Archive for July, 2006


I am a Supernova

From WordNet:

n : a star that explodes and becomes extremely luminous in the process

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English:

Luminous \Lu”mi*nous\, a. [L. luminosus, fr. lumen light: cf. F. lumineux.]
1. Shining; emitting or reflecting light; brilliant; bright; as, the is a luminous body; a luminous color.
2. Illuminated; full of light; bright; as, many candles made the room luminous.
3. Enlightened; intelligent; also, clear; intelligible; as, a luminous mind.

Have you noticed I like the dictionary? I often feel like I have an expansive vocabulary, yet I get a bit paranoid about whether I’m spelling words correctly and using them appropriately (when I’m not mangling them on purpose with Spoonerisms or just saying things bass ackwards). Rather than stay in my state of word paranoia I flip open the dictionary. Often this leads to some interesting implications depending on the word(s) under consideration.

Today I was working on voicing the idea that it often takes me getting hit from many directions with an idea before it comes into my awareness and I act on it. The metaphor that came to mind is that of a nuclear reaction: you have to have forces acting from all sides to compress the fuel to the point where it begins to produce energy on its own.

I looked up Atomic Bomb and Hydrogen Bomb but they didn’t have quite the connotations I wanted. Then I started to listen to the little voice in the back of my head said “what about those really big nuclear reactors in the sky? Check ‘supernova’.” Again that didn’t feel quite right so I kept checking synonyms and got distracted by the phrase “Red Dwarf” (the title of a favorite scifi BritCom). I finally came back to supernova and on a whim (that little voice again?) I checked luminous.

The first two definitions of luminous were pretty much what I expected. The third was where I had my “aha!” moment. Now supernova almost exactly described what I was after in the first place! I am bombarded with ideas all the time. (Are they like cosmic rays? Where do they come from? How do we detect them? Can they be harnessed to produce a useful energy source?) The fun starts when I hear the same basic idea from multiple sources, in multiple contexts, in multiple forms. Then I stand a chance of going “supernova” and becoming luminous — enlightened, intelligent, and/or clear, intelligible.

What does this have to do with anything? If you’ve been subscribed to the newsletter for more than a week you’ll have seen my KAB theory. In the supernova dictionary search it was a matter of being aware of what the recurring themes were, and doing something with that. If you don’t feel like you know enough on a topic decide to do something like pull out a dictionary. Once you bring all three (knowledge, awareness, and behavior) into play then watch for the nuclear reaction (the spontaneous generation of energy from formerly inert concepts) and the luminosity (intelligence and clarity).

To wrap up today’s physics metaphor, a wonky syllogism:
Matter is energy.
Thinking takes energy.
Therefore your thoughts matter!

(Apologies to those mathemagicians offended by my pop-logic — including myself!)

Posted by Wayne Buckhanan | No Comments »

Maven with Connector Tendencies

I enjoyed Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink last summer and intend to read any other books he publishes. I finally was motivated enough to seek out his first book after hearing recommendations and/or quotes from at least three sources this week.

As I got into the second chapter of The Tipping Point I was pretty sure I was not a Connector. I confirmed that by scoring just below average on Gladwell’s surname survey. I was surprised to find that I have a number of Connector tendencies that I might nurture.

What makes someone a Connector? The first — and most obvious — criterion is that Connectors know lots of people. They are the kinds of people who know everyone.

But he takes it beyond the “extraordinary knack of making friends and acquaintances.” Gladwell notes that this collection of people is not something to be wielded as part of a business strategy, but that Connectors “simply like people.” They are not selective about whom they form weak ties with — unlike so many others who make a distinction between the people “worth” investing time in and those who are not.

Another attribute of Gladwell’s Connectors is that they often belong to a number of different subcultures or “worlds”. The majority of people have one or two worlds within which they interact: their career and possibly a hobby. One Connector Gladwell interviewed had been a part of at least ten different worlds over the course of her adult life.

I was also surprised how much I resonated with the description of Gladwell’s Salesman. I do not consider sales my calling by any means, but I was impressed at his distinction between people trying to sell for the seller’s benefit and how a Salesman can be persuasive by recommending win-win options that their client may not have considered otherwise.

Gladwell’s Salesman description contains concepts such as congruence, behavioral flexibility, and the fact that people are always communicating with much more than words. I really resonated with these since they are central NLP tenets.

While I may be more attentive to Salesman characteristics in the future I am not likely to spend much time developing that or my Connector-ness. I would not have guessed from the name but I have nearly full-blown Maven characteristics and am much happier with the thought of nurturing Maven tendencies than working on either of the other two.

Mavens collect information rather than people.

The critical thing about Mavens, though, is that they aren’t passive collectors of information. It isn’t just that they are obsessed with how to get the best deal on a can of coffee. What sets them apart is that once they figure out how to get that deal, they want to tell you about it too.

Mavens share information but tend not to apply peer pressure (as Salesmen would).
The Maven is more than just an expert who talks about subjects they love. Mavens will talk with a person about a subject because they love people and want to help them. “Mavens are really information brokers, sharing and trading what they know.”

So, as I release various information products over time I will be paying attention and creating win-win offers while fulfilling my craving to share. You can do your part by responding to what I have to offer.

If you haven’t done so yet make sure you sign up for the newsletter so we can start to share some more information!

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An Independent Feast for the Senses

To commemorate our country’s independence I decided that 1:00am was a good time to start cooking. I stood at the stove, thoughts fully divergent, tending the pot. I discovered that I cook with all five senses! Who would have thought that the last one would be taste?

I check what I’m cooking to see if it looks like what I imagined (visual).
I listen (auditory) for the water to boil and the timer to *ding*.
I check the consistency (kinesthetic) – is it done cooking?
Then I check the scents (olfactory) to decide what herbs and spices to add.
Only once I’ve done all those things do I actually taste (gustatory) my concoction in order to imagine what else might make it better.

The other thing that I noticed is that my reaction to a sight, sound – even a smell – is entirely independent of the event itself. There is nothing inherent in Sage that causes me to think of tea leaves. The sight of basil leaves will not remind everyone of fish food and the goldfish they had as a kid. There is no essence in Curry Powder that elicits mixed feelings of “yum” and “yuck”. These are all my own reactions to a neutral stimulus.

So whether you are in the US or not, today is a day to start
exercising your independence! Notice what you react to in less than resourceful ways. You may even decide that you can react differently to that tone of voice or “the look”. You never know what new responses you may get by changing your own behavior.

Embrace your senses and celebrate your independence!

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