Example: Running Errands

Let’s say you have a number of errands to do today. While doing them efficiently certainly has merits, it could be more interesting and fun if some ProxPatterns (PPs) were involved.

Doing the errands efficiently might involve PPs like grouping related tasks, smooth transitions in driving, ProxAwareness for finding needed items, and the connected independence of paying with checks or plastic.

But what about all those things that slow you down and make the errands less efficient? Things like bumping into people you know, traffic, kids, your hungry stomach, getting lost, forgetting something, accidents or the weather? String a few of those together, and all the joy of getting your errands done efficiently can disappear.

You might feel that using ProxPatterns in a situation like running errands is just thinking WAY too much. But using some ProxPatterns might turn the most pure drudgery into something more interesting, fun or even magical. And if PPs can work and play with errands, they might just be useful or playful at the work or play you consider more important. As you read on, keep in mind that we can’t just install an interesting or fun day into our lives. No one sells that. We have to grow it. ProxThink provides some ideas for growing it.

While you should probably have some reasonable expectations about your errands and the limits of what is possible, on the other hand you’ll never know what is possible until you try. You might try doing parts of your errands in a different way. Or dealing with the people you meet, or the problems you encounter, in a different way.

You might give yourself permission to relate to a store in a variety of ways. You might look at their signs, and ask clerks, and ask other customers, and look for patterns in how items are grouped, and allow yourself to detour if something catches your eye, and cut short a search, and linger over one decision, and make another decision very quickly, and stop to smell the basil, and ask a random question, and murmur to yourself, and smile, and grimmace, and answer a question in an unusual way. In doing so, you’ve just also allowed uncertainty, been actively involved, and honored the integrity of the following: your curiosity, your senses, your need for some efficiency, your ability to group, and the fact that different things matter at different times (rank depends). If you’ve listened to your intuition some of the time, you also used the Value of Some, and probably made some smooth transitions too. We’ll never know if you avoided forcing too, but all the PPs don’t always apply, only some of them.

You could apply some ProxPatterns to travel and the people you meet as well.

Let’s start with travel. If you allow some uncertainty, you may have a different experience if you get sidetracked or lost. You may see some places you’ve never seen before and relate to them in  a variety of ways. You may enjoy the visual differences, soak in the ambiance, learn a short cut, find a new store, and discover some routes that may be useful on other occasions (create links). You might even get so lost you have to skip one errand to honor an appointment, but by shifting perspective (rank depends) find you have a great story to tell the friend you are meeting. Or let’s say you are one of those people with a GPS navigation system. Then you may need some ProxPatterns to deal with the uncertainties of slow traffic, or the variety of that fascinating goofball ahead of you with the out-of-state license plates who clearly is NOT one of those people with a GPS navigation system.

Now consider some of the people you might meet on your errands. If you are using some ProxPatterns to relate to elements beyond just time and money, again, your travels may be more interesting and fun. Especially so if you only focus on how time is money. Why? Using the Limits of One PP, you can see the limits of money to relate to all elements in your proximity.

So you might let a simple question to a salesperson expand to something beyond time or money. For example, you might spot an opportunity for them to teach you something, or you to teach them something, either of which could bring a number of PPs into play. Or you might ask or tell them something unrelated to your errand and see where it leads, during which you honor related elements (them, you, ideas, feelings, etc.) while also using the Limits PPs and practicing ProxAwareness. During such an exchange, you may also discover the value of some mystery (another kind of allowing uncertainty).

What if you bump into someone on your errands you have some kind of long-term relationship with? You may make transitions so smoothly with this particular person you would never have to think of something like a ProxPattern. Then again, you never know. If you do need some ProxPatterns, you may benefit if you honor the integrity of elements such as their needs, your relationship, your time constraints, something you forgot to tell them the last time you saw them, and the fact that you can’t remember their kid’s name. Admitting you can’t remember the name (allow uncertainty) in a way that shows you actually care (which honor them), helps you relate to the awkward moment (transition smoothly), and brings you two closer (more proximate) in a way that is actively involved. Doing that may further increase your active involvement and use of various ProxPatterns the next time you see them, making it even more interesting and fun.