The Thought Tool – Think. Better.
The purpose of the Thought Tool is to get you where you should be – quicker.
In many situations (relationships, contextual settings, environments with social interaction) we are all exposed to decisions, contradictions and requests. Usually, we are simply not able to respond to requests of information or discussions in time. Due to personal viewpoints, point of references and perspectives, clarity of the original discussion point decreases over time. Having a conversation about a topic a week or so later is less productive than when it first appeared - complexity increases as time passes as it is harder to remember or understand what the core or context of the original situation was, as well as decreasing relevance as conversations that stray from the original point ensue; which all together causes poor communication and understanding between parties.
Top-Layer & Bottom-Layer
Examples of transgression from Top-Layer to Bottom-Layer and vice versa are given in the “Utility & Examples of Application” section below.
The Top-Layer represents an area of high complexity and low relevance – wherein thought clarity is clouded by an additional factor – time. As time progresses, we wander further from the Bottom-Layer.
The Bottom-Layer represents an area of low complexity and high relevance – wherein thought clarity is near perfectly clear and is minimally affected by time. As we focus on issues at hand in the beginning, there is a higher chance of resolution, collaboration and effective communication.
Looking at the graph above, approaching the Top-Layer, the layers become closer to each other and more spread out as it will be much easier to jump to a higher-layer and stray away more from the Bottom-Layer. Approaching the Bottom-Layer, the layers become bigger and more clear with fewer items to “debunk” or manage around. Where as the Top-Layer has many items or points of discussion and strays away from the original context and discussion point, the Bottom-Layer retains few points and contains clarity, answers and solutions, provided the original context is reiterated and understood.
Utility & Examples of Application
As of course this tool will not allow you to remember the core or context of the original situation, however it will allow you to quickly understand at what layer of the current conversation you are on. For example (and there can be… many examples): You receive a vague email from a co-worker, in which you do not reply because you spend time thinking about what your co-worker had meant to say in the email, a whole day passes as you think, by that time your co-worker may have already forgotten what he or she wrote about in the email. By the time you or your co-worker mention the original email, you are enveloped in your thoughts and he or she is enveloped in theirs (perhaps why you didn’t respond, or the urgency of the email, etc). This applies for any communicatory setting in any context. Once interacting after a days worth of confusion, the discussion regarding the email will be substantially longer than if interacting a few minutes after the said e-mail.
At the basic level, the Thought Tool is a way for you to cut through “b/s” or non-productive conversations, meetings, etc – it answers these questions: “what are you talking about?” – “is this going anywhere?” and, “what is the real conversation we should be having?”. Another example would be a shopping experience, a person walks into a store and says to him/herself, “these are nice sun-glasses they are really expensive, and the brand is very prestigious… but i don’t have enough money, well I can buy it on my credit card and I’ll look cool,” etc… there can be many thoughts in the consumers mind going on, but at the core, subconsciously the consumer may think at one point, “do i really need these sunglasses? am I going to feel that much better after I buy them?” – and by that time the consumer has already walked out with the purchased sunglasses. In this example, analysis of the top-layer (sunglasses are cool and will enhance my perceived image) and bottom-layer (do i really need sunglasses?) was present although not applied. It may be inferred that this type of decision making is prevalent in many people where the Bottom-Layer serves as a guide of truth and the Top-Layer serves as a guide of fallacy or confusion, but of course, fallacy prevails truth in many settings and contexts.
For a business setting, meetings are plagued by Top Layer discussion by employees (or people), who simply like to discuss the Top Layer, do not understand the Bottom-Layer or are lost somewhere in between due to the factor of Time. It may be inferred if the core is quickly stated and looked at, the term, “cut through the bullshit” would be applied. The Thought Tool may be applied to anything, not just conversations but also understanding any type of situation for which there is a lack of knowledge, involvement (at the bottom-layer) or clarity. A final example is the popular “jobs creation” discussion happening across America. To the media and its pundits the term “jobs creation” is equivalent in complexity to the term, “gum production.” Wherein “jobs creation” is seen like an assembly line of factors that supposedly the President, Congress and whomever have control over. Of course this type of approach to the “job market” in the USA is much simpler and quicker than understanding the global approach and evolution of business – this approach provides clouded thought to Americans and viewers of the news. The media portrays the term, “jobs creation” as a Bottom-Layer discussion although it is not at all, it is very much so a Top-Layer discussion. There is no, “jobs-machine” or any other conjured term to provide false clarity to viewers and followers, only involvement, transparency and knowledge will bring understanding and clarity to the “jobs” discussion in America or anywhere else.
In conclusion, it is important to keep communication at the Bottom-Layer or rather the core; the beginning of the situation and all its factors, players and settings. Context changes quickly even when moving from room to room, setting to setting experiencing different context quickly may accelerate movement to the Top-Layer and will increase complexity and decrease relevance making it harder for a productive conversation to occur.
There are only few laser-guided individuals that are able to consistently keep track of and self-guide themselves to the Bottom-Layer but even so, as time passes, many forms of communication may occur and sight of the core is lost. Communication is vital to you and your friends, society, government, nations and worlds, it is very easy to state how you feel about an event or activity but understanding why the activity or event is happening requires internal knowledge of the event and involvement in the Bottom-Layer.
It is easy to have interesting conversations when you have no idea what you’re talking about.
Supporting information: http://newsinfo.nd.edu/news/27476-walking-through-doorways-causes-forgetting-new-research-shows/
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This is the first version of the Thought Tool please provide feedback if you have any! All comments and suggestions that are applied to the next version will be credited to the participants in writing.
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-Kirill Kachinsky, Entrepreneurial Manager – Franklin’s Lab
Rafael Balbi, Entrepreneur – Franklin’s Lab
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