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Even though we live in a world of connected devices, connected ideas and connected things and beings…

  • We often struggle to use our connectedness for collaboration, in many areas, but especially at larger scales, from neighborhoods and organizations to globally. 

  • We often don't leverage connectedness as well as we might for creativity (in the arts, design, innovation, science, engineering and everyday problem-solving).

  • We can get needlessly stuck in some situations and don't enjoy enough variety, even though connectedness allows great flexibility.

Frustrating, to say the least. These challenges affect the quality of our lives. Sometimes, such struggles have life and death consequences.

In a connected world, proximity thinking approaches should transform how we create, collaborate and live, enhancing life and helping avoid some painful adjustments. Why? Proximity thinking is built around the idea that being is about relating, which brings us back to connectedness, as connectedness is about relationships.

From this idea that being is about relating (a natural fit for a proximity orientation), and the goals of enhancing creativity, collaboration and life, the ProxThink framework emerged. At the same time, these goals helped create related approaches for sustainable proximities and the associated idea of sustainable variety (SustaVariety), which is variety that continues, refreshes, and renews, and is likely one of the keys to vitality and life.

It turns out that "SustaVariety" is a useful, compact idea. It simultaneously relates to the processes and results of effective creativity and collaboration (generally and in ProxThink approaches), and to liveliness, vitality, sustainability and proximities. So in short, with ProxThink, we can create and enjoy more SustaVariety.

During and after the four stages of this online course, you'll have opportunities to join transformations in how we create, collaborate and live. In the process, you'll likely also help others, benefit from others, and collaborate with others.

Start your transformations. Start your adventures, vitality, enjoyment and even fun. Start with the short videos below.

Here are five short videos, beginning with two that should orient you, motivate you and begin your adventures. Then you'll find three videos from this course (one from each of the first three stages of your transformation) to give you a sense of the course and further show you the benefits of proximity thinking in a connected world. This online course includes short videos, short quizzes, and activities using situations in your life (to immediately start using what you're learning), as well as hands-on practice in a mobile collaboration app. Plus, within the course player and in our Facebook group, there are options for questions and discussions with the instructor and other people who are taking or have taken this course, and perhaps even collaboration with others in the Facebook group. So, the course is set up to accelerate your progress throughout the four stages of your transformation.

Video: ProxThink Origin Story + Begin Your Adventures

  • About This Video (below) — In under six minutes, you'll hear from David Loughry, creator of the proximity thinking framework and your guide in this course. You'll hear about the beginnings of proximity thinking (ProxThink) and begin your adventures in being more alive. This video is part of the Beginnings section of this course, and is originally from a workshop.


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Video: Why We're Struggling + How You Can Transform Quickly

  • About This Video (below) — In three minutes, see two major reasons we may be struggling (and why we might be forced into some painful adjustments), the many benefits of proximity thinking, and how to quickly transform your approaches to creating, collaborating, and being more alive. NOTE that you're already at the course link mentioned in the video, and some parts of the video intentionally have no sound.

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Video: Foundations for Transformation

  • Course Sample Video (below) — The videos above included a little about the four terms of the ProxThink Basics, and you'll get a more complete introduction in the course. Here, in under two minutes, you'll see the foundational concept and strategy of the proximity thinking framework. The foundational strategy is the Core Idea, which you can practically start using right away, even before taking this course! However, the course will help you more confidently understand and use the Core Idea. This video is part of Stage 1 of your transformation and this course. EVEN IF you only finish Stage 1 of the course, you should be able to think about and relate to situations in more general, structured and useful ways.


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Video: ProxPatterns for Your Creativity, Innovation, Problem-Solving 

  • Course Sample Video (below) — In just over three minutes, you'll be introduced to the Combo ProxPatterns, the web pages for the ProxPatterns, and get a more detailed look at the Honor Integrity ProxPattern, which includes the example of your car breaking down on the road. This video is part of Stage 2 of your transformation and this course. EVEN IF you only finish Stage 2 of the course, you'll get valuable new concepts, patterns, processes and tools that should enhance your creativity, innovation and problem-solving.


