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Thoughts on the book Liminal Thinking by Dave Gray

I read this book because of my interest in programmable attention ( you can change the way you think based on how you consume/learn things) . The major point for programmable attention still seems to be, put good data in, get good data out, and put bad data in, get bad data out.

Let's start with my biggest disagreement from the book:

EXERCISE Think of a topic on which you have strong beliefs, like a political opinion or religious belief. Now think of someone you know who holds a different belief. Now, try as earnestly as you can to consider their point of view, either by talking to them or honestly researching the topic. Make a list of valid points from both sides of the argument. -- Dave Gray

This isn't the first time I've run into "try to consider the point of view of someone you disagree with" and after thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that this is some of the worst advice you can give a person. If you don't have mental tools on hand to judge if your own opinions are correct, why do you think you would have the ability to judge if someone else's opinions are correct? A better strategy would be to build experiments to test our your opinions, not blindly take on someone else's.

If you saw a hacker trying to break into your computer, would you drop the firewall to let him in so you could see what his opinions on your system are? And once you kick him out, are you ever sure you have completely removed all of the backdoors he has left? Other peoples opinions can be exactly the same; festering in your mind and polluting your judgement. I don't need to consider the views of someone that believes the world is flat, I don't need incorrect ideas floating around my head.

Filter what you consume. If you let crap into your mind, you will slowly destroy your thinking process. Crazy people don't start off crazy, they slowly build up their crazy one idea at a time.

We construct our beliefs, mostly unconsciously, and thereafter they hold us captive. They can help us focus and make us more effective, but sadly, they also can limit us: they blind us to possibility and subject us to fog, fear, and doubt. -- Dave Gray

In life design you design how you want your life to unfold instead of just having it randomly happen every day. The same could go for your beliefs; don't let your beliefs be built by random chance over time, instead figure out how you want to think and design your beliefs to match that. Investigate what beliefs you have and which ones are just built from random encounters in life; clean those up.

Once you see the boundaries of your environment, they are no longer the boundaries of your environment. -- Dave Gray

A lot of the book is about not letting what everyone else sees as limits stop you. While It sounds like great advice, this is exactly what people Like Trump and Elon Musk do all the time; they find societal unwritten laws that most people follow and break them. Liminal thinking really breaks down to "break unwritten societal laws" or "look for anything that is holding you back that isn't a written in stone law, and move forward." Another more extreme way to look at what these people do is, If you have the money or lawyers to get away with something, then just break the law that other people can't afford to. Breaking the law might get you fined, but in the long run it gets you further ahead then all the people that follow the laws.

Beliefs are not reality. They are not facts. They are constructions. You construct your beliefs, even though for most people this is an unconscious process. By beliefs, I mean everything you know. -- Dave Gray

Our beliefs guide our desires and shape our actions. -- Dave Gray

If you design your Beliefs (as opposed to just accepting random beliefs off the street) and keep garbage out, you will be able to design and curate your reality/how you see and interact with the world.

Liminal thinking requires a willingness to test and validate new ideas, even when they seem absurd, crazy, or wrong. -- Dave Gray

Just because people say something is true doesn't make it true. If you want to add an Idea to your Belief system, you should run experiments in the real world and test it yourself. Note that I say in the real world, not in your head, not searching the internet, but actually testing the theories out in the real world.

Look at situations from as many points of view as possible. Consider the possibility that seemingly different or contradictory beliefs may be valid. If something doesn’t make sense to you, then you’re missing something. -- Dave Gray

Add metadata to your data, and then use that metadata to group your data in different ways to find patterns and make connections.

By asking questions, Mitch finds liminal, in-between spaces that people may not have seen or considered. Then, by finding possible intersections between needs and solutions, and forming new connections, he creates new opportunities that were already latent in the system, just waiting to be discovered. -- Dave Gray

You ask a lot of question of a lot of different people, and eventually they might start fitting together like puzzle pieces. Maybe person A needs a special tool to complete his job but has no idea what that tool is, and person B makes that exact tool but for a different industry so doesn't even think of selling it to people like person A. If you talk to both person A and person B, you will be able to connect the pieces and put them together.

Imagine a child in a room, with building blocks spread all over the floor. She plays with the blocks, trying out various ways of combining them to create structures. At first the structures are simple, but over time they become more and more elaborate. By combining and recombining blocks, through trial and error and many experiments, the child creates order from chaos. At some point, she is satisfied: the blocks are combined to make a beautiful and elegant city, with bridges, parks, roads, and happy people. But whether it’s a city of the imagination or a real one, there is a point where order is no longer the solution: it is the problem. Unless some degree of chaos is permitted to enter the system, no further progress can be made. Sometimes, to create new structures, the old ones must be destroyed so the blocks can be recombined in different ways. -- Dave Gray

If you don't make room for new ideas by breaking down old Ideas, then you don't have room for new ideas.

Beliefs are models. Beliefs seem like perfect representations of the world, but, in fact, they are imperfect models for navigating a complex, multidimensional, unknowable reality. -- Dave Gray

See your beliefs as models that you can tinker, experiment, and change. Keep refining your models with GOOD data, not random trash from crazy people (marketing, news, actual crazy people.) The more bad sources you pull from, the worse your model will be. The less you experiment with the real world, the worse your model will be. Garbage in Garbage Out (GIGO).

attention book thoughts 2024-02-03 #