FIVE ProxThink meetups this month!

FIVE ProxThink meetups this month! Four are online, so you can attend even if you don’t live around Los Angeles. Use the link below to click through to the group page for more details.
• Intro to Proximity Thinking – Online Workshop – 1/12/17
• Intro to Proximity Thinking – Online Workshop – 1/15/17
• Shared Situation Guide – Online Workshop – 1/19/17
• Shared Situation Guide – Online Workshop – 1/22/17
• Mixer & Possible LA Collabs – 1/29/17

Introducing a Sleek Version of the Shared Situation Guide

Sleek Romance

Sleek Romance” by Dawna Raven sky Zimbalist is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I was using the Shared Situation Guide on my phone and doing a lot of scrolling! So I’ve made a sleek version. Instead of including short text introductions, I’ve just put links to the orientations. So without further ado, here’s the sleek version of the Shared Situation Guide. Enjoy! I’ve also put links to the sleek version in the full version and the relevant orientation documents.

By the way, here’s a little more history of the sleek guide, for those interested. At first I thought the sleek version would be mostly for people who have worked with the full version and no longer need the short explanations there. And that may be true. But then I also realized it might appeal to people who like an uncluttered, minimalist approach.

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.


Process Graphic Helps People with Shared Situations Use the ProxThink Growth Model

Do you and some other people have a shared situation you face together? Your shared situation can be whatever you are dealing with or considering. This graphic shows a process you can use, by starting at the top left and following the arrows (see 7-step overview below). The graphic leverages the ProxThink Growth Model, which makes the proximity more of a tangible thing. As a result, people can better relate to the proximity of their shared situation, which can help them deal with it. This can also help create more sustainable proximities and sustainable variety. You can click the graphic for an enlarged view.

Here’s a very brief 7-step overview of using the graphic.

  1. Adopt one or more RelatePoints for your shared collaboration. I like the Quip app.
  2. Consider and define your shared situation.
  3. Decide what valuable differences you are attempting to create, adapt and/or maintain.
  4. Create at least a simple Vadi Agreement.
  5. Consider needed or wanted proxri which can help your situation and sustain your valuable differences, and then proxri as appropriate. ProxPatterns may be helpful in considering needed or wanted proxri. Note that proxri can take many forms, including money, things, services, ideas, tasks, relationships, actions, and so on, as well as a combination of these.
  6. Create, adapt and/or maintain ProxMonitors.
  7. Use ProxMonitors to assess and reassess your proxri, situation, valuable differences and Vadi Agreement, looping back through steps as shown to make adjustments as needed.

I’ll provide a longer 7-step description of the graphic later. Or, perhaps I’ll make a stretched version with more details and definitions. However, if you click through to the definitions, I think you should be able to use the brief overview above. I’m also working on some Quip templates with brief descriptions to use with the graphic, which I hope to present in workshops presented in-person and online. But I wanted to get this out there now in case I get run over by a bus or something! You can find more about the growth model here and proximity thinking here.

A little about the development of this graphic: I had been working on some new examples to demonstrate the ProxThink Growth Model, as part of making a template for people to use with the Quip app. While doing that, I was also trying to better involve other parts of proximity thinking in an integrated way, which led to this graphic and some new insights, four of which are: 1.) It made me realize how considering a situation and creating a Vadi Agreement are related. 2.) It also made me realize that developing ideas for a situation can be proxri. 3.) And it made me look again at how the process of using the four growth model processes are related. One result is this new graphic. On the ProxThink site, I had presented the four processes in the order I thought they were easiest to learn. But this graphic shows it may be better to use them in a different order. 4.) I also realized that one person can use the growth model on their own!

Questions? Contact us via

As you find this rewarding, please proxri with the proximity in mind via

“How to ProxThink That” Webinar Series Launched

We’ve launched a new webinar series, our first! Combining a conference call and online work, this interactive intro webinar will help you learn How to ProxThink That. Limited to 24 people, this interactive session may fill up quickly. It will be hosted by David Loughry, creator of proximity thinking. The first sessions will be August 25th and 26th.

