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Repost: How We Make Decisions and Changes

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Decision DiagramsThe book for today, because of a typo was delivered to someone else’s address – twice.  So I have moved that review to another day and thought I would repost this workshop lecture I gave in 2008, as I have used this model about 20 times in 2015 and know that others might also find useful another look. Here Goes!

Early in my years of education, I had a Social Work Professor who taught a whole week of classes on how people make change and decisions in their lives. This teacher had sociology studies, psychological studies, historic studies, and abnormal behavioral science studies all included in her efforts. My classmates and I were to write a 5 page paper summarizing her work and adding our own research and thoughts about how people make decisions and changes in their lives.

I love to write and yet still found myself floundering in figuring out what I was going to say about this subject. I spent 2 pages summarizing all the things I learned in the lecture series and then another 2 pages summarizing my research and still had no thoughts about what to say about my own conclusions.

I started to draw a picture of all the words that were included in the summaries and I noticed that if I gave the words different sizes that a form was taking place. A triangle balanced on point was the first shape. I then took the shape and added another shape of words on top of the widest part of the triangle and a Diamond shape emerged. I had put 2 forms to indicate 2 kinds of processes that are used to make a decision or change… hmmm! Let’s look at those words and forms:

Now I had created two forms which summarized all the information I had learned about change and decision making and put them into a simple step by step format for moving forward. Except that I was missing out on one kind of decision making change process that is either a joy or a problem. I wanted to pass this paper so I needed to figure out how to symbolize the process for little decisions and ideas. First I called it the $10 decision: If you did not need your $10 in your pocket to pay some other bill, then you could jump in and make a spontaneous decision on something you found to enjoy for $10. I decided I would call that the JUMP decision.

The hard part about the JUMP decision is that it is only good for those little choices that you can cover easily. If you don’t have $10 extra and spend the $10 in your pocket in a jump decision it throws all your bigger decision off balance – you lose the point of sharpness of your other decisions. It is the type of decision that ruins the best laid plans, the New Year’s resolution and family budgets in just a split second. It can cause a halt to a whole lifetime of future decisions too.

I have used these three models over the past 40 years of practice and work endeavors. I have used these models to set up budgets and help institutions make change. The only time they fail me is when I throw a JUMP decision into the Triangle or Diamond at the wrong place and throw the whole plan off balance.

The first week of May I went to a workshop on how Institutions make change and progress. Guess What! Though the language/words used were in the context of the institutions needs, after two hours, I came away with the Diamond, the Triangle and the JUMP decision/ change process.

Here is an example of a 17 year old boy working on the Diamond Decision Making Model

  1. Idea – what will I do with the rest of my life or life after High School?
  2. Creating Possibilities:
    I could: become a mechanic
    go to college
    be a Doctor
    become Peter Pan and never grow up
    join the military
    hang out with friends
    drink beer – as soon as I turn 21
    get married
    perform in a rock band
    be an actor
    take a career interest survey
    work at fishing
    become a millionaire
    become a parent
    invent video games
    just be a gamer
    (the possibilities might just be endless)
  3. Researching possibilities
    take a career planning survey
    take an interest survey
    lists your strengths and weaknesses
    ask your friends what you should do
    visualize you in 5 years in 10 years
    how will you pay your way? include health ins./ living expenses/ food/ shelter/ clothing
    I will take a class on how to make decisions
    I will look at trade school and colleges
    Go to the military recruiters but not until the last minute and if that is my choice
  4. Interviewing People
    an important step: will his parents be able to help with college expenses? or help write grants
    will he find his personality is not compatible with his interest – vocation choice vs hobby choice
    can he do a work experience or Internship in that area and see if that is what he likes
    do other people have good ideas about fund raising for this kind of training
    suggestions for training programs
    many business will pay for your education if you prove to be a good employee
    give other suggestions and encouragement for the process
    what have they found to be true in living out their life or career
    information interviews with people living life in the path you would like to take or on a specific job
  5. Sorting and Gleaning the Ideas
    very hard process and often takes some alone time or journal writing time
    very often some little magic will happen at this point in your life
    the answer will just come to you when it is right and many things will just fall into place.
  6. The Decision and the Changes will take place
    Then you start the process and go through the Triangle or Diamond model again to get launched.

This is just one example but just think what might happen if people made a jump decision at 17 and discovered they were now going to be a parent? or they just bought a car they can not make payments on? or they bought a house without figuring out that the promises were not real? (A lot of folks just did this – the current mortgage crisis) Got to watch out for those Jump Decisions!

