Human Directivity

Directivity is the property of being directional. It can be a measure of radiation and of sensitivity. For example, an omnidirectional sound source or broadcast antenna would radiate equally in all directions. Or conversely, a microphone or radio receiver can be extraordinarily directional and only sense inputs from a narrow direction. This fundamental parameter in physic could also be applied to people.

Some people are only sensitive to a very narrow set of stimuli and others to everything around them. Some also broadcast indiscriminately, and others narrowcast precise information to a very few people. In fact, some bombastic people only emit and do not receive at all. And other timid, introverted individuals barely utter a peep.

It is interesting to me a search for the word Directivity yields a large number of scientific definitions, discussions, articles and even derivative terms such as Directivity Factor and Directivity Index. It appears physicists are more interested in the spatial distribution of energy and directional sensitivity, not to mention just how sensitive receivers are or how efficient radiators are.

The communication industry has other words for targeting advertising or trolling for feedback, so the concept is not alien nor is it strictly quantitative. I am sure there are statistics applied to all manner of communication inputs and outputs covering a multitude of variables of interest such as market size and receptivity.

I am thinking of a different application of the same word to psychology and philosophy where curiously, I have not so far seen it show up although I can imagine great value in attempting to characterize the directionality of our feelings and thoughts. Perhaps this territory seems to be too dangerous to wander in to, or maybe not potentially fruitful enough but for me personally, I sometimes feel like a speaker or a microphone or an antenna and am very aware of how energy can be focused or squandered to archive specific targeted goals or diffuse outcomes.

As this is a brand new thought less than an hour old, it may seem premature to attempt to write or post anything, but for some reason, I feel compelled to raise the issue. Perhaps to protect me from the deluge of inputs into my system from within and from without? Or maybe alternatively to help to prioritize and focus in a more beam-like manner my own personal energetic emissions and application of energy.

There seems to be an infinite number of concepts, paths, and ramifications to explore human directivity instead of the directivity of nonliving physical entities. But for today I am satisfied to raise the possibility of the topic merely.

Cal, Ramp, and Play

At the beginning of every day, it is possible to perform a set of activities to get ready for the day. This morning practice can become somewhat automatic, especially for people who follow some sort of routine, sleeping in the same bed every night and going to the same job every morning at the same time. Not everyone is this well defined. Creators and innovators sometimes radically change the way they spend their time from day to day, in part because they may have the freedom to do so and in part because it is their natural proclivity to do so.

This extreme desire for degrees of freedom manifest by many creative people can get in the way of productivity which has caused some highly prolific creators and innovators to invent routines of behaviors they would like to automate or habituate. In some circles, this may be called a Morning Practice and in others a Habit Loop. Indeed, there are many more possible names, but the principle is the same.

If one can identify an excellent behavior, it is worth making it somewhat automatic to increase the likelihood of it occurring by reducing the overhead associated with performing the said behavior to as little as possible. For some lucky souls, their daily work is so enjoyable as to feel like play. In fact, the primary activities of musicians and athletes they are paid to perform are called play, not work. And the “work” they do on the way to “playing” is often called “warming up.” They have to get in the right zone, sometimes called flow, to function at the highest levels. I call this wearing up period ramping and regard it as an on-ramp to the main activities I need to dedicate the majority of the day to. Since I think about many different topics all of the time, I have found it to be useful to get in the zone of the activities I need to be performing at the current point in life where I find myself.

In my case, I ramp up in three domains, the physical, musical and keynoting areas. I swim some laps to get my body ready to be physical, I write some music to stay prepared to go further in that primary domain of composing and orchestrating. I also work a bit on activities related to my keynoting which generally include writing about some insight and posting to my blog, after proofreading and light editing. I try to gets all of this done before my workday begins at 9 or 10. My ramping is specific to the domain I primarily operate within, being a concertizing keynoter, someone who combines music and public speaking. These both require physical strength and energy hence the morning laps in the pool, and if that is not possible, I jump on a rowing machine called an Erg to do the equivalent warmup. Therefore to Play, I first Ramp on weekdays.

Additionally, there is something else I do before Ramping and Playing, which I call Calibrating or Cal for short. The calibration is a more generalized activity to get ready for life, not specifically focused on being a concertizing keynoter. I call this activity getting into SOR or a state of readiness. As my brain functions in three very different modalities, I exercise them all every morning not just during the “Play Week.” The three modes are characterized by Notes, Words, and Diagrams and they use entirely different parts of the brain (or at least of my mind).

The Notes are dealt with by something I call Morning Music which consists of playing some instrument or singing for long enough to connect my unconscious, waking emotional state to be ready to communicate more intellectually. This can take as little as five or as long as 90 minutes depending upon my psychological turbulence and how tired I may be from inadequate rest. Since this feels really terrific, I sometimes do it for a lot longer than necessary as it part of my identity too play music. You might wonder what the difference between this and the ramping music and the more focused playing music later in the day is. The main differentiator is this Morning Music is not about anything other than changing my psychological state. It is not about composing, preparing for a concert, recording, editing, mastering or posting. It is merely about having a special relationship with sound where I can create and modify a universe I want to live in. It is not work, it is not warming up. It is merely being and in some ways my most natural function, the thing I was born to do. All I can say is it works better for me than meditating, praying, eating, exercise, nature and yes even sex or lovemaking. It is a primary way for me to relate to the universe and make myself whole by directly tactually managing acoustical energy in a conceptually abstract manner at a very high level. It is private, personal and can be at times a source of musical ideas as well. And I have been productively doing it for years.

The second part utilizing Words which are more literal and linear than music is an exercise I call Jam Journaling desired to get me into a state of flow, that is not as purely psychological and emotional as the Notes within the Morning Music but is slightly more cerebral and intellectual. A more bounded exercise this activity is measured regarding total words, total minutes and words per minute which indicate flow state.

The third part I call modified KanBan Diagramming is a mechanism I employ to perform what I call Just-In-Time Scoping and Planning. Diagramming reveals structural and temporal dependencies are permitting one to refine just what is going to do and what order they intend to do it in. This diagramming uses yet another part of the brain which differs from the musical and the verbal. It adds the perspective of zooming out to observe much at the same time, which belong to a set of tools and practices, I refer to as Complexity Processing.

This triple calibration or TriCal as I call it is a compelling way to get emotionally, intellectually and logistically centered in relatively not very much time. It also seems to work no matter what my state of mind or body and can generally be completed within under an hour although occasionally has lasted as long as two or three hours if there was both the need and the time as on the weekend.

This combination of TriCal, TriRamp, and TriPlay make for an incredibly powerful way for me to get things done, and to be calm, centered and prioritized at the same time. The short phrase Cal, Ramp and Play also serves to remind me that my life work is really Play, that to Play you can get warmed up moving through an on-Ramp, and that to be ready to Ramp it is a good idea first to be Calibrated.


Time Energy Meaning Management

Becoming an outlier demands managing what we can and the three most important quantities are time, energy and meaning.

Okay outliers, here is the deal. Whether outlier or outlier wannabe, we all have the same problem / opportunity. We get the sense that we live in a pretty vast, not very bounded world and therefore are faced with determining which part of infinity we want to harvest. We eventually come to know, that although we can accomplish many things, perhaps even an amazing number of things, that we can not do everything we can imagine doing. And, by the way if we could, than we would probably not be outliers, for our imaginations would not be that fertile.

Exceptions to this occur, as some people are so excellently disciplined at self organization and prioritization, that they can convince themselves they are already doing everything they ever wanted, or imagined they might want to do. Just a guess, but I suspect that if they look at the world from the corner of their eye they will notice a few more things on the periphery trying to grab their attention.

Okay as a potentially infinite being, in a potentially infinite universe, what is one to do on a day to day basis? Here is a suggestion of what to manage. What you say, there is nothing to manage, everything is hunky dory and working perfectly. Well, then you are an outlier among outliers, an uber outlier. But for those who are not here are a few thoughts.

We only have the time, energy and will to manage a subset of what we can perceive. I suspect, even the most maniacal manipulators amongst us can not manipulate to the degree their insecurity drives them to. The disease of the manipulator and the bully, for they are one and the same, is of course insecurity, for those who feel good about themselves have no need to manipulate or to bully others.

Back to the non-bullying outlier community still left reading, as by now all of the bullies and manipulators have likely stopped reading this. What, you say? How about those of us who try to manipulate or bully ourselves? After all isn’t the what managment is about anyway?

Well, no it is not. In fact, I suspect that most bully and manipulators tend to try to use this same technique to manage themselves as well as others, which may be underlying the insecurity driving these behaviors … but on to more positive topics.

If you want to do a lot in the world, you are going to have to put out a lot of effort, and if that effort is totally unmanaged, you are not likely to grab the brass ring, whatever that means to you . Which brings us to … we do not have enough time or energy to manage everything. What we can and should manage is a bit philosophical and meta so bear with me.

We sometimes have the feeling, or are least told by others that Time Management is crucial for it is the only non-renewable finite quantity at our disposal. And yes, time management is clearly important, as how many of you outliers struggle with time management?  Why is this so difficult?

We do not in fact all have the same amount of time. We may all have 24 hours in a day but some of us are going to have a lot more days and years, than others. There are two enormous factors which influence the number of years we have, assuming no freak accident cut our lives short out of the blue.

Two factors impacting the perception and application of time enormously, are energy and meaning, both which are very personal quantities.  We do not all have the same amount of time, energy or meaning, yet all three of these are to a degree, manageable, extremely worth managing and interdependent.

The amount of time you have, and how you use it, is directly influenced by the amount of energy you have, and the amount of meaning you have. If you are a top down thinker, a bottom up thinker, or both, these relationships get to the same place. You have to manage all three Time, Energy, and Meaning, which I am abbreviating as TEM.

If you have all of the time and energy in the world, and no meaning, than life is not very worth living, at least for me it isn’t. If you have a ton of meaning but no time or energy to pursue what matters to you, than life may have meaning, but you will still be very frustrated. If you have boundless unfocused energy, and are constantly sprinting toward the next shinny object or idea, you will still be unfulfilled and never achieve your outlier potential.

Therefore the three quantities TEM, all need to be managed jointly, as they mutually modulate each other all of the time, at every moment. Sometimes people are suffering so much that they may confuse coping with meaning. Coping is not the same thing as living life fully. Sometimes when times are tough, coping is all we can manage but if that is what one spends their life doing than no they are not that likely to be an outlier.

But wait you say, look at all of the alcoholic writers, stoner musicians, and self medicating highly accomplished professionals? We have seen a sea of articles and interviews attesting to the fact that, no they are not too happy about coping instead of living.

How we each manage TEM, (time, energy and meaning) is personal and there are an infinite number of ways to accomplish this. More on this tomorrow.Back to the main point – we have to mange time, energy and meaning. Now I am sure some of you are saying but shouldn’t the M stand for money, not for meaning? Well I hate to break the news to you but Money is not the same thing as Meaning. If you use Money as the context for you time and energy than that is what you will get, money. If you use Meaning as the context for time, and energy (for they do need a context) then Meaning is what you are more likely to get.

Certainly some outliers are primarily driven by money, or by coping through escape, and I wish both groups well, but I personally would rather hang out with people who are pursuing meaning as a more lasting focal point for a life.

Without meaning, who cares about time, drifting from one day to the next. Without meaning do you think you have more or less energy? Now if you have abundant energy and good genes you can live a long time cruising around at high speeds but if there is no meaning to focus and prioritize your efforts you will not likely be very happy or secure.

If you know what matters to you, and where you are going, and how to create meaning for yourself, (and yes I very much mean that it is each and every person’s responsibility to create meaning for themselves), well you may end up being a bully or a manipulator of others or yourself neither of which is particularly satisfying nor longevity promoting.The bottom line is it is crucial to find out what matters to you, if your life is to have meaning, and if there is something to mange your time and energy with respect to, or to even bother to get for in the morning. Meaning trumps both time and energy. Even if your time is short and your energy is low, you can radically improve your life by investing it is activities that produce meaning for you. And if you do, you may find that your energy grows and your time expands for life and the universe are quite nonlinear, dimensionally vast and therefore full of opportunities disguised as problems and vice a versa.

Manage your meaning, energy and time all together, for if they are not in alignment, their interdependence will surely cause problems which interfere with becoming the outlier you were born to be.

