First, I want to apologize for the delay in this week’s Wisdom Note. On Saturday, July 8th I suffered an accident falling from a ladder that will change my life for weeks to come. In fact, I would say as a major life event, it will impact my outlook for the remainder of life. I am producing a series of podcasts on Tuesdays and Thursdays detailing the accident and my trail of recovery.
In our previous Wisdom Note, we continued with the 2nd of 7 week series about how you can change your life by changing how you think and what you think about.This week we will continue with Part 3.
I am excited to continue on our trek today as we visit waypoints 4 and 5 on our trail in our quest to change our thinking so that we can change our lives. There are 12 waypoints or rest stops plus a couple of planning discussions in all, so if you missed any of the past two Wisdom Notes, please go back and read them. This will give you the foundation for this week’s Wisdom Notes.
Let’s start down the trail today towards the next waypoint or rest stop. While I am very much an optimist in life, I am also very much a realist. I always believe the glass is completely full, either with liquid, air, or other substances, but I also know that I may not always want to drink what is in the cup.
So, let’s settle in at our first waypoint or rest stop for this week.
4. Employ Realistic Thinking
Realistic thinking is absolutely essential for success in life. It minimizes your risk by determining in advance what the consequences of different actions might be. By understanding and acknowledging consequences, it is possible to plan for them.
By developing contingency plans, you’ll feel and be more secure. Realistic thinking will also lead you to better define objectives or goals so that you can reach them. Through realistic thinking, you can create a solid foundation upon which your ideas can be built upon.
This reminds me of the parable that Christ taught us in Luke 6:47-49, “I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
To improve your realistic thinking abilities, here are five tips:
- Develop an appreciation for truth. Realistic thinking requires you to face the truth and to take responsibility for its consequences.
- Gather the facts. An important part of realistic thinking is for you to gather the facts connected to an idea. It can also be useful to study what others have done.
- Think about the pros and cons. When you analyze the pros and cons associated with an idea, you can gain a more realistic view-point.
- Envision the worst case scenario. One of the most useful traits of realistic thinking is to uncover, envision, and analyze the worst case scenario about your ideas and plans
- Align resources with objectives. After analyzing the pros and cons and identifying the worst case scenario, you must then identify gaps between reality and your vision or plans. Once you do identify the gaps fill them.
Focus Question: Am I building a solid foundation on facts so that I can think with certainty?
5. Utilize Strategic Thinking
Strategic thinking enables you to take a long-term view of a situation. This type of thinking has numerous benefits. It can simplify your ideas by breaking them down into manageable pieces, and it also leads you to more precise thinking.You must move beyond a vague idea and identify specific ways to address you issue. By aligning actions with objectives, strategic thinking improves the odds that you are going in the right direction.
The following seven steps will help you with strategic thinking:
- Break down the issue. To focus on your issues most effectively, strategically break them down into smaller parts that are more manageable.
- Ask why before how. Identify all of the issues first, before jumping and trying to solve them.
- Identify the real issues and objectives. Ask yourself and others probing questions to uncover the real issues. After you have identified the real issues, often the solution to a problem is simple.
- Review the available resources. You must consider what resources are available. If this is overlooked, your strategy and plan will fail.
- Develop a plan. Put the obvious elements in place first to initiate momentum, then build your plan.
- Include other people if needed. As part of strategic thinking, include the right people to assist you.
- Repeat the process. Strategic thinking becomes most effective, when you utilize it continuously.
Focus Question: Am I implementing strategic plans that give me direction for today and increase my potential for tomorrow?
We need to learn and then adopt the thinking habits of wise and successful people. It is not enough just to learn something, we must also put it into practice for it to become effective.
“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty,” Proverbs 21:5.
Think about the two questions that were asked today. Reflect on them. This is an important step in changing your thinking and changing your mind.