When to stop safe expts?

NEVER, is the answer, but I would say that wouldn’t I!

That said, I want to talk about the Discount Matrix as this is a tool you can use to monitor how safe experiments are helping out and promoting the changes you want. The main conclusion is that:

when we have minimised the tendency to discount (put down) aspects of ourselves or others, then therapy to promote safe experiments may not, now, be necessary.

At that point you may feel confident that you can safely experiment without consultation – and you will know where to go if the situation should change.

Read this information alongside the information on:

  • the Johari Window – to record your journey from the unknown into the better known, and
  • Does This Make Any Sense – how have safe experiments widened your Window of Tolerance (WOT) and what might you do to widen it further?

Does it help to connect these two tools to the Discount Matrix, pictured below. It was used by Jacqui Lee Schiff (1975) in the text:

Transactional Analysis: Treatment of Psychosis. Harper and Row.

Please do not let that potentially scary book title put you off! I want to use the Matrix for a very specific purpose.

1. Existence 2. Significance 3. Possibilities 4. Personal Abilities

Identifying your: Sensations Skillfulness Judging and Acting

Fitting this Matrix into the safe experiment, I translate the boxes from top to bottom, using the numbers 1-4 above, as:

  1. You and I can do nothing until we recognise there is something to address.
  2. We can do little unless we judge that the ‘something’ is significant or important to us.
  3. We can only begin to design experiments once we can see the possibility of change.
  4. We are experimenting effectively once we use our abilities to make change.

Level 1 is the trickiest; we do not know what we do not know. No experiment is possible until we realise it needs to be designed. Level 4 is the the ‘easiest’ level to work on – the one where the design of safe experiments is within our grasp. We are best able to implement them and notice the results.

In practice, growing awareness increases in the Johari Window as we move from some awareness – upper left to lower right, the area of not knowing. The same applies with the Discount Matrix. Top left – difficult to be aware; bottom right – more able to be aware.

In other words, you will do nothing until a problem or issue is seen to exist. You will complete safe experiments once an issue is acknowledged. The best safe experiments are designed and implements when you have to ability to act on choices you have discerned.

You can make choices only after you have thought about things and made a judgement that something needs to change AND you can see how to go about it.

Do you remember THINK JUDGE ACT from How to Give Yourself a Nudge. Search it out in your researches, if that helps.

THE SAFE EXPERIMENT: How does this work in practice so you can make a judgment about the progress you are making?

Get a piece of paper:

  1. From the work you have done: identify one issue you did not realise existed for you, but you do now. How did you help the issue come into existence – into your awareness?
  2. From your present assessment, can you imagine something that has yet to be done? This will be something on the edge of your awareness or at the outer edges of window of tolerance (WOT) – between the known and the unknown. If you find something – how significant is it in your life, now?
  3. What are the alternative ways of thinking about the change you might need to make? Perhaps a friend or partner can help you ‘brain storm’, that is, write down as many possibilities as you can without censoring anything as ‘silly’ or unreasonable. Sort out the reasonable and unreasonable only after the event.
  4. What is stopping you making the necessary change? What is it about your skillful and unskillful actions that appears to get in the way? What abilities can you now apply to make something happen?

Now you can see why I say NEVER!! To some extent the task, as described, can go on forever. There is always something lingering there! That said, you will make a judgment: when is enough, enough?

In my view, sadly, the Discount Matrix has not received a lot of attention over the years. It allows us to organise our work in many ways and I cannot list them all here. Test it out for me further and see what you can find.

Retutn to:


How to given yourself a nudge

The Daily Safe Experiment