

I know what he’s talking about.

I’ve just had another birthday blow by and I’m still trying to refine my message about mindset immunity and the fact that I have the tool that can allow anyone, in 24 hours or less, to see and feel the huge ocean of potential that exists within them. And when they use this tool they can create amazing levels of self-belief.

When attempting to do something new it becomes a creative work no matter what field you work in. There is a lot of failure to contend with.

In another email I got this week Ishita Gupta was interviewing Steven Pressfield on his new book “Do The Work“. In it Pressfield related a story about Picasso:

“There’s a famous story of Picasso after he had finished about 24 paintings for his next show. He invited his agent or his manager to his studio to look at the paintings and as Picasso was looking at them with his manager, he started to hate them. He grabbed a painting knife and started slashing the paintings. The manager absolutely freaked out and said, “NO, NO, NO!” but Picasso kept slashing until they were all ruined. Then he went back to the drawing board.”

That’s the kind of craziness that happens with our own self-assessment. It’s punishing to be a creative or a leader of any kind.

If I was going to quit I should have done it 20 years ago. But I didn’t and now I can’t. There is just too much at stake. Too many lives to help make better, richer, more fulfilling.

Besides, it worked for Ira so it’ll work for me.

It’ll work for you too. Hang in there.

More power to you.

David's signature in look-like handwriting

PS; Let me know what you think about the challenge of trying to put together something brand new. Leave me your thoughts in the comment area below. If you’d like to get alerted on new blog posts  you can subscribe by clicking here.

Quotius: A Hand-held Eureka

Today I’m doing something a little different. I’m introducing a whole new feature on this blog. I confess I’m not entirely sure what this will become but it has the makings of an interesting experiment so let’s see what happens.

Here’s the deal.

Ever hear or see something that is presented to you one way and then, later on, you discover that it makes just as much sense when read the other way? In the English language words and phrases that can be read forward or backward like that are called “palindromes”.

For example “Madam, I’m Adam” is a well known palindrome. True palindromes are quite rare though so for my purposes I’ll taking a fair bit of  license with it by merely using statements that are palindrome-like. In other words, they won’t be actual palindromes at all in most cases so don’t rag on me if you notice the violation of the laws of palindroming. Please don’t get in a knot about my taking yardage here. No need to call the palindrome hot- line nor file a report with the palindrome police. Okay?

Great. Thank you.

Of course there is an underground lesson here. Let me reveal it for you.

What I’ve done here is created something that uses my favorite metaphor for duality: the mobius strip. I’ve re-purposed it making it into something that it’s never been before.

I call it the “quotius”. It’s a catchy mashup of the words “quote” and “mobius”. The idea here is to dream-up or find some interesting two-part statements that could be split into two sections that can each be read as stand-alone statements. Then I’ll print them on each side of a strip of paper two inches wide (maximum width) and up to fourteen inches long. First half on side one and the other half on side two.

When the paper is joined together at each end forming a circular shape only the words of the first half of the statement on the outside of the band are read easily. They make sense but they are not quite complete. Meanwhile the ones on the inside of the band are, from this vantage point, appearing upside down.

Looking at this construct is intended to be like looking at a problem before the moment of insight. An answer just doesn’t “come to us”. It’s a bit like hearing a part of joke then not being given the punch line. It creates a bit of stress because it leaves us missing something we have a need for: closure.

Anyone would feel at least a little frustrated by that.

Escape that shape!

The next configuration is different though as you’ll see in the video. When the band is taken apart and re-assembled, this time with that little twist in it,  the classic mobius strip is formed. We can now go ahead and read the whole message in its entirety by continuing to scroll the band around until the place where the end becomes the beginning.

Now we see that the entire statement is on the same side of the strip! This plays on the fact that a mobius strip is a strange construct because it only has one side. (Only has one edge too but who’s keeping track of all this weirdness?)

I use this bit of strangeness to act as a three-dimensional  model for what a “eureka-moment” might look like if you could hold it in your hand. It represents seeing the moment of enlightenment at close range.

