February 11th – National Inventors’ Day, and curiosity

Today sees the start of another Signpost experiment, when I’ll be producing the recorded signposts just about as close to live as is possible. There’s also now the possibility of seeing what others feel about the day’s content, and contributing your own thoughts if you like.

Today is National Inventors’ Day in the USA, the anniversary of the birth of Thomas Edison, a man who knew a thing or two about the power of curiosity – the central theme of today’s signposts.

Please feel free to add to the conversation. No rules. We’re making this up as we go!

44 thoughts on “February 11th – National Inventors’ Day, and curiosity

  1. I just LOVE the recorded Signpost feedback! I look forward to it so much when doing the rating. It just seems so personal to hear that “hello”!!!
    On another note…I just don’t get the “chirpy” idea. I’ve heard of “chipper” to describe feeling good…but I wish there was a word that taped into the energetic dimension…and “chirpy” just feels strange to me…because I’m not a Brit?

    1. Hmm. It’s so tricky finding those more casual terms for emotions that work across borders. Thanks for the super enthusiasm, though, Georgeanna.

    2. As someone from the U.S., I also agree that I don’t really know what to make of the question of how “chirpy” I am feeling. To me, “chirpy” sounds like a personality description that doesn’t usually apply to me – so even if I’m in a great mood, I might not say I’m feeling “chirpy”. I think of someone like Flo from the Progressive commercials as being chirpy…. If the previous comment is correct that chirpy is intended to mean cheerful, I’ve definitely been misinterpreting that question. Perhaps some additional definitions or synonyms for the words would be helpful, at least when someone starts using the app?

  2. Hi Georgeanna, maybe it is a British thing, but if we are chirpy we are cheerful…and I think chipper was used many moons ago – think I remember hearing it in old films from the black and white era (repeats, of course!). Lively is another way of looking at chirpy which might tap into your energetic feelings?
    Whichever, I hope you have been feeling chirpy today!
    Best wishes,

  3. I love listening to Jon’s comments and try to take them to heart.
    And the accent isn’t so bad, either.
    You’ve done a great job, Jon. Don’t know how you have done all this in such a short time.
    And I’m not angry about being angry!


    1. Thanks, Marilu. The work on Signpost has only been possible because of the fantastic responsiveness of you and our other Signposters.

      I can’t claim any credit for my accent. All down to my parents. 😎

  4. I love receiving the feedback and hearing Jon’s voice addressing a particular issue that comes up for me, mainly anxiety. I do like the questions, simple and easy to answer. I also love receiving the text messages with an encouraging thought. It makes me smile. Thank you Jon!

  5. Hello to the moodnudges community\and a big thanks to Jon for working so hard to give us a new tool to help us manage our depression.
    As one of the early Moodscope users who has been using it for several years as well as funding it , I am used to the format of signpost. I realise it is different in some ways though. I like the reminders, the questions are easy and I thing that hearing Jon give advice is more powerful than daily emails which I get from Moodscope and don’t read as most of them are too personally attuned and not of direct relevance to me. I am continuing to use both at the moment so I am just giving my short term view for now. Overall I think signpost works very well and I like it. I will review again when I have been using it for longer. Massive thanks again Jon and if we decide=an help with the funding then please let us know as I would like to help

    1. Hello Piers, lovely to have you hear – and I’m so happy you’re still using Moodscope. Fantastic of you to have helped fund it.

      It’s kind of you to say you like the idea of Signpost. There’s much work to be done, and I’ll be delighted to have your ongoing feedback as the thing takes more shape.

      Thank you.

  6. I agree with all the above. For an English person, chirpy is a great word whereas chipper is frightfully old- fashioned(!) and sounds too much like “chippy” which is more negative- chip on the shoulder?
    I would welcome the word “agitated” in the list. I often feel agitated on days when I know I have a lot to get done and am not sure if I can fit it all in!

    Also: although I love getting the reminder by text it seems to keep binging until I check in . But I’m not keen on doing it when I’m with other people. I know it’s there but prefer to wait until I’ve got a quiet, solitary moment.
    Hearing Jon’s voice is much more immediate than reading a message 👍

      1. Thank you Jon- I had a suspicion it might be the phone but didn’t have the courage to investigate. Thank you for the link

  7. I also love Jon’s voice. It’s gentle and reassuring – and comes over as very personal. It’s fabulous that it is specific to my current mood.
    I’m still coming to terms with how I interpret each quiz word. I’m finding ‘peeved’ tricky. These words are more nuanced than the Moodscope quiz words. I assume this is to combine more than 1 emotion, thus reducing the quiz from 20 to 11 words.