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Video: ProxRewards (Proxri) for Making Your Approach to Shared Situations More Collaborative, Effective and Enjoyable 

  • Course Sample Video (below) — In about two and a half minutes, you'll be introduced to the growth model process of ProxRewards (or proxri for short), including an example of proxri in a kitchen shared by a family, housemates, businesspeople or some other group. This video is part of Stage 3 of your transformation and this course, and will also aid you in understanding proxri when signing up for this course. EVEN IF you only finish Stage 3 of the course, you'll have four valuable processes (of the ProxThink growth model) for helping the proximity of your shared situations come alive, while at the same time letting people in the shared situations collaborate more effectively. So your shared situations should function better and be more enjoyable at the same time. And not only that, in Stage 3 you'll practice using the growth model processes in a collaborative mobile app, helping the proximity of a shared situation become more of a living thing.


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Explore More or Sign Up Now

  • Explore More — Find out more further down this page. Recommended: Three Quick Tips, which includes a Quick Start and a Special Offer of one-on-one coaching and support.

  • Sign Up NowIf you've already made a decision to continue your adventures in being more alive with proximity thinking, SIGN UP BELOW.

Three Quick Tips

On the rest of this page you'll find much more about this course and explore more reasons to sign up. But first, here are three quick tips to speed up your explorations:

  1. QUICK START — To quickly start using and benefiting from proximity thinking (without spending any money), watch the videos above, read Trials + Bonuses (Quizzes, Downloads) below and sign up. Then grab your downloads to hang where you'll see them, watch the trials videos, explore and use the ProxThink website, take quizzes, do some course activities, and continue your adventures in proximity thinking and a few related sustainable variety (SustaVariety) projects! All without spending any money (although you are encouraged to proxri for your benefits)!

  2. If you prefer more personalized, social and interactive learning, see Four-Week Groups and One-on-One Coaching below. Check out the SPECIAL OFFER for one-on-one coaching and support at that link too!

  3. If the very general reasons to take this course in the first section below the Quick Links aren't your style or you want more specific examples, then explore How You Might Use Proximity Thinking.


Quick Links

Here are links to quickly jump to sections on this page:

Go from Problems and Challenges, to Solutions and Opportunities

Do we humans feel vibrantly alive? Are we humans meeting our challenges as well as we might? Doing so enjoyably? Individually and in groups? I suspect most answers to these questions fall in the "could be better" or "could be a lot better" categories! I think two major reasons for this are one, our mental frameworks don't relate well to proximities, and two, our mental frameworks don't relate well to our networked, connected world. These needlessly limit us in working together, creating, innovating, solving problems and living vibrantly. But how can we change? That's what you'll learn in this course, since the proximity thinking framework was created for these problems and challenges. Proximity thinking, or ProxThink for short, is a proximity-focused framework for creativity, innovation, problem-solving, sustainability and living. (See the videos above for a bit more of an introduction.) Proximity thinking is ways of thinking and relating that fit our connected and networked lives. It can create more sustainable variety and vitality, effective thinking, and engaged collaboration, helping us be more alive. For some more specific uses of proximity thinking, see How You Might Use Proximity Thinking. I created proximity thinking, and I'll be your guide in this course. You'll find more of my story in the Your Instructor section farther down this page. But first, you'll find more about the course below. I hope proximity thinking helps you and think it can. It might be fun. And again, our connected world is moving in a proximity-oriented direction and sooner or later we, and you, may be forced to adapt with some painful adjustments, or if we don't act, endure more and more dysfunctional and unenjoyable situations. Why not get ahead of the curve and also reap the enjoyable and life-enhancing benefits of proximity thinking? I invite you to explore it, try it, use it, and benefit from it.
—David Loughry

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➤ Here's Your Onramp

This section is your onramp, making it so basically anyone who wants to can take this course! You'll discover why you should take this course elsewhere on this page, and it's probably best to begin at the top for that. This section is about how to start the course by joining our SustaVariety membership community, which will also get you other benefits. There's no option to buy just this course, and you'll see why this is actually better for you. Below you'll discover how to get course access, things to consider while deciding how to proxri (and what proxri are), and your three next steps to join and start this course.

Here are Onramp links for jumping to the main parts of this Here's Your Onramp section: 

➤ Get Course Access with Your Membership Proxri (and What are Proxri?)

Note — For an overview of this section, you can start at the beginning at Here's Your Onramp.

