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August 24, 2005

TACO for thought

Note: I am not attributing some statements to any name because I misplaced the notepad in which I took notes. Guess I took it home and kept it somewhere. So I am writing from memory. Pardon me if I missed or wrongly associated names to anyone�s inputs.

While a single theme did not emerge, there were quite a few powerful streams of thoughts this week:

The words we speak, though we intend to mean it in a certain way, have different effects on different people. On the other hand, we tend to interpret what someone else says based on our own conditioning. Prasad said that we need to use Buddhi (the higher mind) to discriminate what we say and what we hear. Words are like gold. You cannot just look at a piece gold and say whether it is good quality or bad. You have to melt the gold to find its worth. Likewise, we need to melt the words in our Buddhi and allow them to percolate so that we get to the essence behind their surface level meaning.

At this point someone quoted, �If only all the closed minds had closed mouths�
Jeff quoted, �It is only funny if both the people laugh�.

I quoted, �Think before you speak to criticize, speak before you think to create.�

Sreekanth, who took a practice last week to let go of past negative emotions and look at life and work afresh came up with an innovative solution to keep his spirits high:

He said that while his official work does not provide him opportunities to challenge himself, he decided to go back to a list of problems he had noted down in the past and try to solve them when he is not at work. One of things he accomplished was running his wireless LAN on FreeBSD (which took more time than he thought it would).

People generally save solutions for the future. Here we have Sreekanth saving problems for the future! What a great place to be, lucky canine!

He then said he has been observing a strange phenomenon: when he is playing doubles in table tennis, his performance goes up if his partner plays well and goes down if his partner plays bad.

Frauke, a student of NLP (Neural Linguistic Programming), said that there is practice called �pace matching�. A company in Norway trained its employees to match their listening and speaking pace with that of their customers (while everything else remained the same), and found that their success with their customers increased significantly. She said that human being seem to have the tendency to �pick up� and �transmit� signals from and to others through words, visual cues, body language or even just presence.

Jags said that he has been trying to be in the space of �I don�t know� as much as he can to an extent that it has become a mantra for him.

I said that being in the space of �I don�t know� is useful when one is in an exploration mode. But when we need to get things done, I don�t see how one can completely resist bringing one�s current knowledge to the task at hand.

Jags then said that he is referring to the psychological state of �I don�t know�, which he believes is possible to maintain even if one has to bring some existing knowledge to a task in the physical world.

Is �I don�t know� a complete shunning of any existing knowledge or is it a willingness to not to come to any conclusion based on existing knowledge? Post your thoughts.

Manikantan said that for a long time he used to look at the lives of great personalities and ask himself �So what?� and never really got a satisfactory answer. He said that as much as he admired and appreciated great things done by great people, he did not feel that any one of these people�s lives provided �the� answer beyond which there is no �So what?� Then after reading Prasad�s four questions article, he said that once a person finds his own DNA, then there is no need to ask the �So what?� question � he just has to be true to his DNA and its growth.

Manisha said that she is creative in her personal life and is trying to see whether she could bring the same creativity to her work too.

Nisha said that she has been taking on a lot of projects and finds it difficult to accommodate all of them in her schedule.

I recalled Prasad quoting one of his friends � If you create the right kind of space and plant the right seeds, then new dimensions of time come out of those seeds.

I interpreted it thus: Space, that is, the environment in which anything happens has a great influence on in it. Thus, when we want to start a project, it is important to create the right environment for it. A seed is the right kind of beginning for a project � beginning in terms of choosing the initial tasks as well as the mental makeup with which they are chosen. In the right space, once the right seeds are planted, then the nature of the environment and the initial tasks �sets� the conditions for the project �to grow� at a pace that is natural for it. Since different projects have different characteristics, they are likely to have different paces. And hence, each project will create its own time dimension. Once we are aware of the pace of a project, then we do not have to try to force-fit its tasks into the clock-time. We don�t have to look at the tasks as �things to be done before such date� because in many cases the deadlines we set are not in sync with the natural pace of the project. In fact, it is better to set deadlines after we understand the pace of the project.

This kind of approach to taking on projects will inform us whether we have enough time to take more projects. And it will also inform us whether it is important to suspend a project for a while based on the pace it requires.

Prasad then said that any project anyone does has three basic states: Starting, Changing and Ending. He said that if we are aware of the state of a project, then we can have a better sense of the pace of project and be able to decide whether it makes sense to take on more.

The dialogue came back to being in the �I don�t know� space.

Prasasd drew the TACO / DRAC diagram:


Prasad said that depending on what our knowledge and skill levels are with respect to any task, we fall into one of the boxes. Each box has a bright side and a shadow side.

The bright sides are Trust, Acceptance, Confidence and Openness. The shadow sides are Doubt, Resistance, Anxiety and Closed.

Once we are aware of both sides of each box, anytime we recognize ourselves in a box, he said that we can learn to give more room to the bright side and minimize the damage due the shadow side.

Take a practice to ask yourself which box you are in when doing a task.

Posted by Ragu at August 24, 2005 12:30 PM

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Is �I don�t know� a complete shunning of any >existing knowledge or is it a willingness to not >to come to any conclusion based on existing >knowledge? Post your thoughts.

It is a little of both.
Deepening the consciousness to "let-go" of existing knowledge will allow space for new possibilities/information/knowledge to enter.
The let-go is a physical action performed

As Kabir says:

Mein meri jab jayeegee
Tab aayegaa aur
Jab yeh nischaal hoyegaa
Tab paye-gaa thor

When [I, Mine, I-know] leaves
Then comes [more, other, new]
When this[action] gets stilled
Then will find/get [shore, goal, conclusion]

Posted by: Manju Gupta at August 25, 2005 11:44 AM