Steve Jobs is noted for saying, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
The quote, while falling short on specifics, unwittingly provides actionable steps that can be learned and improved upon. They include trusting in something other than just your gut, destiny, life, karma, or whatever.
In this article, I’m going to outline other ways to identify where that lightning will strike and how to pre-emptively move directly under the strike, with your bottle perfectly positioned, to maximize your potential at capturing whatever light adds value to your dreams.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
We experience the world through our five basic senses of taste, touch, sight, smell, and sound. We develop an understanding of ourselves through our past experiences. But very often, those understandings are built upon incorrect information or interpretations and as a result, our actions and understandings can be flawed. For example, a young, thin girl continually told she’s fat may grow up thinking she’s fat, even though she’s thin.
Introducing Neuro-Creative Programming (NCP)
In capturing lightning, we look externally at our experiences and we actively use them as a source for all of the information necessary to build our ideas. NLP may be considered inward-focused, examining our intra and inter-personal relationships and how the feelings/emotions we assign to our experiences place them in either a positive or negative light.
NCP, on the other hand, has an outward focus which typically assigns a less-direct emotion to an experience. It uses the same senses as NLP but in different ways. NCP looks at what we notice that is outside of our norm – the anomaly – whether detected visually, auditorily, or through touch, taste, or smell.
Prospecting for lightning?
Naturally, it’s best when processes such as NCP (or any process) are learned early in life, which is why it’s easier for babies to learn two or even three languages when they’re born into a multi-lingual household compared to an adult struggling with language tapes before a vacation. That having been stated, it’s still never too late to start because NCP helps us instinctively notice what we would typically filter out of our experiences.
These steps work in unison, producing actions, insights, a high mindset and understandings that support the other processes.
The first step is Active Awareness (AA), the process of intake, which feeds the raw materials of our experiences to the second part of the process, called Experimental Curiosity (EC). EC is the process of examining those raw materials, prompting a return to the memories captured during AA as more information is needed for greater understanding.
Connected Assemblance (CA) is the third process step which involves taking those raw materials and the answers gathered through the EC process and producing output that translates to action or greater understanding.
The output is continually funneled back into steps one and two, and this series of steps is performed as long as the mind remains curious. Think of it as a game like Sudoku for the innovative mind.
1. Active Awareness (AA)
As a Life Coach, I teach that all our experiences of the world occur through our five basic senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. These are the main ways we take in raw materials for the development of any new ideas outside of the mental creation process performed through our imagination. Being Actively Aware means ensuring that we use our most finely honed senses to see, hear, smell, etc., beyond what others would notice.
It means that in any situation we enter, we remain sensorially stimulated and search for and question the anomalies we may detect. This is important because no idea has ever originated from the absence of either the raw materials for an idea or the process of thought.
Consider now that the things we detect through our senses represent opportunities to learn something new that may or may not add value today or tomorrow.
As we travel through our experiences, our brain automatically filters the information it deems unnecessary. It does this as one of a number of efficiency strategies our brain employs. It does this because with the brain consumes more than 25 percent of the energy created by the human body, would get completely overloaded with inputs it couldn’t possibly process, if nothing existed to filter out the vast percentage of what lies within our experiences.
One example of an efficiency strategy is peripheral vision, where we can only see with clarity what we are directly looking at and everything else becomes less clear as we go further from that point of maximum clarity. The brain does this because it would take too much processing power, and thus energy, to bring everything into focus.
The noise within our experiences, once we are familiar with the sounds, becomes white noise in the room, and the smells that may be smacking us in the face are quickly lost to the task at hand. Our brains make the decisions for us on what’s important and not important. But for people trying to capture lightning in a bottle, that evolution towards efficiency disables the process of collecting raw materials. This is a major obstacle to capturing lightning.
When a person is successful at becoming more curious about their experiences, they can detect anomalies or things that are not normal to what they know. These anomalies, for the curious and innovative mind, are what get attention and consideration.
When anomalies are noticed, innovators will often take note of the form, function, operation, and action that might otherwise go unnoticed. These are the observations that lead to the formation of dots waiting to be connected. Just imagine the potential for revolutionary new ideas lost when the right dots aren’t connected!
We don’t often get a second chance to ask questions about an experience. This means we may never be able to understand a significant experience’s operations and make new and/or create stronger neural connections in the hippocampus, where the brain processes short-term memory. This means it won’t be moved into the cerebral cortex, where our long-term memories are believed to reside.
The law of correspondence states, “Nothing comes from nothing.” Without the identification and potential rumination-focused thought on what we consider an anomaly, we miss out on potential data points that could one day become something – a dot – a lightning bolt worth connecting.
2. Experimental Curiosity (EC)
Experimental curiosity is the next step in the process of catching lightning, and it means being curious and experimenting with your newfound observations and anomalies.
