Unleashing Your Thinking Possibility
The hiking analogies that we use for Wisdom Notes fit so well with our trek through life each day. It is when we take one step at a time over a long period of time that we make the progress we desire. Being on life’s trail allows you to truly experience the full spectrum of human emotion, sometimes all in one day. A moment of frustration and despair is seamlessly followed by peace and beauty. And so it is with life.
Just like in hiking, we need to plan and also take the time to think and rest. So far we have stopped at waypoints 1-7 to analyze our thinking so that we will become more wise and successful. In this edition of our Wisdom Notes, we are working toward waypoints 8 and 9.
Last week I asked you to consider two more questions:
- Am I unleashing the enthusiasm of possibility thinking to find solutions for even seemingly impossible problems?
- Am I regularly revisiting the past to gain a true perspective and think with understanding?
I do encourage you to consider these questions each week and apply them to your lives. This will help you to change your thinking and start down the trail to a changed life. One of the benefits of hiking on trails that are not used frequently is that we do not have to compete with masses of people as you would on a busy thoroughfare.
This also applies to waypoint 8 where we have just arrived.
8. Question Popular Thinking
Questioning popular thinking can be challenging, but there are valid reasons for you to do so. When people follow a trend, they usually do not give it much thought.
Although you may view popular thinking as a source of safety and security, there is a large difference between acceptance and intelligence. Because popular thinking favors the status quo, it discourages innovation and brings average results. Being an entrepreneur and someone who tends to question anything that the masses are following all my life, I have not had a major issue with this point. Here are five different ways for you to question the acceptance of popular thinking:
- Think before following. You need to consider what is best, rather than what is popular. When you challenge popular thinking, it means that you will need to step off of the well-worn trail. When you go against popular thinking, you may be blazing your own trail, but it often holds the seed of vision and opportunity that others won’t recognize.
- Appreciate different types of thinking. When you appreciate the ways that other people think, you open yourself up to embrace innovation and change. It is useful to spend time with people who think differently.
- Question your own way of thinking. It will be a major temptation to return to a way of thinking that once worked well, even if it is no longer effective. You must realize that your successes of today can often be the enemy of your successes tomorrow.
- Try new things in new ways. In order to get yourself out of a rut, innovate in small, everyday ways. By thinking unconventionally, you will question the way things are done and look for new options.
- Get accustomed to being uncomfortable. All change is uncomfortable. Popular thinking is comfortable. When you embrace new ways of thinking and the achievements that will result, you will have discomfort.
Embrace thinking that may not be popular and make decisions based upon what works best and what is right.
“Do not follow what is commonly accepted, unless it proves to be right, just and fair.”
As I think about questioning popular thinking it certainly reminds me of how Christ himself questioned the popular thinking of his day. He questioned the religious leaders continually because they were more interested in self-promotion and preservation than pleasing God. In Mathew 6 he warned against the self-promotion of the religious leaders on public giving, prayer and fasting. In Matthew 22:16 when the religious leaders were trying to trap Christ, they proclaimed truth, “’Teacher,’ they said, ‘we know how honest you are. You teach the way of God truthfully. You are impartial and don’t play favorites.'”
Focus Question: “Am I consciously rejecting the limitations of common thinking in order to accomplish uncommon results?”
This brings us to waypoint 9.
9. Benefit from Shared Thinking
When you seek out and value other people’s thoughts, you can accomplish more than you can alone. Shared thinking is faster, more innovative, and stronger than solo thinking. The ideas that result from your shared thinking benefit both you and those that you are sharing with…which brings greater value overall. To benefit from shared thinking, there are five different things that you can do:
- Value others’ ideas. When you are open to the idea of shared thinking, you become more emotionally secure and value the interactive process.
- Move from competition to cooperation. When you think cooperatively, you will help to complete the ideas of others. It is then that the best idea forms, rather than one person offering an idea.
- Have a plan when meeting with others. When you meet with others for shared thinking, always have a reason for the meeting and an expectation of what you will contribute or receive from the discussion.
- Meet with the right people. Do not choose shared thinking partners based on feelings of friendship or convenience. When you meet with the right people for shared thinking, it will help uncover the best ideas.
- Bring value to those who are collaborators. Shared thinking is not all about you. Make sure that everyone is bringing and receiving value from your times of sharing.
Shared thinking is clear throughout Scripture also. The one passage that comes to mind today is Matthew 18:19-20, “I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”
“Shared, but not necessarily popular thinking, is crucial for wisdom and success.”
Focus Question: “Am I consistently searching the minds of others to think “over my head” and achieve compounding results?”
We need to learn and then adopt the thinking habits of wise and successful people.
“When thinking, question the popular, but share with the wise.”