I was trying to explain to a colleague the other day how I see patterns and connections in things.
“For me, everything is connected to everything else…” I said.
Of course, on reflection that’s probably not true. Kumquats are unlikely to be connected to my retirement. The price of aluminium not really connected to the music on my favourite playlist.
What is true though, is that I do see patterns and connections in things which aren’t obvious to other people. They are however obvious to me. That’s not a statement suggesting that others are missing something, or somehow not as able, or that I’m ‘right’. It just is. I can’t always explain the connection, or why it is significant to acknowledge the connection, but they are often both real and meaningful, to me at least.
What is also true, is that I find it hard to do a mind map – for me, things need to be on more than one ‘branch’, some branches need to be joined up. It isn’t therefore a means to clarifying data, as it is for some, rather a way to create complication and frustration.
I have in the past noticed different people connect things in a variety of ways. I recall running numerous workshops over the years, where delegates, asked to group or theme brainstormed post-it notes, would often group them together if they had, for example, the word ‘training’ on them. To me, this ‘connecting’, whilst valid, missed out on the meaning beneath the words.
It seems we all make connections, make meaning, in different ways. Maybe you make connections in one of these ways?
These things are about the same subject, so they must be connected?
These things are related through cause and effect?
These things are all connected to a specific outcome?
These things form part of the narrative, the story?
These things have a similar significance?
These things together open up possibilities?
Where we find meaning and connection, because we all do it differently, sometimes leads to misunderstanding, disagreement, confusion. So worth exploring the methods you consciously and unconsciously apply?