The first thing to know is that there is no set course price (more on that here). Instead, you'll get access to the course after you become a member (at any tier level) of our SustaVariety membership community when you reward with a proxri (pronounced prox'ree). Proxri, which is short for a ProxReward as well as the plural ProxRewards, are an approach designed for our connected world, and proxri are part of the ProxThink framework. Basically, proxri are rewards made with the proximity in mind. To take the full course, you'll need to proxri in some way (more details below), but it doesn't mean you have "paid" for the course since there is no set course price. You can also access some parts of the course on a trial basis for optional proxri, as described in the section below called Trials + Bonuses (Quizzes, Downloads). Again, proxri are basically rewards made with the proximity in mind, and you'll learn more fully about proxri in this course. But you'll learn enough about proxri on this page to know how you want to proxri to become a member and start this course. Note that a proxri may include money, things, services, ideas, tasks, relationships, actions, and so on, as well as a combination of these. 

To start the course and become a member, at least a small proxri of money is needed. Membership tiers range from $2 per month to $1997 per month, and include diverse member benefits. In addition to access to our SustaVariety membership community, you'll also have access to the ProxThinkers Facebook group.

  • Suggested Proxri

    — The suggested proxri is to join our SustaVariety membership community at a level you're comfortable with, that is also doing what you can to create, grow and spread SustaVariety for yourself and others. Your proxri can be a combination of non-financial and financial proxri. You'll find more below about deciding how to proxri and how you can best create, grow and spread SustaVariety.

Here are details about the membership benefits of different tier levels . Your three steps to join and start are coming up later in this section. But first, some guidance on deciding how to proxri.

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➤ Things to Consider in Deciding How to Proxri

Note — For an overview of this section, you can start at the beginning at Here's Your Onramp.

Since you're partly deciding how to proxri as a member of our SustaVariety community (although part of your proxri may be unrelated to the membership), you'd probably like to know the goals of our SustaVariety community. As mentioned earlier, here's the basic idea: SustaVariety is variety that continues, refreshes, and renews. The suggested goals are:

  1. To increase SustaVariety generally, for individuals and groups.

  2. For people and groups striving towards SustaVariety to also experience SustaVariety as they strive.

  3. To increase the prevalence of sustainable proximities with sustainable variety (see note below), and to the extent possible list, track and assess them, to improve and further create, grow and spread SustaVariety and enjoy more SustaVariety.

NoteIn brief, we can strive towards the suggested goals above by: 1. Creating, collaborating and living using the basic idea (variety that continues, refreshes, and renews). 2. Using proximity thinking approaches to create, collaborate and live (this is where "sustainable proximities with sustainable variety" in goal three comes into play). 3. Blending the two previous ways to strive. For more, see Three Goals for SustaVariety Communities, Three Ways To Strive Towards These Goals, and One Recommended Next Step.

Now, here are a few more specific things to consider as you decide on your membership tier proxri and other proxri in our SustaVariety membership community and/or for the course. These things include a general approach when deciding how to proxri, your initial proxri, your ongoing proxri (including two important ways you can create, grow and spread SustaVariety), your membership benefits, and your non-financial proxri:

  • Here's a General Approach When Deciding How to Proxri (Useful in Many Situations)

    — Basically, you consider the proximity, including your benefits, your circumstances, the other party’s circumstances, and some wider context, and then proxri as appropriate. For more, the site proxri.org has a page called Six Steps in Deciding How to Proxri with a good overview and general introduction.

  • Your Initial Proxri

    — You'll know more about how this course and the proximity thinking framework has helped you, and how you want to proxri, after you've taken the course and gotten some benefits from proximity thinking. So, you might want to proxri a lower amount to start. Also, remember that since the membership proxri are monthly, you can spread out your proxri for this course over time. And you can change membership tiers or cancel anytime.

  • Your Ongoing Proxri 

    — Choosing and adjusting your ongoing proxri relates strongly to the suggested goals of our SustaVariety community mentioned above, especially the third goal about creating sustainable proximities with sustainable variety. Since I'm spearheading this at first, helping me focus can make a difference, which is about creating a more sustainable proximity with sustainable variety for me. However, before long, more collaborative efforts will begin, and then it will be about creating more sustainable proximities with sustainable variety for those collaborating. So, here are two important ways you can create, grow and spread SustaVariety:

    (1) — Help me focus more of my efforts on SustaVariety-related projects by helping me quit or reduce the time I spend earning money in other ways. Check my circumstances to see the percent of my income from my projects (which are all SustaVariety-related) as well as other aspects of my quality of life, which should help you decide how to proxri with money and in other ways. My circumstances will be updated on an ongoing basis (since it's a ProxMonitor), so you can check to see how I'm doing and adjust accordingly. As our efforts to create, grow and spread SustaVariety evolve, we will likely develop a team or teams, and then we'll create a circumstances ProxMonitor for the team(s) so you can see how we're doing and adjust your proxri accordingly. These ProxMonitors also relate to the third goal, as they help track and assess.
     
