I've been working on this project for years and have recently made great progress I want to share for feedback. The project is called FOLIO, which stands for Foundations of Life and Its Options.
The general question I've tackled is:
When I'm thinking about something, where do I start thinking? (though just as valid a start is the question WHAT can I think about?)
and once I've chosen that point, the next question generated is:
Where does my thinking go from that point?
And from that point, the questions become more specific:
How can I guide my thinking? How can I find different perspectives? How can I explore a topic fully? How can I step out to see the bigger picture? What are my options for areas to focus on? Etc.
Problems that have inspired me to develop FOLIO.
My wife suggested that I could take my daughter to a playground on Saturday mornings. This is an utterly simple suggestion, but I find it interesting to think it's one perhaps you might never have by chance, even though it's a great idea and essentially very simple. Even if you live to be one hundred years old you might never think of that idea. How to structure my thinking so that I can generate options for things to do with my daughter? More broadly, how to structure my thinking so that a vast array of options of things to think about and do with my life are easy to generate?...Should I become a vegetarian? Were my school years really a waste of time? What could I study? Should I? Could I be a nasty person without realising it? How can I find out? What can I do about my nasty procrastination habit? Would it be fun to go on a meditation retreat? What are my preconceptions about meditation retreats? Are my preconceptions about meditation retreats stopping me from going on one? How can I find out my preconceptions about other subjects? Am I happy? Should I be happy? What proactive things could I do to make my family more happy? Etc.
The "Name 100 uses for a paperclip" challenge. This is a well known creativity challenge. I could be doing the challenge and busily brainstorming possible uses for a paperclip when I suddenly make a switch from thinking of actual uses for the paperclip, to thinking to myself, "My mate Dave is very creative - I'll ring him and ask him for some ideas!" How can I systematically make switches like that? So that I may come up with other options to help with the big 100-uses challenge? Here's some switches that might help me in my quest:
Start a blog called, "Name 100 uses for a paperclip" and ask readers to contribute ideas.
Contact brainstorming consultants and ask them what ideas were generated when they did this challenge.
I could visit a factory that makes paperclips and take a tour for inspiration.
I could research the manufacturing process.
I could use Google to look at images of existing paperclips for inspiration.
I could ask you to leave your idea for a use in the comments below.
And then there's the possibility of going off on other interesting tangents:
Just what is it about listing uses for paperclips that makes for a great creativity challenge?
What would be a more interesting creativity challenge?
Could I invent a better paperclip?
How many paperclips are there in the world?
Would setting a target of 500 uses make for more creative ideas than 100?
What mindset leads to the most creative ideas?
Could I make the biggest paperclip ever made and get in the Guinness Book Of Records?
So, this obsession with the starting point of thinking and the guidance of thinking to generate perspectives and options has inspired me to create FOLIO. I think FOLIO could also be called FONIO, which would stand for Foundations Of Now and Its Options, Or simply JO, which would be Juncture Options.
I will post the first FOLIO techniques in the coming weeks.
That's the introduction to FOLIO I posted on the 19th of July. As I think of more important points about FOLIO I will post them below.
(29th July, 2014) I want FOLIO to be like a "manual to my younger self" so that I'm writing the "manual about life" I wish I'd had when I was 18 (or younger!).
(30th July, 2014). Some other challenges that I hope will be tackled by FOLIO:
What's the best mindset to have if you want an enquiring mind?
How to make your thinking in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) expand to consider more life options?
(3rd August, 2014): Although I'm hoping FOLIO will be one big, all-encompassing model, there will be loads of stand alone techniques I want to share. Not sure where these are going to go yet!
See also: FOLIO contents