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Flow Charts? - A powerful mental tool!

flow chart flowchart mental tool logic diagram thought model

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#1 Tesla

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 01:50 AM

What are flowcharts?
Flowcharts are visual logic diagrams used by many programmers to help visualize their code in action. By visually expressing their code, it makes tweaking and debugging the program much easier. The great part is, code is a goal. Programmers make different software and code to carry out different functions, which in turn solves a problem or offers a solution.
Why use them?
Many of life's obstacles and situations are just like the programmers goal, a solution to a complex problem. And because of this, creating a flowchart regarding your social situation, or the obstacle you are facing in life, finding a solution is a much easier process. Being able to visually see a situation, rather than just experiencing its effects, is a very humbling experience; it offers a much deeper look into the base mechanics of both how you think and how others think. Not to mention, it can also improve your way of viewing the world.

  • Allows you to visually see something that isn't so visual
  • Gives another perspective
  • Very adaptable, can be used to create plans that might change
  • Flowcharts can include 'what if's, expectations of uncertainty

Personally, I've used this tactic in a variety of different social situations, with great results. I have always been a pleasant person to be around, even outgoing at times, but one of my downfalls is that I can sometimes have difficulties solving social disputes or arguments. The reason being wasn't that I was combative or argumentative, but rather that I didn't quite understand the whole situation; I couldn't 'see' it for what it was. That was until I found flowcharts.
A few years back, I found myself in one of those situations where Alex is angry at Joe because Joe likes Alex's girlfriend, Sarah; Sarah didn't know about this whole situation, so she seemed indifferent to Joe; And then David stepped in, and that made the situation even worse because... blah blah blah. You get it. You've been in one of the situations at least once in the past. How do you solve the situation? Who would you speak to first? Or should you even say anything at all? – It's like disarming a bomb, you really don't know what will happen after you cut that wire.
Quickly after making a flowchart for the situation, I found that the best solution was to simply tell Sarah about Joe's and Alex's emotional responses, since Sarah hadn't the slightest idea why Alex was mad and Joe seemed shy. Before making this chart, I hadn't the slightest clue as to where to begin. Now, some people might not need to use a flowchart in the situation, but for me it was the best tool I have ever used in a social obstacle.
After it's all said and done.
The applications are endless. And I really mean endless. If you have a New Year's goal in mind, you can use a flowchart to help your progress, to actually track and correct your resolutions. Unlike bullet point goals, with flowcharts you can factor in plan C: my goal is XYZ, but if XYZ happens, then do XYZ. And that is the brilliance of a flowchart. It is a very simple, yet adaptable, way of looking at any mechanism or any interaction.
Getting started with flowcharts:
They are very easy to make and use. All you need is a paper and a pen or pencil. If you want to get fancy with it all, you could use an online website like lucidchart. It is as simple as drawing a square, writing something within it, and drawing an arrow to another square with something written in it as well. If one of the squares represents a decision, you could also put two arrows coming from it labeled yes or no.
Like I said before, if you want to get really fancy with the whole flowchart idea, you could use the set shapes as different meanings: rhombus means data, square means process, diamond means a decision, oval means start or end, trapezoid is a manual input (used for coding, but I guess it could mean looking inward, or meditating on an idea), and so on. The reason why different shapes have different meanings is so that if you share your flowchart with others, they can get the same meaning from it as you. However, if you plan to use flowcharts only for yourself, you can make whatever shape mean anything you want to.
Online flowchart tools:

  • Gliffy
  • Lucidchart
  • Draw.io
  • Creately

Simply put, flowcharts are a tools used to help solve issues, problems, or obstacles, you might be facing. Even if they don't give you the solution, it will definitely give you another perspective.

How how you used flowcharts to solve problems in the past? What are some other mental tools that you use to your advantage?  :-D 

  • Pointless, Timewasting x 1

#2 Russ Maughan

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Posted 22 March 2015 - 08:54 PM

I believe flow charts are critical in developing transphotography. Which images and in what order they are siphoned into memory. A "just the facts Jack" sort of flow of understanding. 1+1=2, 1+2+3 etc etc etc until a degree level comprehension coaleses or fragments into the mental waste bin.

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: flow chart, flowchart, mental tool, logic, diagram, thought model

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