Tag Archives: learning

Change by Orange Modus Operandi

As the first days of the new year unfold some of our best plans and intentions for a fresh start may be already unraveling.

You’re not alone.

Old routines and habits slither in despite the best of intentions. Like you I have experienced set-backs and distractions in trying to make changes. I also have had success in making some positive shifts.

What did I do differently?

It has to do with my favourite colour orange.  (Sorry Jill!) I follow a process that I have coined the Orange Modus Operandi or OMO.

Here’s is a summary of the process:
O  Observe what’s going on
R  Record what you experience
A  Assess the patterns
N Note more than one goal
G  Gather information
E  Express your success

In the next few posts I’ll explain just how my personal OMO has helped me make some shifts in several areas of my life. Today I’ll start with the most challenging habit needed for change and that is to Observe.



“We have forgotten how to observe.
Instead of observing we do things
according to patterns.”   Andrei Tarkovsky


Why is it so difficult to observe? Multitasking and busyness are valued and admirable traits that our peers and our leaders extol even though brain research does not support multitasking as an advantage. “For the brain to function optimally, it needs its full beam of attention on one activity at a time” (Ellen G. Goldman). However we have built a distraction economy that stimulates our egos with ‘hits’ ‘likes’ ‘feeds’ and ‘tweets’ causing us to self-evict from the regenerative practice of stillness and silence.

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The act of observation is unattractive.
Observation is not always quantifiable and does not produce immediate results but it is the first humble step in identifying patterns, behaviours, and influences.

Reclaiming the practice of observation may be disheartening or it may even feel oppressive. Despite the discomfort, I encourage you to press on.

The act of observation takes more courage than we realize.

So what happens when we practise observation?

We Think  We think about and reflect on what is going on around us and reconsider the obvious.

We Relate  We re-examine relationships in what we see.

We Recognize Patterns  We observe patterns in behaviours, feelings, responses, choices and interactions.

We Listen  We stop multitasking. We remain still and listen not only to what is going on around us and with people, but we listen with our gut – our instincts.

We Ask Questions
  We ask questions we think are important. We expect resistance from those who object to our questions and we wonder about the deeper issues that cause the disconnect when our questions are asked.

In the next post I’ll discuss the next step, Record. I’ll show you some tools that work for me in recording patterns, ideas and questions in order to achieve a desired change.

How about you?

What do you do to participate in observation?

What challenges do you face when you try to just observe?

I would be interested in your comments.

How is Twitter Like The Diamond Head Game?


The Diamond Head Game was a unique American game show that aired for 130 episodes before it was sadly cancelled in July 1975.

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One of the highlights of the show was the “Money Volcano” in which contestants stood in an acrylic looking cage (more attractive than the one in this picture) while money spun around them at great velocities. The aim was to capture as many bills as possible in thirty seconds. Among the dollar amounts in the “Money Volcano” was one bill worth $10,000. I don’t remember anyone catching the elusive $10,000 bill but I always wanted to try out the “Money Volcano” for myself. I experienced something like the “Money Volcano” yesterday when I joined the Twitter session #lrnchat. As soon as I signed on to #lrnchat, hundreds of ideas, opinions, questions and links about learning and technology began to scroll down my feed page. At first it felt like I was floating in a moshpit of ideas but then I dove in and started to respond to inquiries that sparked my interest. As soon as I took time to draft an idea then thirty more tweets would scroll down the page. “Ahh…I can’t keep up!” I screamed. Is this what a distributed model for knowledge exchange feels like?

After a few minutes I started to breath again and I didn’t attempt to keep up with all the random insights. I selected what looked interesting and hastily responded. I desperately felt the need for a better interface to review ideas and make more relevant connections with the numerous “conversations”. I felt like I was just grasping at ideas hurtling by me. Maybe there is a virtual sticky noteboard that illustrates a coloured note every time a tweet appears  so that I can categorize, save, respond to and easily retrieve tweets and responses. Otherwise, the chaos of rapidly streaming ideas obstructs the potential gems of deeper inquiry. Maybe it’s my beginner’s uncertainty with the ambiguous random direction of interactions. I’ll step inside the “lrnchat Volcano” next Thursday at 5:00 PST and find out whether it’s a meaningful exchange of ideas or a just a fascinating distraction for me.