Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration of Powerful Structuring Ideas

I’ve just published a new section in Principle 7, “Apply Knowledge” of Cognitive Productivity with macOS. It is called “Nurture Your Fondness and Admiration of Powerful Structuring Ideas”. The book is now 99% complete.

One of the major problems addressed in my Cognitive Productivity books is getting to the point of applying in “real life” knowledge that one has previously processed. When reading and understanding a document one can have an illusion of a competence, the sense that one will be able to think with the knowledge in the future.

One of John Gottman’s Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work is “Nurture your fondness and admiration”. The reason is that admiration for a partner can easily fade. And when it does, a marriage can fall apart. Fortunately Gottman has some deliberate strategies that can keep fondness and admiration going.

So much information comes our way these days that we take it for granted. We flirt with good ideas, then discard them; and we get distracted by seductive but irrelevant ideas. Admiration for powerful structuring ideas (PSI‘s) helps our dispositions to use PSI’s to mature. Keeping the flame alive for a (PSI) sometimes requires conscious control.

So, in this new section, I describe ideas you can use to boost your admiration of ideas. This is a somewhat original topic that has not been empirically researched, a least not directly. Unfortunately, the cognitive science of expertise has not been very concerned with knowledge work at all. Most of it deals with public performance expertise (e.g., music and chess). I’ve had to extrapolate from related data and theories.

The PSI concept comes from my mentor Stephen Leach, who is an expert on the design of programming languages.

Knowing which concepts are really strong and useful effortlessly guides you to the right answer. (Stephen Leach)

I first drafted a section on PSI’s in 2011 when I was outlining my first cognitive productivity. (The section never made it into that book.) Steve and I had had an email exchange on PSI’s. Steve argued against incremental design paired in test driven development. “Get the design right the first time” is his approach. Steve emailed me a long demonstration that recognizing the applicability of the PSI of bag can quickly lead one to the right design. I will ask him about publishing some of that exchange.

The Cognitive Productivity with macOS book suggests several strategies for mastering PSI’s.

I’ve also blogged briefly about nurturing passion for ideas on CogSci Apps. The post and book include hints about what CogSci Apps’ “New App” will do for you.

Published by

Luc P. Beaudoin

Head of CogZest. Author of Cognitive Productivity books. Co-founder of CogSci Apps Corp. Adjunct Professor of Education, Simon Fraser University. Why, Where, and What I Write. See About Me for more information.

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