We “get” the joke or the sarcasm or whatever. We hear ourselves say “Now I get it!” The problem that once stumped us is now solved and it’s all because our perception of the whole thing has changed from a circular system to a reciprocal system.

The Takeaway:

The takeaway here is to create a unique learning experience with a bit of fascination thrown in. I’m a visual guy. As a designer I made things that had a particular shape and form to them. Years ago, when I started to look at personal development, I wondered if thinking and believing also had a particular shape to it.

Eventually I realized that it’s the system of  “alternative self-believership”  that has a shape to it not the belief itself. Beliefs, as we all know, can become part our thinking if presented with the power of a well stated argument. But these are not authentically ours. They are only surfacey belief systems and can be eroded away by another competing argument.

Not good.

To make self-belief real we need hard factual evidence.  Forming the quotius into a band the shape of a doughnut indicates a thinking system that is limiting. We aren’t able to get past a certain point because the information comes to us but then ends. It’s a lot like having a self-belief that recognizes limits and then settles for less.

Yikes! Who wants that?

When formed properly (into a mobius) by twisting one end 180 degrees before joining it we now get the entire story. We get an endlessly expanded self-belief because now the information is  – not just coming to us – but is coming through us.

In this quote by Henri Bergson the first part… “Act like a man of thought,” is clearly seen and understood. But not until we make a critical change in the structure of the band do we get the whole message presented to us on a single plane…

“think like a man of action.”

There is “education” which typically is very head-based and linear. Then there is “experience” which requires action-orientated from-the-gut decision making. We need both but they must be naturally integrated.

The quotius demos this dual reality beautifully wouldn’t you say?


Do you have any good quotes that will fit this type of application? Please leave me your comments in the space below. I’ll give you a shout-out if I use it.

Would you like to make one of these for yourself? Go ahead. Download the instruction sheet and the master repro art in either letter size or legal size. It’s yours free. If you can’t be bothered messing around with trying to print out this strange two-sided sheet I’ll send you a pre-printed version right to your door. Learn more here.

More power to you.

David's signature in look-like handwriting

PS: I intend to put together a new version every Friday. If you’d like to be alerted to the next posting you can subscribe here. (In fact, I’d love you to do that!)

Syncing in self-belief

I was born with two brains.

Let me be clear though. I’m not claiming that I was somehow favored with an exceptionally large heaping helping of neurological goodies far beyond the norm. To my knowledge my particular gene pool wasn’t necessarily Olympic-sized and overpopulated with excess ganglion. It hasn’t allowed me to be a lot smarter than you or anyone else for that matter. See, I simply can’t claim that for myself. I’d like to but… I can’t.

Know why?

Turns out that my birth attributes weren’t all that special at all. At least when it comes to a tally in the brain department. The fact of the matter is, you have two separate sets of brains in your body too. So does the rest of the human population. All seven billion of us.

Seven billion problems

With all these brains there arises a problem though that needs to be addressed. None of us came with an owner’s manual. Having two sets of brains living in one body can be difficult to get a handle on at least from street level.

It doesn’t help that one brain set is in the head and the other one is in the gut. Or that the latter feels but doesn’t think while the former thinks (like gangbusters) but can’t feel a heck of a lot – if anything.

Out of sync

You’d think, given such a different set of skills, that each brain would seek out the other to form some sort of a coalition. That would work well if they actually knew each other existed by more than a passing glance. But as they mature they don’t seem to. Like the group of metronomes in the video posted here these two brain sets just seem out of synchronization most of the time. There is some communication between them but mostly they’re left to do their own thing.

For example, the head-brain can deliver to us a complex cognizance of our world. It can sometimes be seen as a romantic view and what all that means and then… other times? It could be a negative black hole.

The gut brain handles the smelly [definitely unromantic] task of digestion. This sort of disconnect allows the head-brain room to get into some turbulent thought territory. When that happens is it produces a lot of “noise” for our intellect to deal with. Often that noise is expressed as stress which tends to drown out all chances for optimal productivity in the thinking-straight department.

