Simon Griffee · Time, light, movement & distance.

Pragmatic Thinking and Learning Notes

24 May 2016 · 3 minute read

I’m reading Pragmatic Thinking and Learning for the second time and keeping notes. Here are the digital ones, to be updated regularly.

  1. Always consider the context.
  2. Use rules for novices, intuition for experts.
  3. Know what you don’t know.
  4. Learn by watching and imitating.
  5. Keep practicing in order to remain expert.
  6. Avoid formal methods if you need creativity, intuition, or inventiveness.
  7. Learn the skill of learning.
  8. Capture all ideas to get more of them.
  9. Learn by synthesis as well as by analysis.
  10. Strive for good design; it really does work better.
  11. Rewire your brain with belief and constant practice.
  12. Add sensory experience to engage more of your brain.
  13. Lead with R-Mode, follow with L-mode.
  14. Use metaphor as the meeting place between Linear mode and Rich mode.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. pp. 96

15. Cultivate humor to build stronger metaphors.

Writing for a public audience is a great way to clarify your own thoughts and beliefs.

16. Step away from the keyboard to solve hard problems.

R-mode can only be invited, not commanded. Defocus to focus…In The Laws of Form mathematician George Spencer Brown refers to this not as thinking but as simply “bearing in mind what it is that one needs to know. “

The only difference between a rut and a grave is the dimensions.

17. Change your viewpoint to solve the problem. Arthur looking down lines on maps. pp. 119 Brian Eno oblique strategies. pp. 120 Your mistake was a hidden intention. Change is good. Your breen is tuned to be adaptive. Make up words. Change nouns to verbs. pp. 121

Nominal fallacy, symbolic reduction fallacy. pp. 128

18. Watch the outliers: “rarely” doesn’t mean “never”.

Comfort with ambiguity. pp. 132

19. Be comfortable with uncertainty.
20. Trust ink over memory; Every mental read is a write.

You are the product of your time. pp. 135

Generational archetypes. pp. 141

21. Hedge your bets with diversity.
22. Allow for different bugs in different people.
23. Act like you’ve evolved: breathe, don’t hiss.

Douglas Adams On normality. pp. 151

24. Trust intuition, but verify.
25. Create specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-boxed.
26. Plan your investment in learning deliberately.
27. Discover how you learn best.
28. Form study groups to learn and teach.
29. Read deliberately.
[ ] Create simple mindmap tool 30. Take notes with both R-mode and L-mode.
! Paper bag drawings: a drawing on each paper bag i get. With found pencils.
[ ] Make mindmap for next film or game or book I experience. Elite mindmap. MGSV mindmap.
31. Write on. Documenting is more important than documentation.
32. See it. Do it. Teach it.
Explain the problem to someone else or a surrogate object.
[ ] Attend a user group. Design? UX? Start a photography group?
33. Play more in order to learn more.
34. Learn from similarities; unlearn from differences.
“A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.” —James Joyce
35. Explore, invent and apply in your environment—safely.
“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer or more water or less sun. You never blame the lettuce.” —Thich Nhat Hahn

We learn better by discovery, not instruction.

Cultivate situational feedback.

Use awareness to correct performance.

36. See without judging and then act.
“Don’t just do something; stand there.”

“Trying fails, awareness cures.”

37. Give yourself permission to fail; it’s the path to success.

Always be the worse player in any band you’re in. —Pat Metheny

38. Groove your mind for success.
Visualising success helps it happen.
39. Learn to pay attention.
Aim for relaxed awareness.