You can find links to current webinars via our Eventbrite page at:

As of today, here are the key event details.

What we’ll do:
1. Introduce you to the ProxThink framework and tour the site.
2. Practice generating ideas using ProxPatterns and the Growth Model. To relate to your life, we’ll practice generating ideas for social, business and community situations.
3. Q&A (Questions and Answers)

What’s included (after the session):
1. You’ll have a post-session call with David, any time within a year, for further questions or discussion (up to 15 minutes).
2. You’ll get a ProxThink website membership, which includes the power to turn off ads, space for saving ideas, and a way to track your learning.
3. You’ll be sent a printable PDF of the ProxPatterns formatted to cut out for your wallet or purse. Feel free to share this with others.

What you’ll get:
1. New perspective, new framework, mental stimulation and a quicker onramp:
 You’ll gain a new way of looking at the world and a new framework that gives you more options for thinking, creating, innovating, solving problems, boosting sustainability, and living. Plus there’s the mental stimulation, and a quicker onramp to learning about proximity thinking than learning it on your own.
2. New ideas and the satisfaction of helping others: We’ll develop ideas during the session for some situations you and others may face. You may benefit and possibly help others too.
3. Possibility of proxri for you: We may make public some ideas we develop, via the ProxThink River blog. For both the public ideas, and ideas only the session participants can access, you’ll have the possibility of getting proxri for them from a session participant or someone out there in the wide world.

What you’ll need:
1. A phone or a way to make voice calls via Skype. Either will do.
2. A computer. You will want at least two browser windows open at once, so the bigger the screen the better.
3. A Google account, so you can access the shared Google Doc we’ll be working on. Please know the email associated with your Google account BEFORE registering. (You can get a Google account without getting Gmail, if you want, using your existing email account.)

For current suggested pricing, and to find a date that works for you and to register, please visit:

How to make an ergonomic pillow from a blanket when you are traveling.

Enjoying this post, or using it? Consider a proxri. Thank you!


I didn’t create this innovation, but I helped trigger it through the use of two ProxPatterns. It also illustrates how it can take multiple people to innovate. I’ll tell you the story first, and then mention the proximity thinking involved.

I use an ergonomic pillow at home, but don’t travel with it. I’ve never found a hotel that offers them. I was in Denver at a hotel, needed an extra blanket, and went to the front desk. After I got the blanket, I thought, hey, it never hurts to ask, so I said, “This is going to be a crazy question, but by any chance do you have an ergonomic pillow?”

The front desk clerk said, “What’s an ergonomic pillow?” I explained it to him, and drew a shape in the air that shows the side of an ergonomic pillow. And he said, “Oh, I know what those are. Those are cool.” Then he went back into the supply room.

When he came back, he had one of those foamy blankets folded inside a pillowcase. He said “Would this help?” I said, “Yeah, maybe, thanks so much! That’s a great idea!” It wasn’t exactly the right shape, but the basic idea was born.

In the hotel room, I experimented and tweaked it. I found that with a different blanket, and a different way of folding it, I could mimic the shape and firmness of my ergonomic pillow at home.

The photo you see is after four nights of sleeping on the pillow. It was the best four nights of sleep I think I’ve had in a hotel. I thank that hotel clerk and the Drury Inn. I wonder if they encourage this kind of customer service from their staff?

Obviously, my tweaking of the clerk’s idea didn’t take any great talent. But asking him the question about whether they had ergonomic pillows was the result of two ProxPatterns I often use. One is seeking greater ProxAwareness. The other is allowing some uncertainty in asking a dumb question.

This led in turn to examples of two other ProxPatterns. The front desk clerk was seeking to honor the integrity of my request. He did this partly by ProxAwareness of the available resources. And partly by relating a wider variety of elements than normal, those elements being pillowcases and blankets. Normally, blankets don’t go inside pillowcases, but the clerk was able not only to consider it, but try it too, which is a great example of relating a variety.

Of course he didn’t consciously use those ProxPatterns. But I have found that useful and/or interesting ideas and processes often exhibit ProxPatterns.

Enjoying this post, or using it? Consider a proxri. Thank you!