Who doesn’t want to become a better thinker? A major ingredient towards winning in life, better thinking helps us efficiently manage our daily lives and achieve our big goals. It empowers us to formulate good plans, handle setbacks, make prompt decisions, and solve problems.
Here are 10 powerful tips to help you become a better thinker so you can live your best life:
1. Want It. In today’s society, we are swarmed with information and opinions coming from news, social media, subject matter experts, and so-called “thought leaders,” to name a few. Such sources may increase intellectual laziness if you give them the power to tell you what to think! Avoid stagnancy by consciously practicing critical thinking amid this onslaught of information, views, and beliefs. You have the natural ability to think. Cultivate it or lose it!
2. Be Humble. Self-confidence is good, but not when it turns into a bloated ego, or hubris as the Greeks would call it. It’s important to not confuse the two. So if you think you are the “best there is,” – you better check again. And even if you are… there is always more opportunity to learn and grow.
3. Be Specific. Because it’s impossible to cover all fields of discipline, focus on your strengths. Brilliant scientists don’t necessarily make brilliant politicians… and vice versa.
We’ve been blessed with a few polymaths in history such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. But in our increasingly complex world, such luminaries are a rare breed.
4. Work! While all of us have natural thinking abilities, becoming a better “thinker” requires study, experimentation, and reflection.
Great thinkers are not naturally born. They are molded from conscious and continuous work. Behind many of Thomas Edison’s revolutionary inventions are countless failures and restarts. He worked. Einstein worked. Ford worked. Jobs worked.
Make each day count by working towards your goal.
5. Learn From The Past. Never lose valuable lessons from past experience. Consistently review leadership, management, and strategic decisions that you (and your colleagues) have made, and then analyze how they impacted your organization.
6. Consider All Sides. Most significant issues have multiple stakeholders who hold different sets of facts and experiences, so it’s vital to consider multiple sides of an issue. When we have “tunnel-vision” aimed at only one point of view, we greatly limit our ability to properly evaluate (and solve) the problem.
7. Think “Wider.” We often want to put an issue “under the microscope,” but doing so risks overlooking the context of where the issue resides. Yes, we need specialists, but sometimes a problem needs a generalist. Retailing, for example, is going through a massive ecosystem shift. Does your store need remodeling, or do you need a store? Or should you complement your store with an ecommerce website?
8. Check Your Assumptions. Ensure that your assumptions are regularly monitored and updated based on proven facts and changing market conditions. Loose assumptions can lead to poorly implemented strategies. And when they fall apart, your strategic thinking will eventually collapse with them. Want to see the effects of eroded assumptions? Consider what happened to Folgers, Sears, MySpace, Macy’s, Polaroid, and IBM. What assumptions did they fail to monitor?
9. Consider The Consequences Of Your Actions. It’s widely accepted thinking that all solutions create new problems, and that all actions have both intended and unintended consequences.
Consider the unintended consequences of organizational “high-potential” programs so you can make adjustments and mitigate such risks.
10. Be Skeptical. In our increasingly online world, everyone seems to have a platform to voice their version of “truth,” regardless of its validity. Maintain a curious and questioning attitude so you remain vigilant and well-positioned to examine all information that comes to your attention.
This last tip (“Be Skeptical”) is the bookend to the first (“Want It”). In other words, you have to Want It and you have to Be Skeptical.
The old X-Files TV program had a well-known tagline: “The truth is out there…”
But let’s add, “…but don’t accept it as truth until you validate it for yourself.”
Take Your Thinking To A Higher Level
The MindPrep Resource Center is your “mind’s ally.” Choose from our wide selection of workshops, mini courses, and workbooks that will serve as your guide to becoming a better thinker, at your own pace, and with proven results.