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How to Think Like a Knowledge Worker

How to Think Like a Knowledge Worker

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Published by: William Patterson Sheridan on Apr 20, 2011
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06/03/2011

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What the Use of the MindMap Implies

Perhaps the most important set of implications of using the MindMap involves the human context in
which the use occurs, namely the complementary roles of cognitivity and affectivity in the Gestalt
Frame. It should always be kept in mind that it is never the case with MindMap use that cognitivity
opposes affectivity – it isn’t “either/or” but rather “one AND the other”. So, in the language of implying,
there are both cognitive and affective implications to every concept in the MindMap (or to any other
concept as well). People or rules may, and often do, tend to prioritize one or the other aspect because of
the purposes or behaviours they are focusing on, but if this becomes a habit the presence of the other
aspect may be ignored altogether. When that becomes a social tradition people will speak of a certain
concept as “inherently” either cognitive or affective – when in human experience it always embodies
both. This is something to look for – what aspects of a concept are being acknowledged, which ignored?
The Courage of Your Convictions

The way this phrase is usually interpreted is to imply that it one’s “duty” to “speak out and tell the truth.”
As I have suggested in another section however (see MANAGING YOUR SELF), protecting yourself
from harm can take priority over speaking out. Does that imply that there need be no courage to your
convictions at all? On the contrary – the most important aspect of that courage is always taking note of
the difference between “what you know” yourself and “the propaganda line.” Why would you want to
bother with this? Because, for a knowledge worker, there is nothing more pathetic than confusing
rhetoric with reality, or mindlessly accepting “the official version” of anything. Depending on the
circumstances, knowing which is which can just remain your own secret, but expending the cognitive
effort to make the distinction is part of the criteria of the role itself (i.e., knowledge worker). At the very
least (and sometimes that is the most you can do), your mind must be “the record of last resort.”
The Confidence to Create

Developing the capabilities to do Concept R&D and use the MindMap will empower you to perform
some amazing accomplishments. Most people, regardless of their positions or roles, are not very mindful
of the conceptual complexity underlying their behaviours, or their plans, or the situations with which
they deal. They are not “idea conscious” – their idea of being pragmatic (if they have such an idea at all)
is to ignore anything and everything that doesn’t contribute directly to what they want to do or have been
assigned to do. Intervening in such situations (which are typical) to point out other possibilities, is
therefore an opportunity to “shine” – but to be effective it must be done with care (so as not to “ruffle
any feathers”). The best attitude to take, is to see such situations as opportunities to create something
which contributes to the greater good – so start by reiterating the goal, and then show how further
considerations are needed for successful achievement. Think through how you will make the case for
this BEFORE you present it, and take confidence from the larger perspective you possess.
Doing Things With Words

It is not necessary to use the exact terminology in the MindMap when talking or explaining to others.
What you will often find yourself doing is “translating” into terms others can more readily understand.
So “empiricism” becomes “evidence” and “determinism” becomes “cause”. Ideas can transcend terms.

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