Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sometimes it's best to stop thinking.

How - and why - to stop thinking

Sometimes the smartest thing you can do is to stop thinking. Your conscious brain does not have all the answers. Inventors, programmers, scientists, architects and many others know this.
I have a friend in Los Angeles, Jim George, who understands this in a big way. He has an unusual combination of skills: he's a talented animator (Disney, etc.) who nearly a decade ago shifted gears to work one on one with people who wanted more clarity and focus in their lives. Jim has a diverse clientele - movie execs to scientists to students - and some remarkable success stories.
At night, Jim still draws. He recently pulled the two parts of his day together and created a self-help book called Time to Make It Stop: The How of Now.
The book is a tour de force of creativity, which is why I'm telling you about it.
While many of us are increasingly obsessed with the changes technology makes possible, Jim demonstrates here the changes you can make possible by not thinking. Personally, most of my best ideas come to me when I "do nothing."
The challenge, of course, is that it can be extremely difficult to stop thinking. Certain thoughts go round and round in our heads. What if my proposal gets rejected? Is my job at risk? Am I going to get the raise I deserve? Is someone else going to get the raise I deserve?
You might not believe that a book could be an effective tool to help you stop thinking; that was my fear when I first caught wind of this project. I was wrong. Jim transcends any preconceptions you have about a "book."
In many respects, this is more of a video than it is a book, even though nothing actually moves. The pages flow into each other, the artworks and words meld together, and the results are magical.
For example, on some pages, a sentence dissolves into a curving line, that wanders onto the next page, and then another, and eventually becomes an image. Jim explains that, "The gentle guiding of the eye and the mind to read and follow words as they gradually move off the page and into nothingness sets the stage for something to happen beyond the book itself."
This seems like a simple little book, but there's a reason behind every twist and turn.
Jim told me, "I use brief, almost truncated and free-form copy with light cartoons to suggest a break from traditional text and a departure into new territory. This provide a clue that the book won’t be difficult or intellectual but, rather, simple and fun. It creates an immediate sense of relaxation, of open and receptive attention. The form takes the content under the radar of patterned education and into the world of play."
In other words, he's building an ideal learning environment for young and old.
Whether or not you choose to benefit personally from Jim's work, there is much to learn from the manner in which he uses so many different communication approaches.
You could apply a similar approach to any important information you wish to communicate. I don't mean that you magically become a Disney artist, but rather that you use more than one technique to communicate important messages.
Here's a sample of a typical spread:
Bruce Kasanoff is co-author of Smart Customers, Stupid Companies. As Managing Director of Sense of the Future, he helps companies create measurable economic value through customer experience strategies.

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