    (2) — Support, spread and/or get involved in collaborative teams, projects, processes, infrastructure and tools that create, grow and spread SustaVariety. These efforts might benefit from and need a variety of financial and non-financial proxri from you. Of course these efforts will likely need financial proxri. Non-financial proxri you might provide include actually getting involved yourself in some of these collaborative teams, projects, processes, infrastructure and tools, and/or spreading them so other people find them, try them and get involved too. Similar to point one just above, we'll create circumstances ProxMonitors so you can see how these collaborative efforts are progressing, and then you'll know better how you can proxri to support them and/or get involved yourself. These ProxMonitors also relate to the third goal, as they help track and assess.

    Your ongoing proxri in support of the above two important ways to create, grow and spread SustaVariety should benefit yourself and others.

  • Your Membership Benefits

    — To some extent, you'll want to consider the membership benefits of the tier you choose. However, the good news is that for all of the Sustaining Tiers, the benefits are the same, allowing you to adjust your tier amount (to proxri more or less) without worrying so much about gaining or losing benefits. And all of the tiers are set up as flex tiers, which allows flexibility and supports SustaVariety. With flex tiers, part of your proxri can go towards your tier benefits, part can go towards the course, and as discussed above, part can go towards me and related collaborative efforts. You won't have to tell anyone which parts of your proxri are for what. It's just that you'll have the flexibility to think of them that way. Here are details about the membership benefits of different tier levels, including an explanation of the term flex tiers.

  • Your Non-Financial Proxri

    — Non-financial proxri are limited only by your imagination. As far as suggestions for your non-financial proxri, in addition to telling people about this course and about SustaVariety, and non-financial proxri mentioned above, here are a few other non-financial ways you might proxri: writing a review of the course or giving feedback, subscribing on YouTube, liking on Facebook, referrals, networking, collaborations, trying some of the groups and projects mentioned at loughry.com, as well as exploring and sharing some of our other services (events, collaboration/coaching, idea sessions, speaking, consulting). A few more suggestions for non-financial proxri are here.

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➤ Your Three Next Steps to Join and Start this Course

Note — For an overview of this section, you can start at the beginning at Here's Your Onramp.

Below are your three next steps to become a member of our SustaVariety membership community and start this course.

  1. Sign up for the trials of this course.

    — If you want more details about the trials and bonuses, they're available below in the next section. Sign up for the Trials + Bonusesand continue with step two.
     
  2. Join our SustaVariety membership community at any tier level.

    — Explore and decide on your membership tier (and its associated benefits). The section just above called Things to Consider in Deciding How to Proxri can help. Then join here using the same email address you used for your trials, upload a profile photo that shows your face, and continue with step three.

  3. Let me know you joined and I'll convert your trials to enrollment.

    Contact me (using the same email as steps one and two) and let me know you joined as a member. I'll then convert your trials access into a full course enrollment, usually within a day or so, and let you know. If you like, while you wait for full access, you can start the Beginnings section with your trials access. There you can get started by watching a couple videos, taking a quiz, getting your download, and learning about how course-related comments, questions and discussions work.

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Trials + Bonuses (Quizzes, Downloads)

Quickly start using and benefiting from proximity thinking by signing up for the Trials + Bonuses option. If you're motivated, you might not even need to take the full course (see the next section below for more). You'll be able to access trials of some key course videos, quizzes, activities and sections, as well as get bonuses (more on those below). You can do all this by creating a course account with the option to proxri at any time, just by completing step one of Your Three Next Steps to Join and Start this Course. There is no minimum proxri for the trials, but you are encouraged to proxri. (For more on proxri, see the section below called There is No Set Course Price.) The trials will give you an overview of proximity thinking and the ProxThink website, as well as an idea of what the full course is like. You can find out which parts of the course are available as trials by looking at the Course Curriculum near the end of this page, and then checking to see which parts are marked with clickable "Free Preview" sign-up links, even though they are not free (see the next sentence). As mentioned, rather than free, the trials are offered for no minimum proxri and you are encouraged to proxri here. AS BONUSES, the course downloads and ALL of the course quizzes (see next section) are accessible if you sign up for the trials. So you'll have the complete set of quizzes. See the next section for how that can help you. If you're ready to continue your adventures in being more alive with proximity thinking, sign up for the trials and bonuses by completing step one of Your Three Next Steps to Join and Start this Course