Within the training of NLP, a key technique to increasing your personal connection with a person involves building rapport between you and the person you are trying to connect with. One aspect of that process includes subtly imitating the person; mirroring their verbal and non-verbal actions, their tone of voice, volume, body language, etc. When performed effectively, this can help the person become more comfortable with you.
With NCP, one of the most effective ways of increasing your ability to search for and question the anomalies that are definitely part of your experiences was captured by the nineteenth-century writer and poet Rudyard Kipling in one of his most famous poems.
“I Keep Six Honest Serving Men” [i]
I KEEP six honest serving men (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea, I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me, I give them all a rest.
I let them rest from nine till five, for I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea, for they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views; I know a person small—
She keeps ten million serving men, who get no rest at all!
She sends them abroad on her own affairs, from the second she opens her eyes—
One million Hows, two million Wheres, and seven million Whys!
How to think differently?
Kipling’s poem highlights the importance of the questions we ask ourselves about the things we experience, and how it’s best to truly capitalize on the possibilities that may be gleaned from these experiences.
One way to do this is to gather all of your honest serving men, and smoke some THC. It’s even better if you can frame the process around the Dr. Seuss short story Oh, the Places You’ll Go![ii] The next step is to go.
Recall the places you’ve always wanted to go and the ideas you may have always wanted to develop and take your serving men with you to monitor your experiences with a new mission. For many, the use of THC enables the extrapolation of observations into details that can promote a greater understanding of what’s been observed. And by making it a habit, or even a ritual, to find a quiet space to sit and just “ideate,” we can work with our recalled memories and combine them with fantasies of what may be possible. That’s when you begin to see the first flashes of light in the sky.
3. Connected Assemblance (CA)
Connected Assemblance is the last part of the discovery process that culminates in an idea because it becomes evident when everything is pulled together. With Connected Assemblance, the ideator takes the long view in recognizing the Idea of correspondence in that nothing comes from nothing. As it is the rule governing all things, something must exist before an idea or innovation can emerge. And that something comes in the form of one or two needs, either to ‘minimize a pain’ or ‘maximize an opportunity’.
Minimizing a pain
Man’s increased consciousness over our millennia led to new ways of dealing with pain, one that morphed from the fight or flight response of the animal mind to one of observation leading to action which is the hallmark of homo-sapiens. During the Neolithic period of 5500 years ago, man was first confronted by climate change, and experienced its harsh impact on the early farms that were used as the bread baskets for the development of the first civilizations. Prior to the 100-year drought, growing crops was as simple as tossing seeds on the ground and letting the rain do its work. The idea of creating irrigation channels to run water onto the failing fields would not have emerged in the absence of the drought that brought famine and strife but hunting and gathering no longer existed as an option for the early villages whose populations were growing rapidly. They needed a solution to the increasingly unpredictable weather, or civilization might have failed before really getting started. In other words, they had a need to minimize pain. The solution of irrigation most likely emerged as a result of the observation of what occurs when one steps into the mud on a river bank and water fills the hole. Thus emerged the recognition that by cutting ruts into the land, the waters could be channelled to irrigate the fields. And thus the need to minimize risk was discovered which led to the maximization of an opportunity e.g. large-scale farming.
Maximizing an opportunity
If Steve Jobs knew nothing about Moore’s law, “the number of transistors in an integrated circuit (IC) doubles about every two years,” he may have never considered the opportunities that would someday soon be available. He may have never developed the idea for the iPod, iPad, and of course, the iPhone. He was able to connect the dots because he both projected into the future that would be, based on his observations of what was and the unconscious content of what could be.
But to address the last aspect of Job’s statement, “You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever,” there is an answer that we can harness here as well if we are open to exploring other possibilities outside of our norm.
We often dismiss the possibilities outside our conscious and logical thoughts of what we can see, hear, etc. In the new levels of awareness, however, being ushered in through our increasing understanding of what it means to live within the quantum realm, we should open our minds and not immediately discount possibilities within the alternative realities. This also means that we have to go deep into our Intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence to know ourselves and others.
Anthony Peake, the author of The Daemon: A Guide to Your Extraordinary Secret Self[iii], reintroduces an idea that has existed throughout many cultures and lands around the world since the days of the ancients. It was called by many names, ‘the Daemon in ancient Greece’, ‘the biombo to the Kalabari people of West Africa’, and ‘Ka to ancient Egyptians’. Peake suggests that these are entities operating within and alongside us, like guiding spirit that stays with us throughout our life’s journey.
If you can align with the idea of “everything, everywhere, all at once,” then your Daemon, according to Peake, could have already experienced that particular reality during a prior existence. It therefore could now be providing you with valuable information necessary to navigate successfully through a situation it knows you will experience.
After developing an understanding of the logic he expressed, I consciously began to pay closer attention to those signals I would typically dismiss. That led to working to extract even more meaning from my experiences, with a great deal of success.
Cannabis played an essential role in that process.