So, why is that?

Just take a look at your computer. All sensitive systems need some sort of buffer from external factors that might be damaging to its integrity. Of course we don’t call them buffers we call them “firewalls” and “anti-virus programs” but the effect they have on the system is similar. It would be foolish if you were to turn off those services and go out surfing all over the web wouldn’t it? You’d be asking for trouble and it wouldn’t take very long to find it.

So you can imagine what it’s like for the beleaguered head-brain. Every day it steps out into the world and – sooner or later – it will fall into some crappy thought-company.

It desperately needs a buffer too.

In the video we see how that was accomplished. The metronomes finally got a buffering platform that allowed them to communicate with each other. That little bit of connection quickly turned around the chaos and made it into an organized mass of oneness. Like those metronomes we too could pull these brains into sync with a new platform. One that can cause a unique unbroken communication of energy between both sets of brains creating harmony from randomness.

It could become more of what was intended: a symphony of ideas coupled with the motivation to put them into action. That platform is the ocean of potential that comes as a standard factory installed capability within each of us. The only reason we don’t think we have ready access to it is because it’s too huge a pattern to fit into the confines of our head- brain.

The ugly-duckling gut brain though has a unique advantage. It doesn’t think it feels. That potentiality is energy-based. Easy for the super sensitive gut brain to know if it’s there or not. It can feel it.

That dynamic informs us of who we are: a feeling/thinking being capable of amazing things. Let’s hear it for a solid self-belief built on inner-togetherness.

More power to you.

signature of David Parsons

Seeing Things

Mobius Monday Minute logo# 15 April 11 , 2011

I see things.

No I’m not saying that I “see” strange things. I don’t for example see a boogie-man hiding under my bed or anything like that.  Nothing so weird or dramatic that it would be such that you might imagine streaming from the likes of Stephen King or Alfred Hitchcock.

Sorry to disappoint.

Please understand it’s just that my job demands that I see things. I was trained as a graphics guy you see. I studied as a visual artist and graduated from art college back when desk-top computers were still in short pants. I had a lot of catching up to do in that department but that’s another story.

What I’ve been working on for the last 30 years or so was trying to come up with a way to visually understand a phenomenon that we all experience at one time or another: The moment when a peculiar drive kicks in causing us to create a successful conclusion. We know it as persistence, determination, perseverance, or doggedness… take your pick.

Of course there is a more generalized word for it.  One that describes the entire landscape that I wish to “see” more clearly in three dimensions. That term is the ever-familiar phrase “human potential”.

Know how I see it?

It’s an ocean. I say that because, like the five physical oceans on this planet, it’s huge (and even liquid-like) in its nature. In fact it’s incomprehensibly huge. It’s so huge a pattern that it won’t even fit into the boundaries of the human brain.

Not only is its sheer size problematic but it’s weirdness is troublesome as well. I mean, if you consider it, how can you describe something in words that does not lend itself very well to fitting into the terms of reference we might otherwise use in our daily lives?

That’s why I’m glad I found out about the mobius strip. It’s a shape that is the perfect metaphor of the impossible becoming possible. I figure that human potentiality must have been born in a shell with a shape like this. Just look at it. It’s got the weirdness thing down pat. A simple two-dimensional object that occupies three-dimensional space? I need to put a cold cloth on my noggin just to think about it for more than a few minutes.

But I’ll make it easier for you.

Just consider the video posted here.

A young violinist, who just happens to be deaf, is forced to make a choice and close her eyes to the notes she’s playing and see the beauty of the music in her soundless world through the realm of shapes and colors.  In the greatest moment of need these are delivered to her quieted ears through the most gut-felt drive of persistence and determination. Working so fully-engaged with her potential she triumphs over all adversity.

Now that’s the best pair of ears I ever heard of wouldn’t you say?

More power to you.

David's signature in look-like handwriting

Overblowing The Bad Stuff

Mobius Monday Minute logo# 14 April 4 , 2011

don't make a mountain out of a molehillI recently got an e-mail from a good friend of mine copywriter extraordinaire Donnie Bryant.