Shiny Objects

THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS: A Novel ~Elizabeth Gilbert (New York Times Bestselling author of EAT PRAY LOVE)

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

On Facebook, Audible.com offered me a free copy of THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS.   I was delighted because I wanted to read this book even before it was published as I truly relish Gilbert’s writing voice.  The precision and language usage I always find awesome, it transports me, my reading skills improve and I find challenge which pushes me to better analysis and understanding.
I have been reading Gilbert’s stories for a long time, as a friend of mine discovered her cowboy stories in a men’s magazine and he passed them along as he knew I would like her style.   I have not been disappointed.  I am sure I could write 500 words about the writing.  I will say Ms. Stevenson the reader of this audible book was just so skilled also and it allowed me to recover from a small surgery while keeping my eyes closed and my ears attentive.    The book is over 500 pages, and that was a perfect recovery time.

Alma Whittaker was born in Philadelphia on her father’s estate just a few days into the 1800s.  Her father Henry Whittaker began life as a poor man in England who worked in a garden as a tree pruner.  He had a business sense and he learned Botany from the earth and the plants and the skills of others. He was determined to be wealthy and was quite an entrepreneurial fellow.   He found a strict Dutch wife who would have this newly wealthy man who was also a Botanist and together they forged a path into the Age of Enlightenment with determination.  Alma’s father began one of the first Pharmaceutical companies based on plant medicinals.  Their home was a laboratory for guests and wisdom and all the new found science and knowledge.  The education of Alma was rigorous and futuristic.  Alma became a Botanist in her own rights, delving into the norms of evolution and changing minds.

The story reveals all the changing mores of this time period.  The Quaker Movement against slavery and their new schools, the beginning fight for women’s rights, the preparation for the industrial revolution, the rise of public education, the changing religious traditions, and the scientific exploration and explosion of ideas are all explored.  Books were more readily available and more printers established publishing houses.  Because Alma was isolated on her family’s estate, she showed us how the world was changing with each venture forth with fresh vision and appealing analysis.  We are taken to Peru, South Seas islands, and then back to Europe; the end of the story finds Alma about 95 and living in Amsterdam with her Mother’s younger brother.  An historic saga, or an adventure story I am not sure if I need to classify this work as anything more than a great reminder of history and discovery.  THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS was a marvelous read and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes exquisite writing and complete story telling with lots of details.

This novel was the perfect way to start a year of reading and reviewing.  The history provided the historic back story to 4 more books on my review list. I was better prepared to read these other stories and understand the context of the shared time periods and appreciate what the 19th Century provided to the global evolution of human kind, opened the door to medical breakthroughs and paved the technological outreach of today.   The format of an audible book was perfect for me to use while driving or healing, although I was frustrated with not being able to go back and make notes, underline, and find a beginning quote for this review. I hope all of my daughters will read this book and maybe I can persuade one of my book groups; the length makes it prohibitive.

Thank you to Audible.com  for sharing this book with me.  THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS is an excellent read.

The New Men
Margaret Fuller
The Idea Factory

Telling of my Cancer

Monday, October 24th, 2011


On Deliberately Receiving I recently read this post by Melody.   I thought it was one of the best statements about how we do or do not draw illness to ourselves – it was so invigorating to me and affirming of my health journey, I wrote an entire blog post in the comments section.

I would invite you to read Melody’s post, she shares very clearly.

Then I copied my comment and placed it here for you to read – it is a re- telling of my story and I learned a great deal from writing it and reading the post and Melody’s reply.

I was born with a large exterior cancerous tumor connected to my chest. I had to be delivered C-Section because of the tumor, but the only local hospital would not do C-Sections because they were Catholic and that would interfere with the birth process. My mother’s OBGYN took her to his offices and performed the C-Section and then another Pediatrician removed my tumor. Risking their careers. My Mother was moved to the hospital for 7 days of surgery recovery and I was taken home with the OBGYN for 7 days of care by his wife.

My body keeps manifesting these cysts which are full of toxins from the environment – including laundry soap residuals – which when they become too painful to endure any longer – Drs find them to be pre-cancerous and I have another surgery. My ovaries were covered with cancerous cysts when I had my Hysterectomy, the cysts were full of environmental toxins) ….which gave me 15 years of the most horrendous menopause symptoms one cannot even imagine. It was Kind of a gift…as I had to pull out of the work force to care for myself, my special needs child and finally my dying mother. I was determined to heal myself and live.

What I found was if I stayed home in my organic, healthy, air filtered environment – I did not have headaches and I did not grow more of these cysts. I do not eat cheese because of what my body tells me is in it and how much resistance it has to this stuff. I do not eat other people’s cooking (usually) I have learned how to hear the most minor transmissions from my body you can imagine.

But now I want to go outside and be with people more…not just read my life away…so I started by blogging to get some conversation going. On Biking Architect, I often write about how people make it hard for the environment and me to stay healthy. I put tea tree oil and bees wax in my nose and breathe through my nose so that I can go walking every day. I am working on going to choir practice once a week and singing about Peace.. I go to 2 book groups a month to be with people (and I eat their food – carefully) I only purchase food from my CSA and organic groceries. I am changing my vibrations so that I can go to San Francisco for Thanksgiving and not come home with massively swollen legs and joints and not have to stay in my daughter’s apt. all the time – while my family goes running and hiking and exploring. I am working on manifesting enough money to pay for this adventure; I would so like to be able to purchase some new clothing.

