Lateral thinking

In debt to Edward de Bono.

One of the great differences between us humans and our beloved dogs is that frequently we think too much! But it’s worse than that. We think too much and get caught up in some spiral from which we can’t think ourselves back out. Perhaps that can be likened to a dog worrying away at something that the dog thinks is being overlooked by it’s human friend, or over-licking a wound or such.

A very quick web search will bring up the background information on Dr. de Bono who was responsible for overturning the way we think. It was de Bono who attended an IBM Office Products management course that I was attending, far too many moons ago, when I was promoted from being a salesman to the first rung of the management ladder; the position of Marketing Manager. It was during de Bono’s talk that I first learned of lateral thinking and what de Bono called the “PO” moment.

Just watch the first minute of this talk to get an appreciation of what the PO moment is. Seriously, the video starts with Simon Middleton defining a PO moment. It’s relevant to the rest of this post.

As you all know Jean has Parkinson’s Disease (PD). We have come to understand that PD affects different people in different ways, albeit there are some aspects that many PD sufferers share.

Take this symptom as described on the APDA website:

Many individuals report difficulties in multitasking and organizing daily activities.

In recent weeks I noticed I was becoming frustrated because although I was suggesting to Jeannie a number of what I thought were pleasant things to do in and around our property they weren’t being done.

As much as I tried to say to myself to chill out, this is all down to Jean’s PD, I couldn’t push out of sight the growing frustration that my help was being rejected, and I know I have a problem dealing with rejection! I really didn’t want my frustration to build up to anger.

Eventually, one morning last week after I came back to the bedroom from having fed the horses and the deer I blurted out, rather clumsily I admit, this frustration that was close to becoming a real annoyance.

At first Jean was upset by what I said, understandably so, but then we settled down to examining each suggestion of mine and where I was coming from. Then the conversation became very productive and in a moment of creative thinking I suggested what turned out to be a ‘PO’ moment. In other words, we had both agreed that while we acknowledged the fact that Jean was not motivated to do the things I was suggesting nonetheless it was important that we choose another day and time to discuss how I should remind Jean of these ‘overlooked’ suggestions and, more importantly, how it could be done in a loving and constructive manner.

It was a fascinating outcome and I immediately jumped out of bed, went to my office room next to the bedroom, grabbed a new, unused notebook and came back to the bedroom.

“Jean, let’s write this down in the book as a reminder of something we need to return to and resolve in a creative way! Let’s call these reminders Pharaoh moments!”

Jean very happily agreed!

I then explained to Jean that this felt very much like one of de Bono’s PO moments and calling it a Pharaoh moment was a beautiful way of remembering our wonderful dog.

It was beyond doubt an example of Jean and me thinking laterally.

So thank you, dear Edward, your legacy still endures.

I will close today’s post by inviting you to watch either or both of these talks by de Bono.

The first is a little over 4 minutes long.

Or a longer video that is still highly recommended:

Published on 22 Oct 2015

Edward de Bono is the originator of the concept of Lateral Thinking, which is now a firm entry in the Oxford English Dictionary. Dr de Bono was born in Malta. As a well-established academic, de Bono was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and holds an MA in psychology and physiology from Oxford. He is a Professor at many leading institutions around the world. He is an author of many best-selling books, and is known as the world’s leading authority on thinking.
I write this post as a very happy man who has lived the value and benefits of not bottling up one’s feelings!

25 thoughts on “Lateral thinking

    1. Susan, there’s yards more information available on the subject of lateral thinking so don’t hesitate to ask for more ‘shares’, either via the blog or via personal emails.

  1. You and Jean are doing well, my “discussions” with my husband often start with “suggestions” descending into a bit of yelling and then calming down into discussion!!! Ha! Ha!

  2. If you want to develop your lateral thinking skills there’s a tool I use called ‘BrainStorm’ which I believe can help… thirty day free trial available from brainstormsw.com. It’s been around for years; no longer being developed, but there’s no need for that, it’s fully functional as it is. (Disclaimer: I have no interest in the software other than as a satisfied user).

  3. Good to read, that you and Jean have found your way to manage the challenges, Paul.
    It is no fun to live with a serious illness and not more fun to live beside, like you do. It is about finding your ways to live and find solutions. By time, you might need to take over lots of the duties or get help from outside.
    You are both doing good with your food, which is a great step.

    1. Thanks Irene. Yes, this time of our lives is as much a period of learning, of new ways, skills and habits, as that period when we were fresh out of High School and eyeing university and what to set our sights on.

      Plus, to add to the mix my scheduled appointment with my local doctor yesterday revealed that I have uncomfortably high blood pressure!

      1. If you feel stressed, no matter the reason, the blood pressure can go very high, Paul.
        While it is that high, take care of not too much coffee, chocolate, wine and alcohol.
        Pineapple and bananas are helpers to get it down. I know this from my doctors here, while I had the problem and they were testing, if it was enough to change my lifestyle or I would need medication.
        After my hospital time last summer, I haven’t had high blood pressure. Why, I don’t know.

      2. Irene, those are very helpful tips. I’m back to checking my BP a few times each day and have resumed taking the BP pills I was prescribed a couple of years ago when this first occurred! But I will adopt those natural habits as well, with immediate effect.

        Big hugs to you!!

      3. Thank you Paul. Before the hospital I got 80mg a day, after hospital 5mg and after one week, my blood pressure was perfect.
        I will say, that I drink too much coffee, but try to remember fresh pineapple and bananas very often. Bananas contain also lots of potassium and magnesium, which are good against pain in the muscles in the legs.

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