Why do we struggle to think differently

Thinking differently for people is such a struggle.  I am not sure why!  Is it that we don’t know how?  We can’t stop thinking about what we already know.  Are we so tied emotionally to what we already know.  Do we allow our own insecurities and biases that we might lose our power if something changes.  Steve Jobs has said on many occasions that his hallucinations on some of the drugs he did, allowed him to think differently.  I don’t want to go down that road.

Yesterday, I was in an all day meeting with some very smart people.  Most of them have earned their masters degrees (not that it alone makes them smarter, but it doesn’t hurt).  Also, many of them have years of experiences around the business that they are in.

My goal for our meeting was really a few things:  A) To listen well.  Facilitate a conversation on what they (the people doing the work every day) can tell me about our business. B) See what they think about our current processes. C) Ask them for input on any way we can tweak what we are doing to make it better. D) Lastly, I wanted introduce thought-provoking ideas that challenge them to think differently than what they already know.  I feel like we accomplished A-C well, but I failed miserably on D.  So as I reflect on it this morning I said since I failed (in my opinion), I must figure out a way to do this better next time and luckily I have this opportunity tomorrow.

My thinking habits, patterns, and style was greatly altered three years ago when I started reading more, thats what the books are for.  They get you thinking differently. So in my preparation for tomorrows meeting, that has the same objectives as outlined above.  I said I will not fail on objective D.  I pulled out a few of the books that I have read over the last few years to see if I can draw on that wisdom and see if I can accomplish what I would like to accomplish.

A classic book on man and his/her thoughts is the famed “As A Man Thinketh”, author James Allen.  This is more of theory book, not really a process book on “How To” think differently.  So in the last year I read a book titled “How Successful People Think.”  It was written by one of may favorite authors/mentors of mine John Maxwell.  And I read “Thinking for A Change” by John Maxwell.

In his book “How Successful people think” he hits on six key ideas:  1) finding good input to start thinking process, 2) spending time with good thinkers, 3) thinking good thoughts, 4) acting on good thoughts, 5) allowing emotions to create another good thought, and 6) repeating the process.

In his book “Thinking for a Change” he really puts together a solid format on how to think differently.  Below are the titles of his 11 Chapters.

  • #1: Acquire the Wisdom of Big-Picture Thinking
  • #2: Unleash the Potential of Focused Thinking
  • #3: Discover the Joy of Creative Thinking
  • #4: Recognize the Importance of Realistic Thinking
  • #5: Realize the Power of Strategic Thinking
  • #6: Feel the Energy of Possibility Thinking
  • #7: Embrace the Lessons of Reflective Thinking
  • #8: Question the Acceptance of Popular Thinking
  • #9: Encourage the Participation of Shared Thinking
  • #10: Experience the Satisfaction of Unselfish thinking
  • #11: Enjoy the Return of Bottom-Line Thinking


Thinking for a Change.Maxwell.EBS

As I read back on some of the above chapters and read through the book, I plan on drawing on some of Maxwell’s ideas and see if I can get objective D accomplished the way I had hoped to.

I have found that I have two passions.  I like to get people thinking differently. Typically I can do that in a one on one meeting with a smaller subject such as goals, career progression, time management, money.  Secondly, I like discussing ideas.  I get to do both of these on a daily basis, now I just have to think differently and figure out how to monetize it all.

Brian Willett






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