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  • GTD's 50,000 ft. is simply universal?

    (Picking up with miketsimpson's thread on Purpose/Principals)

    For what it's worth, I have become convinced that top-level planning is mostly an exercise in applying universally desired advantages. At first glance, people seem extremely varied, however, I think if we follow the logic trail, it could be that most of us share a handful of common, essential drivers. A personal mission statement usually expresses core values as conceptual advantages to be realized (dos & don'ts / likes & dislikes, all honored), which just looks greatly universal to me.

    Now, at the next level down, the vision level, we start to plug-in specific, personalized definitions & goals, which are real-life, measurable manifestations of the top-level mission concepts, right? Of course, this is where ten different people, using the exact same 'universal' mission concepts, would likely devise wildly different goals/ life maps, yet conceptually be the same!? For instance, we all want to be loved, yet our visions of what that looks like will vary.

    Imagine what a fantastic head start it would be if we could define, distill down to, a starting set of common values that are largely true for almost everyone- these could be a baseline, universal set of mission concepts. The concepts could then serve as prompts to get us started, and even be used as metrics/ self-questions to guide us! (Is that crazy, or what!?!)

    I think we would need to agree upon a few guiding principles, like that a mission must reflect being a 'decent, responsible human being', etc... and would need to well encompass most facets of living a full, if not extraordinary, life- on a conceptual basis. Also, our model would need to have some insightful strategies/perspectives built right in, so we can gain advantage in a chaotic world (the strategies are universal too!?).

    As for myself, I settled onto seeking & living 'a well-managed life' as the primary filter as well as 'living life on my own terms, fully living-out my own intentions', as my most motivating benefit- my driving force (again, these look like universal desires to me!!).

    It could be fun for anyone inclined to share mission concepts they feel should be considered for 'universal' distinction. Maybe the magic model could be constructed right here on-the-spot! Attached, I offer-up my own mission concepts as examples of what I feel are universal desires (my own '12-step' program so to speak) that _maybe?_ just about anyone could use to plug-in their own vision/definitions (the whats, whys, hows, whens, tools, rules/filters, measures, step-targets) & specific goals [my vision/goals are not shown]. Is there any merit in this idea, or am I just a nut? .

    Sincerely,

    Bob Steele
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Many do not utilize 50,000 ft. as a tool, that is my impression from lurking this site over the years. Many seem murky about how to begin applying it, or why it even matters- the idea of highest level planning just seems like philosophical blah, blah to many people (as many as 2/3s of GTDers do not employ 50K meaningfully... just a guess).

    A universal model would make it easy to get started... then the vision & other horizon's would just unfold naturally! This creates tremendous alignment & focus of efforts- so our limited capacity to produce could actually yield progress toward 'getting to where we are going'. There is just so much 'shuffling of the feet' without a clear path to the top-level outcomes desired.

    50K is mean to be predictive... is the telling of our own future. Having this beacon, and a clear path, makes us believe it is possible, not just a nice 'pie in the sky idea'. How can we make 50K an easier tool to use?- more plug-n-play?

    bcmeyers, thanks you for the encouragement! I looked up Maslow's model, very interesting stuff- and, I think his ideas actually add to the argument for a universal starting mission!- he seemed to categorize us, universally, pretty well.

    Comment


    • #3
      I read a book years ago by Jack Addington that was very helpful in defining the higher levels. Can't think of the name, will edit if I do but I have a number of quotes from it I saved out. Here are a few:

      There is no limit set by Infinite Mind; the individual sets his own limits.

      Each one has the responsibility of choosing his own destination.

      Every time you make a choice you set in motion the Power of the Universe.

      Each thought is a seed planted in the creative medium of life.

      Don't let others make your choices.

      Your choices shape your goals.

      Beware of negative choices; they use the same mental principles as your affirmative choices.

      Be careful what you choose for yourself; it will become your experience.

      If you claim it, you accept it in mind.

      If you disclaim it, you repudiate your right to it.

      Life will take you at your own evaluation.

      Goal Setting
      1. Does it exist?
      2. Does it exist for me?
      3. Is it right for me?
      4. Can I accept it?

      It is a law of mind that that which you can conceive of, believe in and confidently expect must become your experience.

      Any system that enables you to mentally release your goals to the creative process of life will aid you in achieving them.

      For me GTD is the system that helps me achieve my life purpose.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Steele View Post
        Many do not utilize 50,000 ft. as a tool, that is my impression from lurking this site over the years. Many seem murky about how to begin applying it, or why it even matters- the idea of highest level planning just seems like philosophical blah, blah to many people (as many as 2/3s of GTDers do not employ 50K meaningfully... just a guess).
        I've been GTD'ing for maybe 8 years and it's only over the past couple of years that I've started to get any proper understanding of, to be honest, anything over 20,000ft. My wife bought me a copy of MIAW which helped a lot. Right now my 50,000ft list is pretty much blank- and this is progress. There's no point having something there if it isn't meaningful!

