Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Do You Think What You are Thinking Is Thinking?

In a society that craves instant results and fantastic quarterly earnings, taking action is more important than thinking. As long as you are doing something, the belief is there will be great results. This philosophy has become so pervasive that even the CEO is expected to function similarly. Except, without sufficient time to think clearly about outcomes, how will you know if you are moving in an optimal direction?

At some point, we have to stop, look and listen. While brainstorming with others is important, we need individual time to ponder. Otherwise, we may be on a rollercoaster that is headed for a brick wall. Yet, we keep saying ‘go faster’.

As the pace increases, we lose sight of
the distinction between thinking and having thoughts. We believe they are the same and it is a matter of semantics. To have thoughts requires one to consider what is already known. Thought depends on memory. We use past knowledge and experience to assess situations or new combinations. To authentically think, one thinks about the future in a way that has not been thought. Thinking requires creativity. To do this requires one to abandon exiting thoughts or common sense and think that which has not been thought. At first, thinking can seem confusing because we are educated to always have the right answer. However, when thinking, the questions can be more valuable than the answer.

For most businesses, the idea of dedicating time to think sounds absurd. Companies need results now. There always seems to be a sense of urgency for everything and thinking may appear to disrupt the process.

On the other hand, brilliant minds are the initiators of new technology. The inventors like Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs have all spent considerable time thinking about new possibilities. As we use their creations, it takes the intelligence of the user to modify and optimize it. To do that requires a few minutes of thinking each day. The benefit will be increased effectiveness with current tools. When the end user of new technology has time to be creative with it, he or she can enhance the utility value.

If you would like to increase effectiveness in your professional or personal life, take a step back. Instead of having thoughts about each step you will take going forward, think about outcomes. What is the end game for you? If you continue on the same path, will you achieve your desires? Will your current resources get you there?

If you consider thinking as a tool, it has no restrictions except for the ones you impose. If you can see the end game without so called common sense limits, what changes will you have to make in yourself to fulfill those outcomes? If time is a resource, how should you manage it?

In reality, thinking is a free tool that is accessible to everyone. It can yield the greatest return when used properly. And I say it is the most under utilized tool. It’s time to rethink the acquisition of knowledge. Instead of spending inordinate amounts of time memorizing someone else’s thoughts, become the originator of something new. The reward will be greater and you will become much more valuable in your profession and personal life.

What new thinking do you think you will think today? 

What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know. 


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