Thursday, November 14, 2013

How Do You Stretch Your Thinking?

“If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; But if you really make them think, they'll hate you.” Don Marquis
For those of you who are surrounded by people who are determined to make you really think, it is easy to blame them for the aftermath of thinking. When you really think, it can be a problem. Why? Authentic thinking is often followed by
confusion and uncertainty. When you think you are thinking, you are merely adding to that which you already know. That act is pleasant because you feel like you are learning something new.

However, when someone makes you really think, you may have to consider possibilities that have no relationship to what you already know. In some cases, it may nullify what you know. When that happens, it can force you to doubt the validity of your knowledge and choices in life. Who wants to do that when everything seems to be just fine?

Therefore, the person who made you really think seems to be the culprit for your discomfort. When you are surrounded by people like that, it can be frustrating.

In the workforce, it is easy to silence people who make you think. In extreme cases, they are fired. They seem like smart Asses and no one wants to work with them. Except, before you excommunicate them, because they won’t color between the lines, consider the asset they can be to your team or organization.

The person who makes you think may cause confusion initially. On the other hand, many new inventions have caused confusion, frustration and uncertainty in the beginning. Yet, mankind’s progress depends on those who see the world from a new perspective.

Instead of silencing or throwing out a potentially brilliant person, start leveraging their perspective. Help them develop more effective communication skills. Ask them questions that force them to simplify their thought process. Ask them to articulate the benefits of their idea.  Just because you don’t understand their vision doesn’t mean it’s a waste of time and effort.

At the same time, you may have to rethink what you call reality. When you refuse to rethink your belief system, you become the culprit of invalidating anything that does not agree with your past experiences. When in reality, no one person can see or think of everything. What you know is such a small fraction of what’s possible that you have to depend on others to stretch your imagination.

With that said, instead of hating those who make you really think, go out of your way to find them. Engage them in conversations that alter your view of the world and yourself. Instead of confusion and frustration, you will find those who make you think are able to enrich your life and give you access to sides of yourself that you never knew existed. And that’s just one way to discover the riches you possess inside. 

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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