The Method

The Method involves bringing to bear all of our faculties on the problems we need to solve. As a system it unifies head and heart: rational intellect, emotion and the subconscious. But more than this it engages our deep need to avert danger and enhance our lives. In other words: it is personal and puts reason and energy in the service of personally meaningful goals.

Indispensible to efficient thinking above the trivial level is the use of pen and paper. Not only at the moment of writing is the expression of thought in written form useful but in reading past entries in our notebooks we are enabled to reconsider many times over – for as long as it is necessary – our view of the problem. It helps us to move around the problem in time and space, from multiple points of view. It overcomes the weakness of human thought. You may doubt this now but experiment will bear this out.

Your first experiment should be to conduct an analysis of your current situation: Situation Analysis. You may have many pressing needs but for the moment isolate just one. Regard the problem as a threat that must be overcome. In fact envisage not merely neutralising it but overcompensating it. To turn the negative into a plus. The field may seem at first cloudy. Concentrate on a pressing and existential need, such as an adequate income, security of employment or business. Divide a page in an A4 notebook into two columns under a definition of the problem. Label the left column minus (-), the right plus (+). Note in the minus column the negative aspects of the current situation that you wish to overcome. Leave the right column until the negatives have been defined. This should be worked on daily at a regular time but only so long as ideas flow. When it appears to you that all the negative aspects of the situation have been identified, then work in the plus column, identifying the elements that you wish for in overcoming the problems of the current situation. Initially there may be a simple correspondence between the elements in the minus and the plus columns. You may find yourself, however, able to fuse some of the plus elements into compound goals.

At this stage the Method may appear dry and rational but the process of leaving time between repeated revisiting of the analysis will allow your unconscious thought to come into play. If you have chosen a problem that is existentially important then this should not feel like an academic exercise. The Situation Analysis will grow in this iterative process until clear goals emerge.

The next stage in the method also involves pen and A4 notebook, and the iterative and patient building of a plan. A plan to answer the question What are the Means and Measures needed to reach my goal? This plan too will need regular revisiting. You may very well identify resources that are not available to you. Sub-plans may be necessary. You may also have to consider the time frame. Is there a deadline associated with the goal? Plans will need time to mature. And they are not mature if they fail the test of achievability. Some plans will be abandoned because they cannot be carried out, and some will remain as wishes that can be revived when favorable conditions arise. This process itself is a test of the power of the goal to inspire us.

On this page the basic outlines of a Situation Analysis and a Plan of Action (Means & Measures) have been sketched. It is important that you read no further before attempting to draw up your own Situation Analysis and your own Plan of Action. Important lessons will be learnt. And you will be able to make better use of subsequent pages.

How to make use of this website

Do not merely read or skim these pages. They are intended to guide your practice. Read a page at a time and in the order set out in the Menu on the left side of each page. Do not read the next until you have attempted to put it into practice. What you read is only the starting point. Practice, including failure, will teach you the deep lessons and skills.

You are on the second page of a set of instructions. Using them in the order set out in the Menu on the left is to be recommended. The Home Page is entitled Success & Failure

The subsequent pages are:

  1. Goals
  2. Situation Analysis
  3. Means & Measures
  4. Personal Audit
  5. Time
  6. The Value System

The next page is Goals