I didn’t know. But “god” works in mysterious ways, the book I am reading has an answer that shows me what has been missing for me on Sunday and all my life.
The book, Peak, the new science of expertise, calls it Mental Representation.
Mental Representation is being able to see the finished product in your mind’s eye, and also see the process getting there, so you can anticipate missteps, and can correct, given that you know how it is, how it looks when it is perfect.
Mental Representation for what I want is a skill I haven’t practiced much in my life. Partially because I haven’t spent much time deciding what it is that I really want.
Why? Let me explain.
Conation is the way you approach a project. It’s an instinctual energy. Kolbe says there are four conative approaches, Fact Finder, Follow Through, Quick Start and Implementer. We all have those four in different proportion. The numbers always add up to 20, and my numbers are 4-4-9-3. I am the type who jumps into action without doing much if any thinking, planning, fact finding beforehand. I have an idea and I jump… fast. Lots of “False starts, crushed dreams“.
Some people are mainly researchers, fact finders (Knowledge), systemizers/strategizers aka follow through (Strategy), Doers/Starters, and some are mainly Implementors (Execution)
But in my experience, no one teaches effectively and consciously the component of any project that is the secret missing piece.
I was attempting to teach that piece this past Sunday, because it’s been missing for me, and it’s been missing for my students.
There was one guy, Maxwell Maltz, who tried to do it, but, alas, one only hears what one already knows… I read his book and read and “practiced” the exercises he and his followers developed, to no success.
Every person who is part of the Psycho-Cybernetics society, or who succeeded with Psycho-Cybernetics, employed the Mental Representation method to succeed. I misunderstood the whole teaching.
There are two ways to live life:
- to have a destination, a goal, and spend the life either achieving or missing the goal, but not being happy
- to have a clear picture of the finished, accomplished life, and live “into” it.
The second way is what’s missing. It is the closest to what one could call “successful living”. 1
I am sure you have no idea how that is done. I am beginning to see…
Goal driven life
What are the shortcomings of the goal driven life? One shortcoming is that it gives you the location of the goal. Every step of the way, towards the goal, your experience of life is “this isn’t it” the prescription for misery.
And another shortcoming is that you can bumble along the way, lose your focus, because the goal is so far away, and you have no pointers of how to get there.
Mental Representation driven life
What is the benefit of having a clear, three dimensional picture with you in it, of the end result, the perfection?
That it can be tweaked and you see the gap between what you do, and what would cause the result, between who you are being, and what would cause the result, because you and the picture are merged, like a bubble you carry around yourself.
The second way allows you to increase your skills to get closer and closer to what you have envisioned, who you have envisioned yourself to be.
The secret is to live inside that mental representation and tweak yourself to match the perfection, tiny bit by tiny bit.
Of course you can have a mental representation for running a marathon, eating in a way that makes you physically the best you can be, lifting weights, or writing a book.
And you’ll do your life to bring it about, in its imagined perfection.
When I go back to Kathy Kolbe and her for conative strengths, my hunch is that the fourth, the Implementation, contains the energy you need to create Mental Representations and follow suit.
I am short there… The funny thing is that as an architect, that was probably the most needed “conative” activity. Maybe this is why I quit architecture, because I don’t have a lot of that energy.
I can do it, but I am resistant to it… let me say it differently: I have been resistant to it.
Because I see the value of it, I am interested in becoming masterful at it.
I have had enough of being a bumbling idiot.
So, how do you learn to create a Mental Representation and use it to guide yourself to success?
The book, Peak, tells the story of how Benjamin Franklin taught himself to write well using Mental Representation.
He liked how the British magazine’s articles were written, so he used those as his Mental Representation of perfection. Of how an article should be built, constructed, written, including the use of interesting words that he understood but never used.
Through painstaking process he successfully used his Mental representation to develop the capacity to write well… his books are still read after centuries.
Most results you desire need you to have skills you don’t now have… attempting big results on your current skill level is like thinking that Bill Gates could have founded Microsoft on a coding skill level of a beginner.
Knowledge is highly overrated
People think that they can buy a course that promise them to become a millionaire, and can become a millionaire through the knowledge of the book.
Education in this day and age is suggesting that knowledge is enough. But the death rate caused by doctors proves that it’s ineffective.
Doctors are taught knowledge, and that makes them dangerous: because doctors need to develop skills, but they don’t know how. So they do the best they can… and it’s not enough.
We live in a seriously unskilled society, where skill building is not even talked about.
And no amount of doing will make up for lack of skills…
Mental Representation is the core of skill building and the core of a life well lived.
Read the book Peak, the new science of expertise. It says it so much better that I can at this stage.
I have the pdf and the kindle version in my paid subscribers area.
You’ll find the missing piece of the puzzle… that if you pursue, your life can become a whole lot better, maybe even wonderful.
PS: Tai is quite successful. I think he is unconsciously competent in having Mental Representation of what he is going for.
He learned skills through osmosis… meaning that he learned the Mental Image of what successful people do and how they do it, because of his method of learning: mentors.
Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com) read the book Made in America by Sam Walton (Walmart) a hundred times to build his Mental Representation of a multi billion dollar company. I’ve read the book myself, and I can see how he did it. The book is like a blueprint. Few people built consciously, with a precise Mental Representation, like Sam Walton.
Same with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Jordan. Both worked with Mental Representation. Grew into the image they invented for themselves.
Learn the skill, read the book. Don’t be left in the dust, clueless.