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All the Quizzes (Trials Bonus)

If you sign up for the trials (see previous section), you'll also get ALL of the course quizzes as a bonus. So you'll have the complete set of quizzes. You can learn a lot from the quizzes, since when you check your answers there are explanations. If you first watch the trial videos and then also study the ProxThink website and the largely self-explanatory Shared Situation Guide, after taking the quizzes, you might find you don't need to take the full course. However, based on that, you might find you do want to proxri me somehow (this is suggested), and you can proxri me right hereHowever, the minimum proxri for the full course is quite reasonable (just join our membership at any level), you can learn even more by taking the full course, and you'll get going faster. If you sign up for the trials, you can of course upgrade to the full course at any time. If you're ready to continue your adventures in being more alive with proximity thinking, complete at least step one of Your Three Next Steps to Join and Start this Course.

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Unsure about Trials vs. Full Course?

If you’re unsure whether to sign up for the trials or the full course, the following may help … 

  • Some Arguments for the Trials

    — Since the whole ProxThink site is open, you can teach yourself by reading the site while going through the Trials version, and taking the quizzes along the way to assess how you’re doing. In addition, for Stage 3 — Growth Model, there are instructions for the Shared Situation Guide right inside the guide. (For all the trials benefits, see the Trials section above.) So, you might not need to take the full course, and you’re welcome to sign up for just the trials. I don’t want you to feel like you’ve paid more money than you wanted, and you have the option to proxri me at any time for your benefits and/or to help create, grow and spread SustaVariety. Plus, you can always upgrade to the full course later.

  • Some Arguments for the Full Course

    — Taking the full course will make learning to use and benefit from the proximity thinking framework faster and more convenient for you. To take the full course, you only need to join our SustaVariety membership community at any tier level (tiers range from $2 per month to $1997 per month). When you take the full course, you can join the ProxThinkers Facebook group for questions and support, and can stay in the group after the course to continue to collaborate, connect, celebrate, and support and learn from others. Additionally, you can join the large online sessions of the Intro to ProxThink User Group, many of which focus on one of the four stages of the course, where you can ask (and maybe answer) questions, perhaps share experiences, and collaborate on what was covered in the stage, to reinforce and further speed up your progress. Similar small group sessions, at higher tier levels, may also be available. Plus, as more people take the full course by joining the membership, it will help me focus and support collaboration as described in more detail above in Things to Consider in Deciding How to Proxri. And, by taking the full course you'll also help create, grow and spread SustaVariety for yourself and others.

Hopefully the above arguments helped. If you have more questions, one option for getting them answered might be the online Pre-Course Q&A sessions I hold sometimes, which you can explore and sign up for on Eventbrite and on Meetup (check both sites if you don't find the sessions on one of them). You can also contact me via the contact page on my website. If you're ready to continue your adventures in being more alive with proximity thinking, jump to the signup button.

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Essence of Proximity Thinking

The ProxThink framework consists of three integrated parts that go with a connected world, described below. See the short videos above for a bit more of an introduction.

  • The Basics help us describe and discuss situations.

  • The ProxPatterns are especially helpful for creativity, innovation and problem-solving.

  • The Growth Model boosts collaboration and encourages growth for people who share a proximity, helping shared situations come alive. It's available as the Shared Situation Guide on the Quip mobile and desktop collaboration platform. See the next section for more on the growth model.

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Avoiding Some Painful Adjustments, with the ProxThink Growth Model