    1. Thanks for the helpful thoughts, Susannah. I suspect I’ll be doing some thinking about the emotions and feelings in the questionnaire! I’d aimed to keep them relatively friendly and conversational, but in doing that, I fear I’ve made a list which isn’t as clear as it could be.

      But this is exactly why running a trial is such an invaluable way to proceed. Changing things at the moment is pretty easy, which may not be the case as the app is in serious development.

  8. I agree with the rest in say thank you Jon for your hard work in putting Signpost together. I like the immediacy of your spoken messages and combined with the follow up text, is very helpful to me in managing my moods.

    I like the word ‘chirpy ‘ too, but then I’m British as well.

  9. I don’t like being told how I feel! I prefer to say how I’m feeling and have guidance from there. So, it agitated me when Jon says, “it looks as though you are feeling x today” as this feels limiting and rigid.

    1. Sorry to hear that, Claire. What sort of guidance might be more helpful for you? Something more general, perhaps? It’s so helpful to have your honest feedback, absolutely.

      1. Yes, something more general might help but if it is helping others like this then this app may not be for me and that’s fine. I prefer to have a view of my state and be with it rather than be told what is best for me… I think it might be about self regulation and self reliance ….

  10. For me, it is working a bit like CBT worked a few years ago when I was diagnosed as clinical depressed. At first I found the ‘homework’ my therapist gave me absurdly banal, though I did it without fail, but with great scepticism. Then I realised that it was, somehow, working, just because I was paying attention and making an effort, I suppose. And now I find that daily giving a little thought to what I am feeling, considering whether this is acceptable to me in the present circumstances, and/or whatever I can or want to effect and adjustment helps me stay on track. So Signposting is a great tool for maintaining that sort of personal discipline. I am always aware that I could slip back if I am not vigilant. Contentment is a muscle, it seems, that needs to be exercised!

    1. Now that’s fascinating, Sarah. I agree that a therapist’s assignments can often feel over-simplistic. But the point, with which I think you’re agreeing, is that it’s often terribly simple things that actually work.

      So right, too, about the idea of emotional health as a muscle that needs regular exercise.

      And I do love your use of the term “Signposting.”

      I might just borrow that.

  11. Hi, I’m really enjoying this mood tracking tool. I understand the comment above about not liking being told how you feel but personally I really enjoy the feedback because sometimes it’s hard to identify which negative emotions are causing a low mood. Once identified I find them easier to deal with, especially with the methods John suggests. Thanks for your work on this, I’m enjoying being part of the testing phase.

  12. I’m really enjoying the daily check ins ! It makes me stop for a moment to scan how I’m feeling! I’ve already noticed that no matter how I’m feeling – I am consistently hopeful! Thanks so much for providing this method of checking on myself!

  13. Could we have a transcript of your comments? I’m often not in a situation where I can listen to them – and then the moment is lost.

    1. I agree with this comment. I love having the audio however it’s sometimes just not convenient to listen whereas reading is private. Perhaps I need to ensure I have headphones to hand routinely

      1. Thanks, Nicole and Mary. I think it would certainly be possible to make a written transcript available. Let’s think about a way of doing this that still encourages people to stop and engage. I’ll add it to the To-Do list. Fantastic of you both to have suggested this.

  14. I too am enjoying hearing the advice rather than reading it on screen. It feels more personal and John, your voice, pace and tone is perfect for me. Also the typeform works so easily on my phone too, so it feels easy to check in – not like another chore. I was quite surprised when I heard you mention today’s date, something I wasn’t expecting as I imagined this advice was recorded well in advance. I felt compelled to write and thank you for all the work you are doing to make this feel very easy and relevent. Best wishes.

    1. Thanks for such highly positive feedback, Taragh. The first Signposts were indeed recorded in advance, but I’m keen to get a feel for how things feel when it’s a lot more dynamic – and everyone gets the same “wave” of content on the same day. Before, someone who joined on a Thursday would hear the same Signpost as the one someone else heard when they joined the previous Monday, if that makes sense.

      Making them more “live” seems to feel more like a radio broadcast than a podcast (if that, too, makes sense!)

