Posts Tagged self-discovery

Confabulation: we verzinnen ons verhaal achteraf

Lisa Bortolotti beschrijft in een artikel op Aeon het fenomeen ‘confabulation’. Een experiment laat zien wat met die term bedoeld wordt.

…psychologists Richard E Nisbett and Timothy Wilson at the University of Michigan laid out a range of items, such as pairs of stockings, and asked people to select one. Participants consistently preferred the items on their most right-hand side. But when they were asked to explain their choices, they did not mention the position of the items, and instead attributed their choices to the superior texture or colour of the chosen pair of stockings, even when the displayed pairs were all identical. People confabulated. Not knowing some of the factors that were determining their choices, they produced an explanation that was not based on evidence relevant to the factors determining their choices, but mentioned instead plausible reasons why the chosen item was better.

‘To confabulate’ is de term die gebruikt wordt in het Engels wanneer we een fictief verhaal aan onszelf vertellen, en tegelijk geloven dat het verhaal waar is. Lees de rest van het artikel waarin Bortolotti beschrijft dat ‘confabulation’ iets is om te vermijden én ook een voordeel kan zijn: Confabulation: why telling ourselves stories makes us feel ok.


This is not for kids

This is not for kids

Earlier this week I took part in a workshop to discover and express the business side of me in a better way. It was a lovely afternoon spent in pleasant company, and led in a very relaxed, yet to the point manner by Wiro. The best part was that we were allowed to play with Lego, seriously. Wiro uses Lego Serious Play as a method to literally construct the concepts you’re trying to express. I absolutely fell in love with this approach.

These are the constructions that tell a story about me. (Note: all built within strict time constraints of a few minutes)


My expression of me, building upon one of the pre described recipes for a walrus. I chose this animal, because I like to grit my teeth in a subject or a project. I added the eyes and an antenna for expressing my biggest strength: observing. While observing I dig deeper for a better understanding, so I can move forward or help the client progress.


This expresses why I do what I do. I built a Christmas tree as a social object, which serves as a means to connect to one another and that makes people feel good. It’s a pretty object so people love to look at it, touch it. The people take their hat off to express their appreciation. In short, I want to create pretty things to touch other people’s lives/hearts.

Last up was building a few simpler objects expressing some values how I do my work.


I built a 360 degrees rotating head with a binocular, a colorful tower and a bridge, representing me as good observer, expressing in a colorful way and translating the complicated into easier to understand.

We ended the session with writing down our Golden Sentence, using all the elements we built during the afternoon. I’ll spare you that one, just in case you will accuse me of too much bull-shit lingo.

I loved the effect of building things. At times I was really frustrated and didn’t know what to build, but then I just randomly grabbed a brick and something would emerge and to my surprise it often made sense.

Biggest breakthrough for me was this: the project I currently work on didn’t really make sense in my view of what I do for a living, yet, by expressing that I want to create pretty things to touch others, it suddenly makes perfect sense to lead a project to create a new web platform for 17 existing online communities with around 8000 members in total. I may not be the one to actually make the platform, but I’m going to make sure others will build the best and prettiest platform I can imagine!

In the coming months I will make sure I grab my own Lego more often as a tool to think. In case you want to use it too, you can even buy kits from Lego. I used a starter kit and that includes a whole range of Lego pieces to get creative.

A closing gift to my Dutch readers:

(The Lego Song used in ads in the ’80s)


My first 12-week year

My first 12-week year

Hot Numbers Coffee

Hot Numbers in Cambridge, where I read most of the book. (photo courtesy: Bex Walton)

This past summer, when we stayed in Cambridge for a month, Ton adopted a new routine after reading a book: thinking in 12 week years. It’s a method developed by Brian Moran and its basic intervention is to set goals to reach within 12 weeks, instead of setting goals for a year. Despite being written in an overly enthusiastic manner (it is an American book after all), this basic idea somehow resonated with both of us. Once back home, I developed a 12 week plan too and set my goals for my ‘first year’.  These are my findings so far.

I set seven goals, such as creating a writing routine around a (probably never to be published) book, taking a walk on a daily basis and delve into some books that I see as being key to my work.  I’ve mixed results on working towards these goals. Some high- and lowlights.

What works:

  • I have definitely created a writing routine. Every week I set myself a goal in amount of pages to write. I chose a number that I could easily reach within one writing session of about two hours (or takes even less time when split into several sessions). Keeping the number within easy reach, really motivated me. Normally, I would set the goals so high that I give up at the first signs of the goal getting out of reach. Currently I’m a bit behind on schedule due to a very persistent cold, keeping me from doing work for two weeks and during those weeks I really missed my writing sessions. A very good sign!
  • I do tend to take walks on a daily basis, although during my illness I really couldn’t. Some days I don’t walk, but at least bike into town. Some days I skip due to general laziness. Oh well…it’s autumn you know. Not the most inviting season to go outside at times
  • I am getting better and better at having balanced working days, with a more steady flow of high concentration work, taking long breaks in between and creating more predictable rhythm. Being a solo entrepreneur offers little dictated rhythm, so I could swing from doing 12 hours of intense video editing for days, to doing nothing specific the next few days. I can tell you now, that is not a healthy routine on the long term.
  • As of yesterday I finally got to update my blog and its template. A few months ago Ton’s website got hacked due to a flaw in the template used. I used a different template, yet from the same developer so I figured I should change templates as well to be on the save side. I was supposed to do this before November first, so I didn’t make my self-imposed deadline, but I did it within my year. That’s the thing that counts most.[/list]

The struggles:

  • In general, knowing what goals to set at the beginning. I don’t really know what I can actually achieve within 12 weeks. Setting goals while being on the recovery route from a burn-out at the beginning of this year, was a complete guess.
  • Therefore I hardly spent time on the biggest goal I set for myself, reading and analyzing some books on storytelling and philosophical methods. I set this goal based on the assumption that I wouldn’t have any significant client work during the rest of the calendar year. Guess what. I actually landed a huge gig with an existing client. So most of my precious high concentration time (I set a maximum of 4 hours per day) was spent on this. Biggest bonus: it pays!
  • falling ill really set me back. Can we just globally ban all viruses? Thank you.
  • I think I would really benefit from taking yoga classes, yet I tried some and I really dislike the process of going there on a scheduled time that never really fits my daily rhythm. Either I need to postpone a meal for two hours leading me to feel nauseous, or it’s too soon after a meal which is not pleasant for exercising. One last resort is a website with lessons you can sign up for.

My first year ends on December 20th, so I still have some time to catch up and reach my yoga and writing goals. Thinking in 12 week years really helps me to set more specific goals to strive for, that are both stretching me a bit yet still achievable. So far it seems especially helpful in giving my creative side enough space to actually be creative. A year is too long to feel an actionable sense today, a month is too short due to life intervening, so I do think 12 weeks hits a sweet spot.

Curious? Order the book from Amazon (links to Kindle version) or visit the website.