We're moving in a proximity-oriented direction, but many of our systems and modes of thought are not proximity-oriented, which may lead to some painful adjustments or enduring more dysfunctional and unenjoyable situations. In this section, let's expand on that, see the results, and explore solutions: How are we moving in a proximity-oriented direction? One, our greater connectedness via networks, two, our greater awareness of the connectedness of things in most situations, and three, the greater number of challenges we face that are shared situations and often contextual and/or environmental, mean we're moving in a proximity-oriented direction. Some examples of proximity-oriented shared situations that could benefit from more connected, proximity-oriented approaches include sustainability, income inequality, global conflicts, surveillance and climate change, as well as regional, local, neighborhood, business and organization-level challenges like shared projects, shared spaces, and shared resources. However, many of our systems and modes of thought are still very element-oriented and relationship-oriented, making collaboration and growth more difficult than they need to be in a connected world. With the big challenges we're facing, we need better collaboration. Especially for shared situations, where collaboration is so important. I think our connected, networked world has massive amounts of potential we’re not leveraging because we’re using outdated concepts to relate to it, and not using proximity-oriented approaches for collaboration. So for some situations, especially shared situations, unless we change our approaches, we can get forced into some painful adjustments or undesirable options at the last minute, or if we don't act, endure more and more dysfunctional and unenjoyable situations. The ProxThink growth model offers an approach created for our current more proximity-oriented reality, and can transform how we collaborate. We can still use element-oriented and relationship-oriented approaches where and when they are appropriate. But we’ll have connected-world, proximity-oriented approaches for more proximity-oriented situations, and thus a better set of tools and a better portfolio of options, rather than relying too much on a few less connected-world approaches that are more and more out of step with our times. The growth model has been applied in the sustainable proximities approach and the Shared Situation Guide, and provides a model for many other applications and implementations. Beginning to use this new approach to connected collaboration will involve some learning and experimentation, but I think it’s worth the effort. Why? It could be more effective for some shared situations, and also more enjoyable and even more fun. Then if we want we can still do some things in older, less effective and less enjoyable ways, but at least we would know it’s not required. But if there are better ways, why would we? Why would we? For a longer discussion, see: For Shared Challenges and Shared Situations, We Need Networked, Proximity-Oriented Approaches. However, to get a better sense of which situations, and which approaches to situations, are more element-oriented, more relationship-oriented, and more proximity-oriented, you'll need more familiarity with the proximity thinking framework. And the fastest way to get that is to take this course! After the course, at the very least, I think you'll start to see how a proximity can be more of a living thing when we add connected collaboration and use some of the processes of the ProxThink growth model. And if you do, that's enough to start experimenting and working with others in different ways. That alone could start to make a difference in how we navigate the future and meet our big challenges. If you're ready to continue your adventures in being more alive with proximity thinking, jump to the signup button.

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➤ Four Stages of Your Transformation + What You'll Do in This Course

In this four-stage, self-paced online course you can take whenever works best, you’ll get proximity-oriented approaches for creating, collaborating and living in our connected and increasingly proximity-oriented world. After a Beginnings section to get oriented, you'll progress through four stages, with each stage building on the previous stage. By Stage 4, you should be transformed by experiences with proximity thinking ideas and processes, as you understand how the framework can help us be more alive and how it can lead to more sustainable variety. You should also be starting to implement it as appropriate in your life and in some shared situations with a collaborative mobile app. You likely won't be an expert, but should be a strong intermediate. Even if you only make it through Stage 1 or 2 or 3, after each stage, you'll already have new approaches that should benefit you in a wide variety of situations. The four stages are detailed in the Course Curriculum at the end of this page, but below is an overview of what you'll gain from each stage. After that, you'll find more about what you'll do in the course.

  • Your Stages of Transformation 

    1 — Relate to situations in more general, useful ways with the ProxThink Basics.

    2 — Leverage ProxPatterns (PPs) to boost creativity, innovation and problem-solving.

    3 — Collaborate with the ProxThink Growth Model so shared situations come alive.

    4 — Blend Stages 1, 2 and 3 to meet challenges and be more alive.

    Details below …

  • Stage 1 — Relate to situations in more general, useful ways with the ProxThink Basics.

    After this stage, you should be able to think about and relate to situations in more general, structured and useful ways, using the foundation, the core idea, and four basic terms. Even if you stop here, you'll benefit.

  • Stage 2 — Leverage ProxPatterns (PPs) to boost creativity, innovation and problem-solving.

    After this stage, you'll have some valuable new concepts, patterns, processes and tools for creativity, innovation and problem-solving that should work in a wide variety of situations. Even if you stop here, you'll benefit.

  • Stage 3 — Collaborate with the ProxThink Growth Model so shared situations come alive.

    After this stage, you should be able to think about and relate to shared situations in ways that are more appropriate for our connected world. More specifically, you'll have four valuable processes for helping the proximity of a shared situation come alive, letting people in the shared situation collaborate more effectively and enjoyably. And you'll have practiced using the growth model processes in the collaborative mobile Shared Situation Guide, to help the proximity of your shared situations become more of a living thing. Even if you stop here, you'll benefit.

  • Stage 4 — Blend Stages 1, 2 and 3 to meet challenges and be more alive.

    By this stage, you should be able to use what you've covered so far to be more alive, individually and with others. You should be able to think more clearly by applying the structures of the Basics, be more creative and innovative with the ProxPatterns, and collaborate more enjoyably and effectively in shared situations using the Growth Model processes. Not only that, you should be beginning to switch between and blend the three parts of the ProxThink framework as needed and as appropriate. In addition, you should continue to get better at using the framework with other people, including your friends and family, your groups, organizations and communities, your region, and even globally. By this stage, you should be creating and enjoying more sustainable variety (SustaVariety), one of the keys to being more alive. This stage is less of a destination, and more of an ongoing journey. As some say, the reward in life is the journey. You should have gained some new ways to make it a great journey!
     

Here's more about what you'll do in the course:

  • Throughout the course, in the ProxThinkers Facebook group, you can interact with people who are taking the course, as well as those who've taken it previously. Only those who are taking or have taken the course can join. There, you can support and learn from each other. As your instructor, I'll be in the group to assist as well. You can also, if you choose, connect with people in the group, collaborate with them, and celebrate too.

  • In the Beginnings section, after some quick orientations to the course player and info about how to comment, ask questions and discuss, you'll start with an intro video (you may have already seen it here at the top of this page). The intro video includes a story about the beginnings of proximity thinking, gives you an overview of the framework, and is followed by a two-question quiz. Also, there are downloads you can print and hang for quick reference.

  • Stages 1, 2 and 3 introduce the three main parts of proximity thinking (Basics, ProxPatterns, Growth Model) as mentioned above in Essence of Proximity Thinking, through a number of short videos, and include an orientation to the website. Along the way you'll take a number of short quizzes and do activities that reinforce what you're learning and put it to use. Also included are options for anyone taking the course to ask questions and post comments, which may be replied to by the instructor and/or other students (you might get proxri for your efforts). Questions and comments can be posted in both the course itself and in the ProxThinkers Facebook group (where you can also search for previous similar questions with answers). In the activities for the section about the ProxThink growth model, you'll have the option to begin using the Shared Situation Guide in a collaborative mobile app, which will be easier since you're taking this course.

  • In Stage 4 — Be More Alive, you'll find more about how what you've learned so far is integrated, should help us be more alive, and should lead to sustainable variety (SustaVariety). Then you'll be invited to explore opportunities and adventures related to getting involved in some groups and projects which leverage and extend what you've learned. For more on the groups and projects, see Next Step Groups farther down this page, as well as loughry.com.

Again, you'll find more details about the four stages in the Course Curriculum at the end of this page. If you're ready to continue your adventures in being more alive with proximity thinking now, jump to the signup button.

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Four-Week Groups and One-on-One Coaching

As mentioned above in Four Stages ..., this self-paced course has built-in Q&A and commenting, as well as the Facebook group where ProxThinkers can collaborate, connect, celebrate, and support and learn from each other. However, if you prefer an even more personalized, social and interactive learning experience, several options are available. The first one below is available now (with a special offer), and the other two are in development. 

  • One-on-One Coaching - (see SPECIAL OFFER below) - Get one-on-one coaching and support with your instructor and guide David Loughry (that's me!). This can include time for questions, discussions about the course and how you can use it in your life, job and business, as well as collaboration on some of your situations. Since not many have taken this course yet, here's a SPECIAL OFFER: To help you succeed and help me find out where you may be having issues with this course, proximity thinking, and/or the Shared Situation Guide, you'll get up to 90 minutes per month of one-on-one coaching and support (limit of two months total) if you become a member of our SustaVariety community at the Launchpads level (and you'll get many other benefits as well). Get just one month if you want, and then change to a lower tier level and still have access to the ProxThink User Group. We'll connect one-on-one via phone calls and/or online meetings with simultaneous screen sharing and a voice call. Plus, you'll benefit future students by helping this content (the course, the shared situation guide, etc.) get better with your questions, feedback and comments (you might even get proxri at some point for this). This special offer won't be available indefinitely, or the required membership tier level may change, so sign up for the full course here, and in the process join our SustaVariety membership at the Launchpads tier level or above. For questions, more information and/or scheduling, contact me here.

