Personal, Public and Social: 3 interacting spheres

As my thinking progressed it became clear that I was categorising things as being on three interconnected layers or within three interacting spheres. These cropped up time and again. For want of any better working titles I saw these as ‘Personal’, ‘Public’ and ‘Social’.

At its broadest level, whatever I did to keep myself ‘fully occupied other than through full-time work’ it would be done for me – structured around things I had developed strong interests in over the years; directed and managed by myself, at a scale and pace I wished to go at; with a focus more on enjoying what I was doing rather than earning income or clinging to some former professional expertise.

One driver behind whatever I developed was a desire to maintain (after more than forty years as paid employee) some integrity to who I felt I was and what I felt was worth doing. Connected to this was a wish to stay mentally alert, physically active (at a moderate level), and socially useful. In this way what I was doing was a quite personal set of activities – relating to me, my sense of where I was in my life and where it might be going.

At the same time I kept being urged to think of things in terms of ‘audience’ or ‘public’. If I was seeing myself as ‘Geoff Bateson: the writer’ then I would write with a public in mind, with some concern for what others (an audience) might want to read rather than focusing solely on what I might want to write. Similarly, when this veered towards some kind of wider creative undertaking and I delved more into arts/creative sites and events, there was the same kind of language about relating to a public or engaging the audience. Putting things on a website and engaging with a fairly small group of people initially pushed me to thinking of this small network as that audience/that public – hopefully one that would grow over time. As things developed I would think not just of myself but also of how to engage with, collaborate with and be of use to this Public.

Much of what I was writing could be seen as being simply done for myself (even with a limited public set of readers in mind), stuff I enjoyed writing for its own sake (even if some did develop into a small number of for-sale ebooks). At the same time, there was always some sense of the social lurking in the background. Fiction written in response to an art exhibition covered topics of urbanisation, political decision-making, the nature of reality, delivery of services and so on. Website articles were about education, poverty, social change and so on. There was some strong social intent behind what I was embarking on.

So I had my three spheres: Personal; Public; and Social. These clearly interconnected with each other but the headings formed a useful thinking tool when exploring various lines of enquiry. When I was looking at notions of Value I could think in terms of Personal Value, Public Value and Social Value. When looking at the idea of Impact I could think in terms of impact on me personally, impact on others in that group of key intermediaries, and impact on recurring social issues.

Any such thinking I was doing was always within the context of other ideas – things in the news, recent articles in journals or on the web, or background documents relating to topics I was exploring. One such document, feeding into the very early thinking, was the report from the UK Foresight Report on Mental Capital and Wellbeing (www.foresight.gov.uk) .

This reviewed recent evidence on the everyday actions that were important for wellbeing (both as feeling good and as functioning well). These were summarised within five areas:

  • Connecting with other people … investing in developing and sustaining links with family, friends, colleagues, others in the locality … building connections to enrich everyday activity …
  • Being active … taking appropriate levels of physical exercise … having reasons to get out and about …
  • Being curious … taking notice of things, being aware of surroundings and what you are doing … remarking on the unusual, or interesting … reflecting on experiences …
  • Learning … trying something different … puzzling and working things out … challenging yourself … pulling in new skills when needed or developing existing interests even further …
  • Giving time and energy to things … volunteering activity … supporting others … being able to feel that you are making a useful contribution …

I already had my own way of personal development planning – a loose framework that would satisfactorily get me to age 80. This was made up of broad intentions, reviewed fairly regularly, against headings such as:

  • Staying in touch with others; not getting isolated …
  • Staying mentally and physically healthy as far as was in my control …
  • Sustaining a set of interests – allowing me to be fully occupied …
  • Having an adequate level of financial security and stability …
  • Maintaining productive family relationships …
  • Taking regular breaks, holidays, ways of relaxing …
  • Staying aware of, and making appropriate use of, changes in technology …
  • Having reasons to do things, go places, join in with events …
  • Being in control of own time and stress …
  • Maintaining some credible reputation/sense of identity …
  • Being organised at home and at work (even where these overlapped) …

Bringing my long-standing personal development framework together with the five Foresight strands set me on a stronger path of transitioning from me as full-time city council employee to me as fully occupied, productively and happily, in quite different ways. In a sense it was a design project – outlining and testing a way of being. It enabled me to get a greater clarity – a larger degree of foresight – around what I might be and do with myself.

The next few postings on this ‘Show your workings out’ blog will look in more detail at each of the three layers. There will be more on the Personal; more on the Public; and more on the Social

Meanwhile why not hop over and visit the website that contains much of the end-product material: http://www.thewordsthething.org.uk

.

Advertisements

About Geoff Bateson

This is the site were a series of posts will 'show the working out' - the emerging thoughts, ideas and tools as the creative undertaking R:2025 develops. All the way through maths learning I was told that extra credit was gained if one showed the working out, rather than stating the outcome - Here is one way of setting out the thinking as things move along. It forms an archive of ideas to form part of the overall package currently called R:2025
This entry was posted in R:2025. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s