What is sustained thinking and how does it benefit us? Thinking is an ability that we must nurture, grow, and use continuously.
The 18th century French philosopher Voltaire put it perfectly, “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking”. Thinking is a skill. It can be practiced. Creativity, innovation, intuition, and problem solving are all forms of thinking. The more you use them, the stronger they grow. Thinking is a talent that can be developed.
Early in my career, I had a colleague that struggled with “being strategic”. Stan had received his annual performance review and his supervisor told him he needed to be more strategic. He was lost because he did not know how to be strategic. Thinking strategically is not something normally taught. The only way Stan could become more strategic is to practice thinking strategically. I think Stan’s obstacle is a lesson for all of us. Taking time to think is not time wasted—-it develops our ability to think. