We should shift our focus to proximities, when it’s appropriate, effective and enjoyable. Proximity thinking and connectedness make this easier.

A connected world, combined with some new concepts and processes, presents the possibility of shifting our focus to proximities when it’s appropriate, and when doing so can be more effective and more enjoyable.

So why don’t we? Probably because our current systems and approaches have so much momentum and we’re so used to them. So to change becomes a matter of both learning what is now possible in a connected world, why and when it makes sense to change, and then getting our feet wet (transitioning) by making some changes to limited proximities.

I’ve written something which makes the case for what is possible and why and when it makes sense. It’s a letter I wrote as part of the online course Let’s Be More Alive — Intro to ProxThink. I’m sharing it below, along with a short intro for the letter which summarizes the key points I’d like you to notice for the purposes of this blog post.

Also, perhaps the letter will help persuade you to explore and enroll in Let’s Be More Alive — Intro to ProxThink. 🙂

Four Key Related Parts of the Following Letter

If you don’t have time to read the whole letter below, here are four key parts related to shifting our focus to proximities when it’s appropriate, effective and enjoyable.

One key idea is about when using the ProxThink growth model is more appropriate:

… the [ProxThink] growth model is probably more appropriate for proximity-oriented situations. However, we are facing many proximity-oriented situations, and they may be our most critical situations. Yet some older approaches we’re still using were developed before we were so networked and connected, and perhaps don’t translate well to networks.

The above section mentions proximity-oriented situations, and you might be wondering what I mean. For more on that, see the post For Shared Challenges and Shared Situations, We Need Networked, Proximity-Oriented Approaches.

Here’s more about what the ProxThink growth model can do, when used by people who are connected and networked, especially via their mobile devices:

… since the growth model helps people in a shared situation treat the proximity more like a person, or one element, instead of many unconnected elements. I think this helps the proximity seem and act more like a living thing, and in turn enhances liveliness for people who are a part of it.

The following section talks about how, when a proximity becomes more of a living thing, it should increase variety and enjoyment for people:

… when a proximity feels like a living thing, people will likely want to keep it going and enjoy doing so. Further, since people using the growth model focus in part on the life of the proximity, and keeping the proximity alive, it can allow more variety in their lives. Why? If the focus is more on the proximity (which is actually a blended focus on the proximity, elements and relationships) then while valuable differences may need to be created, adapted and/or maintained, it may matter less who does the needed creating, adapting and/or maintaining of valuable differences, as long as someone does it. When many different people can do what needs to be done to help create, adapt and/or maintain valuable differences in the proximity of their shared situation, there’s a greater chance that whoever decides to do what needs to be done may want to do it and will enjoy doing it.

And here’s more about the benefits of the increased variety in people’s lives:

… this may open up possibilities for people to have more varied lives, sometimes doing one thing, and other times doing something else to help create, adapt and/or maintain valuable differences. It may not be necessary for people to become such specialists, and then feel or get stuck being specialists if they don’t want to be specialists so much of the time. These possibilities for variety will likely enhance people’s minds, bodies, moods and social lives! And these possibilities for variety can create more sustainable variety and liveliness.

I hope the excerpts above highlight for you key parts of the full letter below, which is from the online course Let’s Be More Alive — Intro to ProxThink.

A Letter to Explain and Invite

Hello!

I hope you’ve found the course interesting so far, and that you think it has potential for you and/or your proximities. At this point, you will probably get more out of the following letter. I want to talk a little more about how the ProxThink framework can help us be more alive, and then invite you to get involved in some groups and projects.

I hope you’ve begun to see how the ProxThink framework can be useful for creativity, innovation, and problem-solving. These uses apply especially well for individual people who think and relate with the framework. These uses can make for more productive, lively and enjoyable thinking and living for individuals.

But perhaps you’ve also begun to see that the ProxThink framework may have broader uses that can improve our lives and help us be more alive. This is especially true of the ProxThink growth model, since it applies to collaboration and shared challenges, both of which are shared situations. And, I think the growth model works at many scales. As mentioned earlier in activities for your shared situation, the growth model is probably more appropriate for proximity-oriented situations. However, we are facing many proximity-oriented situations, and they may be our most critical situations. Yet some older approaches we’re still using were developed before we were so networked and connected, and perhaps don’t translate well to networks. Since the growth model evolved on and was designed for networks, I think and hope it has some potential to change how we live, for the better.

I think the growth model approach, especially when applied via mobile devices and networks, can simultaneously help us create both more sustainable proximities and more sustainable variety. In fact, I think sustainable proximities and sustainable variety evolve together, reinforcing each other. Together, sustainable proximities and sustainable variety help us be more alive.

I’m using the term sustainable broadly here. By sustainableI mean that the complexity of growth and life can persist, adapt and change as needed. In this sense, you might think of sustainable as often meaning lively. We can’t instantly make the world sustainable, but we can make the proximities of some situations more sustainable. And since proximities overlap, this sustainability can perhaps spread.

In particular, proximities can become more sustainable with the growth model since the growth model helps people in a shared situation treat the proximity more like a person, or one element, instead of many unconnected elements. I think this helps the proximity seem and act more like a living thing, and in turn enhances liveliness for people who are a part of it. Not only is sustainability built into the Vadi Agreement, with the process of creating, adapting and/or maintaining valuable differences, but when a proximity feels like a living thing, people will likely want to keep it going and enjoy doing so. Further, since people using the growth model focus in part on the life of the proximity, and keeping the proximity alive, it can allow more variety in their lives. Why? If the focus is more on the proximity (which is actually a blended focus on the proximity, elements and relationships) then while valuable differences may need to be created, adapted and/or maintained, it may matter less who does the needed creating, adapting and/or maintaining of valuable differences, as long as someone does it. When many different people can do what needs to be done to help create, adapt and/or maintain valuable differences in the proximity of their shared situation, there’s a greater chance that whoever decides to do what needs to be done may want to do it and will enjoy doing it. At the same time, this may open up possibilities for people to have more varied lives, sometimes doing one thing, and other times doing something else to help create, adapt and/or maintain valuable differences. It may not be necessary for people to become such specialists, and then feel or get stuck being specialists if they don’t want to be specialists so much of the time. These possibilities for variety will likely enhance people’s minds, bodies, moods and social lives! And these possibilities for variety can create more sustainable variety and liveliness.

So I think and hope that the ProxThink framework can create not only more lively thinking and problem-solving, but also more lively collaboration and shared situations. This combination can help us be more alive.

It’s in this spirit of creating more sustainable variety, and being more alive, that I invite you to visit loughry.com to see some projects and groups you can take part in, adopt, adapt and/or join. Each relates in some way to the proximity thinking framework. Since you’ve taken this course, you’ll feel more comfortable with them from the start. And, each provides you ways to get involved and help this effort grow, improve and evolve.

I hope to meet you or hear from you at some point! But first, please check out loughry.com and get involved in some of the groups and projects! 

Thanks,
David Loughry

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