Dark Matter of the Mind

The simplest way I have heard Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity described was something like “gravity determines where things are and space determines where things go”. We know gravity is a function of mass. More mass equals more gravity. Have enough of it and it effects the shape of space, hence where things go as they tend to follow the shape of space. This is why Dark Matter has been postulated and (supposedly?) discovered. It was necessary to explain the movement of galaxies because the amount and distribution of visible matter did not adequately predict the observed movement. Pretty much everyone has heard of a black hole. This is something so dense that if a light were to be shined upon it, there would be no reflection because the photons could not escape the gravitational pull, which is why it is called a black hole, you cannot see it. But we do know they are there, for they impact movement of physical astronomical objects and are evidenced by radiation of energy as subatomic particles in their presence are dismembered.

Our physical universe has invisible (dark) masses and forces and yes here is dark energy as well but no time for that right now. I cannot help but wonder if our psyche and therefore our behavior is influenced by extremely dense massive invisible thoughts. Thoughts and models that are the equivalent of dark matter. Are there some black holes in our mind? Do we have unconscious models that are so massive and dense that we do not notice them until the trajectory of our behavior is altered? And if we are paying extremely close attention, can we notice the errant energy emitted?

There is no question that we live in a universe that is too dimensionally vast to comprehensively comprehend. Whether this is expressible as a multiverse or parallel universe or sequential alternative universes are not that important psychologically. What is important is that our universe or universes is or are, really big and of great dimension.

Perspectives can be considered to be perceptual dimensions. If we attempt to deny the possibility of multiple perspectives than we are denying reality. There is only one thing we can do when faced with vastness, adapt. We can try to escape by putting our heads in the sand, but this has not been shown to be a good long term survival strategy. The other extreme, adapting or innovation does have a pretty good track record.

It has been said we can never step into the same river twice. This is because rivers constantly change course, depth and volume velocity as does the rest of the universe or even multiverse we live in. We rarely can precisely predict the conditions we will be encountering unless we have particularly static and passive lives (death?). The act of living is one of adapting by responding to circumstances. If we did not have to ever do this, what would we be doing? Nothing!

The problem is change can be frightening, because we cannot predict the outcomes. On the other hand many situations demand change because we can predict the outcome if we do not. This occurs early when learning to ride a bicycle. Leaning too far in one direction requires quick rebalancing to avoid falling over and crashing. Adapting is perhaps our most natural act. Babies have it easy. All they have to do is drink or eat what is offered and hug back when embraced. It is not until later that they learn to duck and cover, hit back or run away.

Innovation is simply an advanced form of adapting to circumstances. When see something that is not working, we can respond by creating a new situation which sometimes has us bring into the world new behaviors, devices, technologies, companies, institutions, wealth or all of the above. It is an entirely natural and for many, involuntary act. You see a problem and fix it. You lean too far in one direction and correct, or fall over and next time lean less. Or discover if going very quickly enables you to lean more, as all who have been on a motorcycle know first hand. It seems Elon Musk is doing this right now with Tesla and his other companies.

Resisting change is not sane because it is impossible. All living organisms have the capacity to adapt to their circumstances. We all have to, because our environment is always in a state of flux, never constant. Fortunately humans have proven to be a most adaptable species. Innovation and adaptation are reasonable responses to the situation we always find ourselves in. We simply cannot step into the same river or multiverse twice, because it is not there any more.

Being subject to the dark matter in our minds, perhaps it is time to examine those invisible thoughts and models dense enough to exert a strong gravitational pull on our behavior. We can better adapt to these massive models impacting our beliefs if we know they are there. We often have to hypothesize something, before discovering it. When we observe behavior that makes no sense, it is time to look for invisible models that may be causing powerful fears to exist.

Poor behavior is often the result of fear, even if the poorly behaving folks are unaware they are fearful. What are they afraid of? That the world as they know it is changing. They are right, it is. If they remember all humans are potentially masterful at adapting and innovating, perhaps they can be less fearful in order to be more creative, for it is the only way out. We can not go backward without pushing civilization into a great dieback which is certainly possible. The earth does not need us.

This brings me back to point I have made many times, “Innovate or die!” But now keep an eye out for the dark matter of the mind, which can be unfortunately unconsciously perspective shifting. Remember our physical universe has a lot more dark matter than visible matter and it is likely that our minds do as well.

We certainly have the capacity and the need to investigate and explore externally and internally. My simple definition of innovation is “applied insight”. If you never look inside, what are you going to apply? How will you adapt and what will you adopt? Because we all do and will continue. The question is unconsciously or consciously? This is not only a question for each individual but for society at large and the world.