I think my weight is due to my body protecting me from the toxins in the environment.
And I still feel best about myself and happy and healthy when I stay home in my energy efficient healthy environment.

I am working on manifesting more friends to my blogs – Patricias Wisdom and Facebook and twitter….and I am working hard at figuring out technical stuff so that Wise Ears will use my talents towards making money…
I feel most powerful in my own healthy space and most relaxed and positive…but wow! can it be a private joy that I would like to share more.

Now I think this is a fabulous post – and Melody truly one of your best – and I hope it will stop people acting like my cancer and illnesses – and fat – are catching and a sign of my stupidity and dumbness – I am powerful beyond their imaginations and made even more powerful by learning and learning all this good stuff found here… …all the name-calling by the “others” just wears me down. Being denied health insurance hurts my feelings and wears me down baby steps, baby steps…. good words found here/Thank you.

Thank you Melody

Melody’s reply was just right.

So here is my post for today – it is revealing, but it is just exactly what I wanted to say.

I think my reading and commenting on posts is one of my most important aspects of my daily living.

Do you ever write whole posts in the comments section?  Have you ever just copied and pasted your comment to make a post on your blog?

I need more comments on my blog posts and would invite you to share your ideas with me.

If you like what you read here you may wish to subscribe by RSS or email.

I invite you to read this post too:  I do not know anything different

Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for YOU ~Jerome Groopman, MD and Pamela Hartzband,MD

Monday, October 3rd, 2011
Your Medical Mind

Your Medical Mind

What we can learn about Healthcare in the USA is a very personal and important project.  YOUR MEDICAL MIND is another resource in developing more wisdom in making medical systems work for you and yours.

As I was beginning the book, I began thinking that I should tell TLC book tours that I could not give this a positive review because it seemed like the same old, same old information just told from a doctor’s point of view.  Then I decided that there are enough people in the traditional mode with healthcare provided by their employer that there would be a benefit in reading the whole book, and I could speak to that benefit.

Favorite quote:
“Sir William Osler:…when trying to unravel a complex medical diagnosis, you should listen carefully to the patient, because he is telling you the answer.”

I would openly like to say that the people who might benefit most from this book are Physicians as they transition into a world that is making the patient totally responsible for recovery and healing.  After being an advocate for several patients along the way – there are not as many doctors who understand the patients as television would indicate.   Dr. Marcus Welby was truly a fictional character.

My most important takeaways from this book:

  • It was easy to read and a pleasurable read, so the information and message is user friendly
  • The major ways that patients present to the doctor was significant in the details – they used terms like minimalistic approach to maximalistic approaches; believers and doubters; naturalism or technology orientations.  The examples were poignant and believable.
  • How to understand the statistics that a patient is given and how to find more detail about those statistics on the Internet – translators that can assist the patient in finding autonomy within their own healing needs and style.  Tools for making better decisions.
  • The authors had a strong bias against the insurance companies having the largest decision making role.
  • It is important for the patient to learn how to use the internet to assist their outcomes and knowledge base – that excellent communication skills are needed both from the physician and the patient.  This enables the patient to discern what is truly a positive approach to their own healing and recovery.
  • Many people need someone else listening and interpreting for them – an advocate – when the news is something big we often only hear a tiny bit of the diagnosis or recommendation because we emotionally can only absorb so much.  Families need to know and understand what the patient wants for their healing and recovery and how to communicate those decisions.
  • Communication skills and listening skills are getting more limited for all people involved in the medical problem being solved.

The major problem I had with the authors was that they also ignore people who have no medical insurance.  Yes! They casually mention that the number of people who use alternative healing measures is growing but that information is treated as an addendum to traditional medical services.  For many people alternative or ancient medical practices or experiences are all they use.   As insurance companies drop more and more individuals for financial reasons or non-compliant to diagnosis instances, more and more people are working on their own DIY healthcare systems.   I think the book was written before e-patient Dave arrived at the TED lectures.

The book is a valuable resource.   It is helpful in finding a physician one can work with and how to handle the tough decisions from several angles.  It could help you make changes that could add more health and time to your life.   Reading Your Medical Mind is a good healthcare decision.
Of the styles of healthcare listed here, which is you style and it is the best one for you: minimalistic, maximalistic, believer, doubter, natural or technically in the forefront?  (This question works even if your government pays for your healthcare)   Do you know how to use the Internet to read the statistics and probability or discover new procedures and how to rate them?

I received a copy of the book from TLC book tours and Penguin Press and agreed to review this book.
If you purchase anything from Amazon (except Kindle) from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket

If you liked what you read here you might wish to subscribe by RSS or Email.  You might also wish to explore my other sites:  Biking Architect or Wise Ears.

Related Reading:
Healthcare of the DIY Kind
Joy Medicine
Eat to Live
Female Brain Gone Insane