        I can't help thinking if I'd known about GTD back in my twenties (or even teens) how much I would have grown by now as a person. It seems to take a while of living the process before you really understand the higher levels, well for me anyway. The potential of a young person who knows what his or her true purpose in life is awesome. I'm so going to teach GTD to my kids!

        Comment


        • #5
          Maybe it is like building a bridge. You build from both sides and hopefully meet up in the middle somewhere.

          I think many of us start, almost intuitively, with both the 50k and the 0/10k levels simultaneously as two more or less independent things. We gradually break down the 50k to the 40k level, and simultaneously and independently generalize and group our 10k stuff on the 20k, 30k and 40k levels. And that's where we meet ourselves somewhere - hopefully in harmony.

          I keep up to the 40k level in my app, but only as "headings" (using tags, projects, prefixes, whatever features are available). Other written info (reference type info) about these goals I keep in regular files.

          I have not "formally" connected my 40k and 50k levels. I can tell that they appear to be in full harmony, but they are not clearly linked in a definable fashion. It is more like a spaghetti linkage - everything connects with everything, but I can see that they both fit on one plate and look tasty together. I actually feel no real need to connect them more clearly, but at the lower levels I definitely want to connect the levels, for example see which projects belong to which area or goal etc.

          Comment


          • #6
            Treelike, you have lucky kids. I can only imagine how huge the benefits from starting out young with GTD; talk'n about a gift to last a life time!

            About you not using 50K... you have reminded me that GTD is a tool that serves us, not the other way around, thanks. Much of the benefit/impact really does happen at lower levels first.

            Comment


            • #7
              Folke, that makes perfect sense. If lower level involvements can be back tracked up to higher levels, then almost certainly they would mirror 50k values; how could they not, really? I guess the question then becomes are all core values (50k/ mission) likewise seeing the light of day in our daily actions. It sounds like it does for you, cool!

              I am thinking it may not as easy for many others to work from bottom up. One would need to be exceedingly self-aware... to notice after-the-fact how today's actions & choices relate to their world view, and see how they can be used to help to sort out goals/purpose- leading to a life plan guidance. I'm always amazed by people who are always on-target intuitively, wish it was me! Without a clear plan & visual alignment, I simply become overwhelmed, confused by seeing too many options: frozen.

              Comment


              • #8
                Oogiem,

                Thank you for sharing the great quotes & self-questions about goal setting & purpose.
                1. Does it exist?
                2. Does it exist for me?
                3. Is it right for me?
                4. Can I accept it?

                In my younger years I immensely underestimated how powerful the link is between inner thoughts and outer realities. Now, I see how true this is for us each individually, and for society collectively. There are few coincidences, and little hypocrisy; we live-out what that inner voice whispers, so we better manage it, deliberately

                Unfortunately it seems like a job that is never done. I find that auto-pilot is not usually my friend (note to self: Add visualization to my daily routine).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Steele View Post
                  Treelike, you have lucky kids. I can only imagine how huge the benefits from starting out young with GTD; talk'n about a gift to last a life time!
                  We'll see how lucky they feel with me as a parent when they're old enough to tell us . I can teach/ introduce it but whether it sticks is another matter. Plus there's the issue of whether GTD is suited to every personality.

                  My parents never discussed issues like goal setting or really thinking about your life with me, possibly because they never really thought about it themselves (as they were too busy firefighting with circumstances).

                  Originally posted by Steele View Post
                  About you not using 50K... you have reminded me that GTD is a tool that serves us, not the other way around, thanks. Much of the benefit/impact really does happen at lower levels first.
                  My 50k is probably blank at the moment as I'm going through a period of change. I think living without ultimate purpose can be fine if you have chosen to do that. But you still need to think about it (not too much though).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Steele View Post
                    I am thinking it may not as easy for many others to work from bottom up. One would need to be exceedingly self-aware...
                    Not sure it need be difficult, if you just take it easy. It's an iterative process. It probably begins (and continues) as way of keeping long lists (or piles of documents) tidy. You simply group things. And as your total number of items grows, you eventually want to even group the groups, and so on, up to some level. If, for some reason, you do not "like" the grouping arrangement you just change it. Over time, you may notice that some grouping principles are more useful to you than others.

                    The very first grouping stage, as in GTD, may be to simply group small tasks into slightly bigger tasks. In GTD these are called projects (10 k). They are essentially just what people in general would still call "tasks" or "action points" etc.

                    The next grouping stage, as in GTD, may be to group these smaller and bigger "tasks" (0 and 10 k) into Areas of Responsibility (20 k). This, in my experience, is best interpreted in terms of "roles" (quasi job titles), not as "type of work", for example bookkeeper, not bookkeeping. As for me, if I had no dreams, hopes, or threats to deal with beyond maintaining status quo in my existing Areas (20 k), I would probably stop right there and verify the "integrity" of my Areas, collectively and individually, against my "perspective on life" (GTD 50 k).

