Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Situation Scales

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Whenever I'm busy, and I begin to get stressed, I write down a list of things that I need to do. I immediately feel a wave of relief as my troubles pass from my brain to the sheet of paper in front of me.

I suspect I'm not unique in this.

My idea is to take the concept a step further by helping to ease anxiety in people who are stressing about making a complex decision, by transferring their worry from a mental to a physical state.

Imagine a minimalist grey room, with grey walls and grey ceilings. The floor is also grey. In one corner is a living bamboo, and in the centre of the room, a low Japanese table, with a large set of scales atop.

All is calm.

Scattered around the grey floor are beautifully smooth round stones in black and white, of various sizes. On the table, next to the scales, are a set of two chalk markers - a black one for the white stones, and a white one for the black stones. Now the room is set for you to enter with your problem - such as "I'm not sure I should eat meat any more".

As conflicting thoughts enter your head, write them down on conflicting stones. Choose a stone whose size reflects the significance of your thought.

"I don't want animals to die" - big white stone.

"Maybe I'm just being influenced by the bunch of hippies I work with and I'd rather make my own mind up" - small black stone.

"Mmmmmm... meat" - big black stone.

"I never liked the taste of fish anyway" - small white stone.

With each thought, add the stone to the scales, with black stones on one side and white on the other. The exercise finishes when your mind is clear, and the scales have tipped towards the answer which you subconsciously knew long before you walked into the room.

You now have ten minutes to clean the stones in quiet reflection, letting your decision sink in.

Fishrat, Aug 30 2006

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       Cute idea. Sounds a little like an installation by Yoko Ono a few (quite a few) years back in which she created two piles of stones called 'hopes' and 'fears' (I think). Of course the aim there was to show a positive outlook rather than make a rational decision. [+]
st3f, Aug 30 2006
  

       hmmm - I wonder how I should vote for this?? Goes in to room. Carefully weighs each stone in turn. Notices that one particular stone is made from solid glass - takes this one outside, and throws at window, making a hole exactly the same size and shape of a single croissant . Retrieves croissant and stone. Mends window with exact size glass stone. Presents croissant to fishrat. Goes in to room to reflect on actions. +
xenzag, Aug 30 2006
  

       Of course, nothing gets done because you never wrote down your list. Which is the price of Buddhism.
ldischler, Aug 30 2006
  

       //Whenever I'm busy, and I begin to get stressed, I write down a list of things that I need to do//

I have a friend who does exactly the same thing. Got no sympathy though. If you get on with the job at hand instead of wasting time writing out lists all day then you wouldn't be so stressed Fishrat ;o)
DrBob, Aug 30 2006
  

       392) Check halfbakery
393) Get on with the job at hand
394) Check halfbakery
Fishrat, Aug 30 2006
  

       This reminds me of a TQM decision making process. TQM (Total Quality Management) was one of those crap management styles we experimented with in the late '80's. "Now take your post-it and stick it on the whiteboard under the decision you feel is right. Good robot." The decision was made by majority rule and everyone had to sign off on it. No creativity allowed.   

       I like this, though, where all factors and ramifications are considered. What happens if it balances?
Shz, Aug 30 2006
  

       Potentially useful - big white stone.   

       Requires a Japanese room - big black stone.   

       Could also be done with just some stones - medium white stone.   

       Could even be done with just text - big white stone.   

       <tips>
wagster, Aug 30 2006
  

       Ooooommmmmm.....
Galbinus_Caeli, Aug 30 2006
  

       //the answer which you subconsciously knew long before you walked into the room.// Skip the stones. I already bunned it.((+))
xandram, Aug 30 2006
  
      
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