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  • Has David ever actually talked about Zen?

    Hello.

    The word "Zen" is often slapped wherever the word GTD is used.

    It's been said many times, for example, that GTD will have you reach a Zen-like state of mind.

    David Allen talks about "Mind Like Water", a simile he borrowed from karate. While Zen and karate are both Eastern things, they're not the same stuff. And if he says Mind Like Water, what he's saying is, well, Mind Like Water, not "Zen-like state of mind". Maybe you believe that they're two very similar concepts, and you're entitled to that opinion, but it's still Mind Like Water, not Zen-like state of mind.

    Now, has David Allen ever actually used the word "Zen" somewhere when referring to his methodology, or is it a term that only OTHER PEOPLE, reviewers, bloggers, offshooters (Leo Babauta comes to mind here), and the like, have attached to GTD?

    You know how many times the word "Zen" occurs in the book "Getting Things Done"? None.

    BTW, here's an interesting article: http://www.martialdevelopment.com/bl...ster-hsuan-hua

    Posseman

  • #2
    There are many things that David Allen is not talking about.

    I think there are many things that David Allen is not talking about. But I am glad that he talks about Getting Things Done!

    Comment


    • #3
      Right on, but what's that got do do with what I asked in my original posting?

      I'm trying to understand whether the oft-repeated linking of GTD and Zen started straight from David Allen himself or from other people.

      Care to stay on-topic?

      Posseman

      Comment


      • #4
        I've never heard it

        I've never heard "Zen" come from David Allen or anyone in the company and I've been a Connect member for years, read all books multiple times, etc.

        I guess some people think "mind like water" is some kind of zen-like state. What it actually refers to is the way water responds when a rock is thrown into it. It responds appropriately--it neither over responds nor under responds. Since David has a background in karate, that's probably where he got it.

        It's a good metaphor for a GTD practioner to keep in mind, wherever it came from.

        Comment


        • #5
          The tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
          The name that can be named is not the eternal Name.

          Most people who talk about "zen-like" states know little or nothing about Zen. The metaphor is so overused that it's meaningless.

          Katherine

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Posseman View Post
            BTW, here's an interesting article: http://www.martialdevelopment.com/bl...ster-hsuan-hua
            Sorry, it's a not very interesting rant. In my experience, writings about religion (classifying Buddhism as a religion for the purpose of discussion) obey Sturgeon's law* just like writings about productivity do and every other sort of writing does. I could say that GTD appears to me to be congruent with certain attitudes and practices I find in many religious traditions, but so what? GTD also appears to me to be congruent with scientific practice as I know it too.

            * Sturgeon's law: "Ninety percent of everything is crud."

            Comment


            • #7
              Love it

              Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
              Sorry, it's a not very interesting rant. In my experience, writings about religion (classifying Buddhism as a religion for the purpose of discussion) obey Sturgeon's law* just like writings about productivity do and every other sort of writing does. I could say that GTD appears to me to be congruent with certain attitudes and practices I find in many religious traditions, but so what? GTD also appears to me to be congruent with scientific practice as I know it too.

              * Sturgeon's law: "Ninety percent of everything is crud."
              I don't know about any of the rest of this, but I sure do like Sturgeon's law. It WILL be quoted before this week is up!

              Comment


              • #8
                Answer for you.

                Originally posted by Posseman View Post
                Right on, but what's that got do do with what I asked in my original posting?

                I'm trying to understand whether the oft-repeated linking of GTD and Zen started straight from David Allen himself or from other people.

                Care to stay on-topic?
                Answer for you: No, I've never heard David Allen talking about Zen.

                I hope this answer is on topic according to your standards.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I specifically recall David using the phrase "Zen-like" to describe something in at least one In Conversation. I will dig it out and present it to you.

                  Since is appears necessary to debate such stuff, exactly how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

                  rdgeorge

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                  • #10
                    In the most recent In Conversation interview with Ben, the British chap, David referred to the experience of a hard drive crash as a Zen learning experience.

                    In GTD Times, see the article "Zen and the Art of Task Management, by a Swiss gentlemen.

                    rdgeorge

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                    • #11
                      The phrase David uses to describe GTD is "Mind Like Water," based on his many years of karate training. It refers to a perfect state of readiness, that will not over or under react. I do not recall David swappping in "Zen" interchangeably with Mind Like Water.

                      The Zen article on the GTD Times website is a community contribution, not authored by DavidCo staff.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think he used to .. a long time ago .

                        For some odd reason I seem to recall David using the term in the old old Managing Actions and Projects Cassette Seminar that was published. [that was around 99-2000] before the book was even published .

                        I think he might have used it at a fast company seminar around the same time , also prior to the book .

                        I agree with what was said before , there's so much zen stuff out there anymore .....
                        Zen running, zen guitar, the tao of dating etc etc .

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