                    As far as I have been able to determine, the 50 k level is not attainable by grouping. For example, a have very strong ideological conviction in favor of sustainable win-win relationships. Although it is not beyond me to play win-lose with people who insist on playing win-lose with me, I have win-win as my fundamental perspective or "default strategy" - in everything from personal interactions, legal relationships to market strategy. This permeates all Areas of Responsibility (or objectives on all levels under 50 k). As far as I can see, it would not be possible to map 50 k principles to any single lower-level "group heading". So, as complicated as this "verification of alignment" may sound, it is really just a matter of checking whether you "like" what you see or if you want to change something.

                    Now, finally, the GTD 30 k and 40 k objectives or goals correspond to what people would normally call by either one of those names or by the popular names "effort" or "project". For example, maybe you have decided to spend some considerable part-time effort on a new business venture, and the "first step" is to get it up and running, which may take 1-3 years. From there on you probably have even further intentions, but you also most definitely have quite a few more immediate steps (GTD 10 k or tasks) that directly relate to getting this business started. I usually see no problem using a hierarchical "grouping" perspective to any of this.

                    All in all, this leaves me with a handful of AoRs and a handful of major new objectives, which I need to intuitively correlate to all my core values etc at the 50 k level. (My AoRs are all "ongoing". The major objectives will, at a later stage, either give rise to a new AoR or become fused into my AoR structure.)

                    One particularly interesting complication is synergies. I love synergies, and synergies are also part of my perspective on life (50 k; along with win-win and many other things). I like to give extra attention to things that serve many different purposes or combine into new strengths - it is simply "smart". Unfortunately, synergies pose a challenge to the otherwise fairly straightforward hierarchical grouping structure at the levels 40 k and below. It can be difficult enough to discover possible synergies in the first place, and also difficult to "illustrate" these in clear and useful way using either paper or available software in such a way that you can remember them and build further upon them. Sometimes, synergies are of a relatively simple "almost-hierarchical" nature (such as one project being conducive to several goals, and could therefore be listed under both), but sometimes they are related to aspects that are not even part of the hierarchical structure of "things to do". Examples of such fuzzy synergies are how your own competence or personal networks can be grown in a way that benefits your overall potential at a later stage. I have no solution for how to deal with those kinds of synergies in a way that ties in unambiguously with he "things to do" stuff. Those will need to be assessed "intuitively" along with the 50 k stuff, I believe.
                    Last edited by Folke; 10-07-2013, 06:26 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Steele View Post
                      1. Does it exist?
                      2. Does it exist for me?
                      3. Is it right for me?
                      4. Can I accept it?
                      One of the examples that sticks in my mind that illustrates this so well is this:

                      A person has a goal of being healthy, but realistically they have a chronic disease and are getting regular disability checks. The disease is treatable. So yes getting healthy as a goal does exist, yes it might be possible for them, but the last 2 questions are the kickers. Is it right for me explores what behaviors they have that may have contributed to the disease and the last one, can I accept it? goes right to the heart of if you are healthy you will no longer get a disability check so you won't have that income. So in the example the person can't accept the results of the goal so makes sure it never happens. Often it's the what happens after you gain the goal that you haven't accounted for that is the reason you can't reach the goal.

                      Sorry the above is so convoluted, I remember the example, it took several pages of breaking down the questions and applying them and I am paraphrasing but it really stuck with me.

                      I apply this in my own life in that if I have a goal of something, a project on someday/maybe I really need to be clear about the outcome and that I really want it and can achieve it or I'll never make it happen.

                      We have to really understand the consequences of our actions and be comfortable with them or we will never acheive what we want to do.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                        We have to really understand the consequences of our actions and be comfortable with them or we will never acheive what we want to do.
                        Sometimes we don't have enough information to really understand the consequences and a decision needs to be made so you need to go with your gut. This getting less and less of a problem though with the enormous expansion of the internet and how it is integrating with nearly everyone's lives. But you still need to know what you don't know you don't know.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                          I read a book years ago by Jack Addington
                          A Google Books search turns up "All about goals and how to achieve them" by Jack Ensign Addington http://books.google.ca/books?id=b84Q...Dw&redir_esc=y

                          I found Stephen Covey's books good for high-level thinking. As I remember it, (and I paraphrase), he said each person has a mission, something they're deeply called to do, and can do deep thinking to find it. The mission will be different for each person, but a clue is that in every case it has something to do with helping other people or making the world a better place for others. So there's a universal principle. That could be called the 60,000 foot level and be the same for everyone.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by cwoodgold View Post
                            I found Stephen Covey's books good for high-level thinking. As I remember it, (and I paraphrase), he said each person has a mission, something they're deeply called to do, and can do deep thinking to find it. The mission will be different for each person, but a clue is that in every case it has something to do with helping other people or making the world a better place for others.
                            There may be some bias involved here because people with "selfish" purpose would be less likely to share that purpose with Stephen Covey or anyone else for that matter. We'd never know about them. It is even possible that these purposes are "superior" to the social purposes because they were so clear that the people who have them never had to go to some guru for advice!

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