  • Public Four-Week Groups - (in development, be a beta-tester!) - Each month, people can join a group taking this online course together. There will be four weekly goals and four weekly online sessions with the instructor, which correspond to the Four Stages of the course and your transformation. (If you live in Los Angeles, there may be in-person sessions.) This course is in development. To be notified when it becomes available, sign up on this page for the self-paced course or the trials. If you'd like to be part of the beta-testing for this course, contact me here. If you have a custom group, see the next bullet.

  • Custom Four-Week Groups - (coming soon) - For your team, organization, neighborhood, group of friends, etc., this option lets a custom group pursue the four weekly goals and experience the four weekly sessions with the instructor together. It provides a customized group experience, and can focus on examples and situations related to your specific group. For more information and scheduling, contact me here.

If you need other, more customized learning experiences or have a large organization, please reach out. You can contact me here.

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Next Step Groups

While taking this course, you'll become a member of the ProxThinkers Facebook group for collaborations, connections, celebrations, support and further learning. Plus, as mentioned above, you'll also find out about various online group sessions you can join, which leverage your new knowledge and experience with proximity thinking. These include online group sessions of the Intro to ProxThink User Group, the Artsdown Pioneers, the Shared Situation Guide Experimenters, and the Sustainable Variety Network. The Intro to ProxThink User Group especially makes a great complement to this course, as many of these user group sessions will focus on one or another of the four stages of your transformation. In step two of Your Three Next Steps to Join and Start this Course, you'll join our SustaVariety membership community and gain access to these online sessions. For more info about each of the above online group sessions, see the Sustaining Tiers levels of our SustaVariety membership community. If you're ready to continue your adventures in being more alive with proximity thinking now, jump to the signup button.

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There is No Set Course Price

There is no set price for this course. Instead, you're asked to proxri (pronounced prox'ree). What are proxri? I've set up a website to introduce people to proxri at proxri.org, but you will likely learn enough about proxri on this course page to make a decision about joining and starting the course. And, in this course, you'll learn in more detail about proxri, which is short for ProxReward(s). Basically, proxri are rewards made with the proximity in mind. A proxri may include money, things, services, ideas, tasks, relationships, actions, and so on, as well as a combination of these. It's an approach more suited to our connected world. Proxri, along with three other ProxThink growth model processes you'll learn about in this course, make a proximity more like a neighborhood, and let people relate to a proximity more like a person or more like one thing. Creating a sustainable neighborhood (a sustainable proximity) for this course is about two important things (helping me focus and supporting collaboration) which are described in more detail above in Things to Consider in Deciding How to Proxri. In support of creating a sustainable proximity around this course, for the Trials of this course, rather than offering free trials, instead there is no obligation but you're asked for an optional proxri. And for the full course, rather than paying a set course price, you have the flexibility of choosing your tier level proxri in our SustaVariety membership community, and also the flexibility of rewarding anytime with additional financial and/or non-financial proxri as appropriate. Your membership tier level involves a monthly payment which you can cancel at any time, as well as decrease or increase. Full details about joining the membership and starting the course are above in Here's Your Onramp.

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Your Instructor & Guide

ProxThinker & SustaVariety Collaborator

David Loughry

I've always been interested in what makes life great. What makes people feel alive, excited, vital and engaged? What makes life enjoyable? I think a good answer is what I call “sustainable variety” and “SustaVariety.” You could say it’s variety that continues and grows, refreshes and renews. It’s variety that doesn’t become static, yet also isn’t so great that it becomes chaotic. You could say that sustainable variety, in many ways, is what nature does.

I don’t think sustainable variety in our lives just happens, at least on a consistent basis. I do think there are things we can to do to increase our chances of it. That's partly what this course is about.

The idea of sustainable variety grew out of my work developing the proximity thinking (ProxThink) framework. ProxThink is a proximity-focused framework for creativity, innovation, problem-solving, sustainability and living. I think sustainable proximities and sustainable variety evolve together, reinforcing each other. The ProxThink Basics, ProxPatterns and Growth Model help create sustainable proximities and sustainable variety.

I developed proximity thinking over decades, integrating a diverse array of knowledge and experiences in the arts, sciences, design and business. I also have a BA in mathematics and an MBA.

For more about me, or to contact me, please visit my bio page on loughry.com.

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Course Curriculum

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