Creating the Life We Want, with a Tip from Skiing

Ski i Trysil

Ski i Trysil” by Ola Matsson for Trysil is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I think it’s probably true that we, as individuals and groups, can create the life we want, to a large extent. But I also think it’s a bit like skiing. If you do the right things at the right moments, the ski and the mountain do a lot of the rest of the work. In life, the skis are things like the systems, tools, products and services that we create and we use. When I say “systems,” it includes not just things like infrastructure but things like formal and informal social networks, conceptual frameworks, and processes we use to do things large and small. This means such systems might include the proximity thinking framework, the sustainable proximities approach, the shared situation guide and the shared situations website. I’ve worked very hard to make these ProxThink-related systems be like a good pair of skis. When used with reality (the mountain), they can do a lot of the work for us, and can help make life better and more enjoyable.

As touched on, an important point about the above is related to the word “we,” which can mean ourselves individually, but also larger groups of people, and even all of humanity. So we need to think carefully about the systems, tools, products and services that we create and we use. But I think we especially need to think carefully about the systems, as systems can condition the range of options we have, and our quality of life in general. I’ve thought very carefully in creating the ProxThink-related systems mentioned above, and even about the transitions to using them more often.



Leveraging Technology plus Liking What You Do


The power of technology is the leverage it provides. It means that a few people can create and/or maintain what many people need.

And, those few people can even like what they do. They can like it, as it engages them.

So let’s try a system where, for some proximities, a few such people use the sustainable proximities approach to coordinate and collaborate, in order to create and/or maintain technology which supports and sustains a proximity.

What would other people do? They would do the same thing, if they want to, for that proximity or other proximities. (Remember, proximities overlap.) And if they don’t want to, they can do other things.

Let’s try it with things that are simple. Then repeat, improve, and try harder things.

Proxri Deal: As you find our relationship rewarding, proxri with the proximity in mind.

Bored or Engaged


Probably any ProxSet can become boring if you are not engaged with it.

The more diverse the ProxSet, the more engaging it can probably be.

ProxPatterns provide some clues for ways to stay engaged with ProxSets.

For more about ProxSets and ProxPatterns, join ProxThink.

Proxri Deal: As you find our relationship rewarding, proxri with the proximity in mind.

Flow of Life


Ultimately, perhaps there is no reason to get up in the morning, or to start, stop or continue doing anything, or to enjoy anything, other than this reason: to be in the flow of life.

Being in the flow of life is another way of saying being related to life. Being is about relating, which is one of the foundations of ProxThink.

Many organizations, systems and processes, or parts thereof, from philosophy, religion and books, to businesses, markets and governments, to friends, networks, associations and family relationships, exist at least in part to keep us in the flow of life, or encourage us in the flow of life.

Proxri Deal: As you find our relationship rewarding, proxri with the proximity in mind.

Three Paragraphs on ProxThink


[Note: This is a new short form press release I’m working on. – David]

Thanks to scientists and philosophers, we know that “it’s all relative” and that “being is about relating.” However, we don’t have a useful, shared framework for thinking and talking about, and making use of, these insights. “I’ve tried to develop something with that potential,” says David Loughry, creator of ProxThink. The developments include some new language, concepts, systems, models and tools that form a framework. The new language and concepts are designed to be general and simple enough for conversation, yet also present diverse possibilities. The perhaps surprising upshot is that this framework for relating helps us relate to and with contexts, networks and proximities. This is timely since social and technological networks, which are growing more common, shift some of the emphasis to contexts and proximities. Further, rather than only being theoretical, this framework can engender enjoyment and the arts; support science, engineering and design; promote sustainability; acknowledge and work with complexity; as well as be highly useful and practical in situations ranging from everyday life to business and markets. Loughry says, “I call this framework ProxThink, short for proximity thinking and relating.”

ProxThink, with a focus on proximities, consists of the following three elements: 1) a new structure for thinking and relating, paired with 2) a creativity and innovation system. These were then used as building blocks for 3) a new kind of growth model. The new thinking structure consists of two foundational elements, four terms and two tools. The creativity and innovation system consists of 16 related proximity patterns, and tools which leverage them. The growth model consists of four related processes that are suggested as new standards. The growth model can be combined with some existing technologies, networks, and emerging participatory aspects of the Internet to create a new sustainable proximities approach. This sustainable proximities approach creates a wide variety of possibilities. Some of these include: 1) new ways to collaborate to deal with climate change, 2) alternatives to markets, 3) new ways to solve the intellectual property challenges of a networked world, and 4) sustainable proximity approaches which can complement markets, governments and democracies.

“It’s impossible to convey how these ideas and practices work with each other in a few paragraphs. It took a website and a blog to explain them, and provide tools based on them. I believe the framework and the sustainable proximities approach have potential, and should be explored, tested, and grown,” says Loughry. For a more thorough introduction to ProxThink, see this longer press release. For some practical takeaways and some proposed new standards in each related area, see the following links: 1) Boost innovation and creativity at 2) Use and learn about a different model for downloadable digital content at 3) Become part of a new way to approach climate change which leverages social media at 4) Discover more about the sustainable proximities approach at 5) Explore the ProxThink growth model, and consider how you might adapt or adopt it for some of your proximities here:

Proxri Deal: As you find our relationship rewarding, proxri with the proximity in mind.

Transitions as Doorways


Perhaps a good way to view personal transitions is as a doorway. When you go through a doorway, you move into a proximity that is pretty different from where or when you were.

Viewing personal transitions as doorways can work in mundane transitions, like getting up in the morning or starting a new project. It can also work for more major transitions, like changes in your life or beliefs or circumstances.

See your transition as a doorway. Move through the doorway into a new proximity.

Proxri Deal: As you find our relationship rewarding, proxri with the proximity in mind.