One of the key concepts of the Managing Systemic Change course I am doing at the moment (Open University TU812) is reflexivity or ‘second order thinking’. As far as I understand it at the moment, this is taking time to think about what you are thinking, to ask about what you are asking and to reflect about what you are asking about. A simple ‘hack’ to grasp it is that ‘double-verbing’ used in the previous sentence; you consider not just your system of interest but what you bring into it and how you interact with it.
This afternoon I was pondering if another aspect of this practice is deliberately taking time to look elsewhere. By studying other things, you get grist for the mill when it comes to considering yourself and your situation. Although there is certainly a point at which you are spending too long distracting yourself, a change of mental (or physical) scenery is often the perfect tonic for prompting the brain to make new and relevant connections.
Or perhaps I am just making excuses for getting diverted from the course Study Guide this afternoon by reading a couple of scholarly articles and a chapter from one of the ancillary course books instead?