The THC Effect
In entering into a state of mind conducive to creating what Carl Jung ( “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” by Carl Jung, James Cameron Stewart) [iv]referred to as the “union of the conscious with the unconscious contents,” this is where I believe cannabis can assist in the journey. Whether we are speaking of THC or magic mushrooms, we are talking about medicinal plant-based medicines that have psychotropic effects; fungi that give you the feeling that you are high. When this happens, neural connections are created and fire 30 percent more actively between the different regions of the brain as compared to the non-user. This enables the exchange of information in ways that would be incomprehensible to the non-user as well.
Steve Jobs was well aware of the power of both cannabis and LSD, the synthesized chemical version of psilocybin, or magic mushrooms. Jobs used both recreationally, as well as tools to aid in his process of ideation, stating that “He said that taking LSD was one of the two or three most important things he’d ever done.” This was according to a Time article “Steve Jobs Had LSD. We Have the iPhone” by Maia Szalavitz, dated Oct. 06, 2011. [v]
With the recent spate of legalization occurring across the USA, I’m only now beginning to understand just how far cannabis was driven underground due to its Schedule 1 federal designation which is assigned to substances deemed to have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”. As I speak to more and more people about their experiences with it, it’s not all that surprising when they tell me on average, that they’ve had minimal contact with weed in the past. Maybe they tried once or twice back in college but for the most part, they had not had too much experience with the herb.
Most tell stories of taking it without knowing, and only learning after they had moved into a very uncomfortable number of hours of increased heart rate and paranoia. Not the way to experience cannabis for the first – or anytime – as I believe the positives far outweigh the negatives. This type of negative experience can have a long-lasting impact on someone’s perception of cannabis.
Cannabis has played a role in my life for over 40 years, since high school, so I could not imagine its absence from my experiences. My usage would increase or decrease, depending upon circumstances, but my best moments of ideation were obtained through the union of THC and focus.
My experience with the Daemon
A session of focused ideation will often end with more questions being raised than answers. But without fail, my Daemon – intention, or whatever you want to call it – will always provide the answers that I can clearly identify, especially when ideating with THC.
The answers may appear as direct understandings of the observed. Or sometimes through a series of seemingly disconnected actions or causes. But these sessions always yield the exact answers to the questions raised or challenges experienced.
Is it because I was more aware of the questions and therefore, automatically predisposed to see what would have otherwise gone unseen? Perhaps. But the rapid identification of the answers while not having begun the search would suggest that a hand is playing a role in the discovery. Call it the Daemon, premonition, or intuition, the end result is the closure to an open question and an advancement one step further towards building whatever I desire to create.
I once heard it spoken that a great idea will travel like the wind, presenting itself to many people, but the ones who act are the ones who benefit from the message. That would imply that I, you, or anyone else could have created the iPod, iPhone, and all of the technologies that have followed.
But that’s not true, with the reason being that nothing comes from nothing. Only Steve Jobs had his experiences. But we all have had our own individual sets of experiences, and only from those experiences could we create what we envision.
With this in mind, and your new understanding of how to capture and strengthen even more experiences through the processes of Active Awareness, Experiential Curiosity, and Connected Assemblance, you are now empowered to move to the last phase of the process: knowing where lightning is most likely to strike.
Get Your Bottle Ready
There are many different ways in which lightning can strike, but this article is focused on the discovery of the next level of technology. Daniel Burris, an American technology futurist and business adviser, suggests that there are Hard Trends taking place right now that will play out in the future. He cited this in is March 2015 article[vi] “25-game-changing-hard-trends-that-will-create-disruption-and-opportunity” with three of these listed below and occurring now.
- Increased growth use of semiautonomous tech, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML).
- Increasing movement of processes into the cloud, thus enabling every type of service as a service (XaaS).
- The increasing use of wearable techs, such as smartwatches and VR headsets.
These are all technological trends that are playing out today, which Burris referred to as Hard Trends, a term he coined to denote the fact that their evolution in development and use will absolutely happen because nothing comes from nothing.
It all sounds just like the prognostication of Moore’s law, and how Jobs and many others were able to use that awareness in the form of mental alchemy to envision something new.
What trends are playing out in your specific space? What challenges can you see as they relate to pain and opportunity? What do you need to learn to help you in directing how things will play out?
Ultimately capturing lightning in a bottle involves:
- Identifying just the right mix of understanding and awareness that relate to
- A need or perceived opportunity and
- The timing of observations and the queries of the 5 honest serving men
These are three of the major factors determining when and where the right conditions will come together in the universe, the dots waiting to be connected. And just like a meteorologist using Doppler technology can tell you directly on an app when a lightning storm is approaching, from what direction, and how intense, it’s also possible for you to individually look at the trends that are playing out. You can identify how your experiences of the operations, forms, and functions of what you’ve experienced can be applied to create the life you desire and in whatever form lightning may appear in your visions.
And this is how you can capture lightning in a bottle.
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