Donnie knows a thing or two about my theory of mindset immunity and how I’m always interested in what’ s happening in the field of human behavior.

When I first went to the link that he so kindly provided it was a bit of a shock at first. Had some Harvard psychologists usurped my discovery and are now basking in the all the glory of a major breakthrough in human behavior? Had I been totally scooped? Are they now about to crash through my front door any day with the muscle of the Thought Police to seize all my related documents?

Not likely.

False Alarm. I overestimated the size of what looked like a disastrous event. Seems I wasn’t alone either. In fact over-estimating the negative effects of the punch-ups that existence often throws at us was the main focus of the study that was being reported on.

The article entitled: “The Psychological Immune System” seemed to hit close to home for sure but as I read it I could see that their submarine dive into the ocean that is the human mind was on a fairly shallow curve.

The psych study, published almost twelve years ago in 1998, was comprised of a few Ivy League researchers from Harvard University. I won’t go into a lot of detail, you can read all about it here, but what I get from this article is that all they’ve done is merely observed that the phenomenon of an immune system for the mind seems to exist to ameliorate negative emotional effects coming off of negative happenings.

More Ink Please.

Maybe it was the just the reported focus of the study, I don’t know, but it seems to me that they could have made more of it than they did. After all, I’m only a graduate of a small art and design college, but when I realized that there had to be an immune system at work for the thinking I almost went through the roof with excitement.

This sounds like a good study make no mistake, but if there is indeed an immune system working to pull our thinking back to normal then it deserves more than a small study wouldn’t you say?

After all we have a boatload of people walking around with some severe mental problems. In the US alone there are the many millions who are caught up in the tsunami of clinical, bi-polar, and manic depression that is sweeping into our communities with more man-eating force every year. Predictions (made by other psychologists no doubt) are stating that by 2020 depression would become the 2nd most common health problem throughout the world.

If we have found a type of an immune system that can look after some of that I think we need to take a closer look at it righty away.

I didn’t go to Harvard. Nor did I attend any hall of higher learning at all save for that art school (does that even count?). But I think that the reason they stopped where they did in their investigation on the psychological immune system, as they call it, is the cold hard fact that it operates in the domain outside of our own reality.

It’s invisible. You can’t see it. Apparently that sets up a challenge that even researchers who study the invisible mind have a issue with. I guess some phenomenon’s are like that.

As I say I’m not a doctor. I was trained as a visual artist not a scientist. But like them I too have quite an intense interest in human behavior and I too have for years suspected that “mindset immunity” had to exist in some kind of organized way. But I wasn’t constrained by their meticulous scientific methods, nor did I have the need to fund expensive studies to come to the same conclusions. I just worked with people one at a time and observed what happened as they used my invention to link their head brain intellect to their gut brain energy.

What came out was a quick and easy immune response that left them almost breathless with wonder at what they could become. It’s hardly heavy therapy. I call it the H.E.R.O. eMachine. It only takes one day to complete.

Being a visual kind of guy has allowed me to create pictorial representations of the mechanisms for how something like this strange immunity might work. Or sometimes doesn’t work. It may not be hard science but there’s a few things that I include in my free live “Mindset Immunity Explained” webinars that I think even those Harvard types might find quite interesting.

A Serious Bias

Their study found that we humans have a serious bias for over-estimating the level with which we react to all the bad stuff that might happen to us. Is that such a revelation? When we were just kids didn’t each of our parents point that out when they warned us: Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill?

I really love the guys and gals in the white coats. Don’t get me wrong. They always spend tons of time and money digging up cool findings that I can weave into interesting and fun blog posts.

More power to you.

PS: I could use more sharp eyes like Donnie’s. If you see something interesting on the web that’s relevant to human behavior or self-help please let me know about it either here in the comments section, in FaceBook, or on Twitter.  Of course, I’ll give you a big shout-out for your help. Thanks in advance.