  15. Hi Jon. Thank you. I applaud your curiosity and desire to make Signpost more relevant. Apart for the additional workload for you, I welcome the prospect of receiving ‘nearly live’, more topical and conversational daily Signposts. Curiosity is a good index of my mental well-being. A significant dip in mood dulls any interest I might have had in my environment. My lack of curiosity indirectly leads to loss of self-esteem because I feel I can add nothing new to a conversation to and relationships may suffer. Go well.

    1. Such interesting reflections, MA. Thank you. It’s amazing to reflect on how many levels a simple idea like encouraging us to be more curious can work.

      Really appreciate your wise thoughts.

  16. I’m enjoying trialling signpost and grateful to you Jon for all of your work. I too am working at really understanding the nuances of the emotion words. For me peeved and disgruntled overlap somewhat.
    I needed today’s feedback, asking ‘why’ behind the feeling. My result showed anxious whereas I thought I was more disgruntled/ put-out. However, asking ‘why’ is equally valuable for that result.
    Also, I recognise the value of tracking my emotions to help me to manage the behaviours associated with them. This may be avoiding destructive behaviour or increasing the positive stuff. Very much need to to be doing this at the moment!

    1. Thanks, Mary. So happy to have you hear, experimenting with Signpost. Others above have suggested that the terms in the questionnaire are, at times, less clear than they could be.

      I’m sure they will be revisited once this (now two-week) trial period is complete.

      Thanks for talking about how you’re finding it useful, already. That’s so great to hear.

  17. Hi Jon and all. As you know, Jon, my messages have not been coming through at all, and we think this might be sthing to do with either the phone itself or the numbering style/system used here in Spain.

    But I have been reading these msgs, and find myself responding to the ‘chirpy’ problem. As a Australian Brit, I find chirpy a bit ‘naff’ (!) and certainly too British. Perhaps ‘lively’ might cut the mustard (again, !). Or ‘bright’, unless that is too connotive of intelligence/smartness. Or ‘perky’ maybe? {I note this is in the Collins (US) thesaurus; if problem persists I’ll consult my Ox/Cambridge ones – not to hand at the mo (!)}. What about good old ‘cheerful’? This could run and run!

    1. Thanks for the really helpful suggestions and thoughts, Barbara. Actually, I find myself gravitating towards, as you say, good old cheerful.

      You’ve got me thinking, too. These days, with so many online tools, I wonder if there’s a way to check out terms for international acceptability? So you could see that chirpy isn’t right before, as I did, stumbling into it.

      1. It’s Georgeanna, again, I really resonated with Barbara’s comment. I like ‘lively’ or ‘bright’ or ‘perky’ or, my favorite might be ‘energetic’ or ‘energized.’ I also like the idea of ‘cheerful’ quite a lot. I’m very appreciative of learning ‘chirpy.’ In all my reading and trips I’ve never come across it but I’m looking forward to my next trip to the UK so I can tell everyone I’m feeling ‘chirpy’ (because I’m a VERY curious person and visiting the UK provides so much to be curious about and so much to feel chirpy about every morning) and seeing their reactions.

  18. To support much of the feedback already given, Jon. Look forward every time to your voice and the overall feeling of calm it gives me. Love the immediacy of hearing the date!

    I also agree that chirpy is not quite right- sometimes I don’t know yet, as I haven’t spoken to anyone!

    Peeved and disgruntled do seem to overlap.

    I’ve often chosen so-so when I wanted to say ‘not bad at all’ and it seemed the closest.

    Just one tech question…I have to click on the graph twice to add a comment- once to choose to comment and then again on the red graph to reveal the text box. Am I doing something wrong (very likely!)

    For me, you hit just the right balance between taking the feelings and emotions seriously while making very down-to-earth and sometimes ‘ordinary’ suggestions, which we so easily may overlook.

    Thank you, Jon, so very much, for all you do.

    1. Thanks, Julie, for your super enthusiasm – just the job for keeping me thoroughly motivated.

      On the technical matter, you’re doing the right thing to click twice. It’s not ideal, as things should be single-click really, but for now it does indeed take two, in a Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston style.

  19. I’ve read through all this and agree a lot, cheerful is good!
    I am worried though about how much work this is for you Jon, making the next Signpost really daily relevant seems to me would be burdensome for you or perhaps I just don’t know enough about the techie bit?

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