Structuring Value

“Expand your Horizons”​ by Olga Dziemidowicz of art-by-olga.com

One of my favorite activities is to create spaces and experiences we humans can be our true selves, flourish and gain new perspectives to see themselves and the world around us in new ways. All of us walk around perceiving our own versions of reality. Essentially, there are 7.8 billion humans ways to experience the same world. In other words there are 7.8 billion different worlds existing in our heads. I think it’s an exceedingly beautiful thing to imagine that there all of these versions existing in our minds. Not only that, but there are also 7.8 billion versions of you as seen by every human on this planet. Of course, your own version of the world and of yourself is the most important one to you but all other 7,799,999,999 are valid. There is an enormous value to expand your horizon and explore the different versions of you.

My mission with Vast Experiences is to make these different versions of the world and of you accessible to you. These are two mantras that are very close to my heart:

Only if we can see the world in different ways, we will see how it really is. 
Only if we can see ourselves in different ways, we will see who we really are. 

One of the best ways to gain a new perspective is to have deep and honest interactions with other humans. At Vast Experiences I’m exploring different approaches to foster these interactions human connections.

On Value

I love helping people to add more value to their lives and have been pondering over what the best way to do this would look like. Yesterday, I had an interesting idea. What if I focus on what is adding value to my life and share it with others. What adds value to my life? 

Play: I’m a pretty playful person. I enjoy setting myself little challenges and toy around with others.

Growth: I’m a pretty curious person. I enjoy getting a better understanding of the world and people and things in it. 

Creating: I’m a pretty inventive person. I enjoy coming up with ideas and turning them into reality.

People, People, People: I’m a pretty social person. I enjoy creating spaces we connect in meaningful ways and belong.

Ironically these are all pretty great ingredients to gain a new perspective. The circle completes itself. Whoa! I shouldn’t be surprised. 

How can we put these into practise?

When I was a kid I used to play lots with Lego. What may sound unusual for some is that my parents spent hours with me sorting my legos into lots of boxes with little compartments. The pieces were sorted by shape and color so that when I wanted to build something I could easily find the right pieces. If you have things structured it’s easier to work. Great insight.

Science

Structure comes in very handy when performing scientific experiments. The scientific method is probably one of the most important things I learned in uni. First, you come up with an idea that forms your hypothesis, then you design a method for your experiment to test your hypothesis. You run the experiment and get results and you discuss the results to form some conclusions and put them in context for further research. Then you publish and repeat the process. The usual order of a scientific paper is: 

  • Idea/Hypothesis: Definition of what is to be tested.
  • Method: Research and selection of ways to carry out experiments. 
  • Experiment/Results: This where the discoveries are made.
  • Discussion: Putting the results into context.
  • Conclusion: Summing up findings and propose new investigations.

Improv

Here is an interesting stretch. When I played improv comedy in Chicago we learned the most popular long-form improv format called Harold. The legend goes something like this: Del Close, the founding father of long-form improv wanted his students to play as freely as possible. However, his students ask him for some structure to play along and he gave them the Harold format. A Harold is structured in the following way:

  • Opening: The 8 players in the Harold team ask the audience for a word and then create an opening based on the word that will define the theme for the show. 
  • 1st Beat: 3 scenes that create 3 independent worlds based on the theme of the show.
  • Group game with all 8 players
  • 2nd Beat: 3 scenes that explore each world based on the theme of the show. This is usually where are discoveries happen.
  • Group game with all 8 players
  • 3rd Beat: 3 scenes where the different worlds overlap and get put into context. It often ends with a conclusion relating to the theme of the show.

While I was in Chicago taking a five-week improv intensive, it dawned on me how similar the structure of the Harold is to a scientific paper. 

  • Opening – Idea/Hypothesis: Definition of what will be explored.
  • 1st Beat – Method: Selecting and setting up the environment to make discoveries.
  • 2nd Beat – Experiment/Results: Using the environment to make discoveries.
  • 3rd Beat – Discussion/Conclusion: Putting discoveries into context for further exploration.

Whoa! I shouldn’t be surprised. This is probably how our brains have learned to think in these kinds of stories for millennia. 

Getting back it to the original question. How do we put play, growing, creating and people this into practise? 

What we if map them onto the Harold/scientific method:

  • Opening – Playful Ideas 
  • 1st Beat – Growing Methods
  • 2nd Beat – Creative Experiments 
  • 3rd Beat – Connected Discussions 

Now that looks like some interesting building blocks. You can tell I played with a lot of Lego as a kid 🙂

How do I fit these blocks to my day?

My friend Haley Johnson, recently published her work ethic in a Linked post. She breaks up her day into 90 min deep work chunks, where you only focus on a single or few tasks without any distractions. I got inspired to create my own schedule.

  • 6:15 AM: Wake up and shower
  • 6:30 AM: Meditate
  • 7 AM – 9 AM: Deep work session 1 with the Early Work Crew
  • 9 – 9:30 AM: Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 11 AM: Deep work session 2
  • 11 – 12 PM: Curiosity Walk or Cycle and lunch
  • 12 – 1:30 PM: Deep work session 3
  • 1:30 – 3 PM: Meetings and admin
  • 3 PM – 4:30 PM: Summarising my findings of the day and publishing them 

Finally, I can insert my building blocks into the structure:

  • 6:15 AM: Wake up and shower
  • 6:30 AM: Meditate
  • 7 AM – 9 AM: Deep work session 1 (Playful Ideas) with the Early Work Crew
  • 9 – 9:30 AM: Breakfast
  • 9:30 – 11 AM: Deep work session 2 (Growing Methods)
  • 11 – 12 PM: Curiosity Walk or Cycle and lunch
  • 12 – 1:30 PM: Deep work session 3 (Creative Experiments)
  • 1:30 – 3 PM: Meetings and admin (Connected Discussions)
  • 3 PM – 4:30 PM: Summarising my findings of the day and publishing them 

I thought it would be cool to experiment with this format for the next few months and I will see where it will take me. I will keep you updated on my findings on Vast Experiences. Here is the one for the first day.

Wow, that was a lot. Thanks for reading. Let me know if any of this resonates with you.

This article was originally published on Vast Experiences. Stay in the loop and sign up for the Vast Experiences newsletter here.

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