What’s Your Thinking Style?

When is addiction good and when is it bad?

Can something like addiction ever be considered good these days when so much attention is focused on how bad it is for us, and not just for us but for others too?

There are countless articles, books, blog posts and more written about the negative side of addiction, of bad habits, and how to break such things, change, re-wire our brains, fix our thinking and what it makes us do… it’s almost as though we’re addicted to discussing addiction, to seeing it as a bad thing and trying to cure it as quickly and as thoroughly as possible.

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“As long as we continue to live as if we are what we do, what we have, and what other people think about us, we will remain filled with judgments, opinions, evaluations, and condemnations. We will remain addicted to putting people and things in their “right” place.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen

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There is even such a term as having an addictive personality. I’m never sure when people say that about themselves if they mean that their personality is addictive for others or if their personality gets easily addicted. I know it’s supposed to mean the latter, but… my mind often wanders into a wondering about the other side of things.

So it both surprised and intrigued me when I read an article in Wired magazine singing the praises of a man whose job it is to help companies get people addicted to their products. This is actually the second article which I have come across in that magazine (in a previous issue) about this subject. Of using the addictive tendencies of humans to get them hooked on what you’re selling and keep them coming back for more and more and more.

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The article is – Under The Influence – in this month’s UK edition of Wired (with the Netflix guy on the cover), and it comes with a chart outlining Nir Eyal’s technique (which is considered to be highly successful).

Curious to know how I’m being manipulated (and perhaps how to avoid such a thing) rather than to know how to manipulate for my business or personal benefit (I’d rather not do things that way), I started following the graph, but my mind wandered off after reading #1 – Trigger.

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Wired-graph

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I wanted to read more, but my mind refused to come back and concentrate.

If I’m sitting at home on a Sunday afternoon (like now, today), feeling lonely and wondering if everyone else had a better weekend (an unlikely feeling and wondering for me, at least not in that way or those terms), and my phone buzzes (it shouldn’t as the buzz is turned off) with a… blah blah blah (my mind wandering off)…

The process starts with a cue or a stimulus. That’s an external trigger. It’s most effective if it arrives when the target (that’s us, me or you… is it them too?) is feeling some kind of discomfort [which Eyal calls an internal trigger], from which it can promise relief… blah blah blah (wandering off again… only this time for good or bad or both or neither).

I suppose my mind wandered off because it felt a certain type of discomfort reading this graph. It didn’t like the attitude of those in the know towards those who were… the rest of us. It glistened with droplets of smartest guy in the room (on the planet) syndrome – which is a trigger for me that something is wrong with the picture being presented.

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ifyoutalkedtopeople - hugh macleodIf you talked to people by Hugh MacLeod (gapingvoid)

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When that happens, when I feel that kind of discomfort, a trigger is pressed inside or outside or both, sometimes I’ll explore it and sometimes I’ll move on and may come back to it later or not. Usually I don’t have to go back to it because I’ll find it elsewhere in my mind wandering travels.

Like in the results of a (for fun and entertainment purposes) test which I took online – What Kind of Thinker are You? via Buzzfeed

According to this test, this is my thinking style…

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wandering mind

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The part of this result which synchronised with the Wired article was when I pressed play on the video explanation which went with it.

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Do You Have a Wandering Mind?

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Normally I would not have bothered with the video (nothing to do with videos, everything to do with my thinking style), however… it’s Sunday afternoon… so why not have a look-see-listen-hear-here. I liked the imagery, it was creative, but the narrative… seemed to be a bit… unaware of what it was narrating, or rather to whom it was speaking or who it was speaking about. If you’re speaking this way to a wandering style of thinker, you’re going to lose them before you’ve even got started. Our minds can’t sit still that long even when we want them to because you’re in theory describing us to ourselves.

Just saying, is all…

I have to admit that I paused before taking this test, even though it is just for amusement, to consider whether I really wanted such a thing to tell me what kind of thinker I am, even though I can take it or leave it and already know what my thinking style is because it’s my style of thinking and I use it every day.

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“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen

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That pause, that consideration – that’s part of my thinking style. I am a wanderer of and in thought, but it is a wandering that is conscious rather than unconscious. It’s unconscious and subconscious too, but not just that. It wanders everywhere and tries to be conscious as often as it can, but it also knows the value of the unconsciousness and subconsciousness of its wandering.

And the same applies to my addictions, of which I have quite a few. They’re done with awareness that I am doing them, as well as a certain awareness of how they affect others. I keep them in check to a degree in that respect, but I need to respect the purpose they serve in my life too. Some of them have taught me far more than I would have learned had I avoided them, controlled them until I’d eradicated them, and so on.

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“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen

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I have learned to be aware or beware of those who tell you that what you do, whatever it is, is bad for you. I will take on board their view, assess it, explore it, wander and wonder about it, but not view it as the know-it-all of things which concern me.

In our own lives we are the smartest guy in the room. As for in the lives of others – they are the smartest guy in that room.

And when we meet others…

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when you meet a new person - buzzfeedvia What Kind of Thinker are You?

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Most of the above and a bunch of other things not included. The answer I gave was – Ask a bunch of Questions – because that’s what I do most often, more than anything else.

Just some thoughts shared while on my wondering wanders…

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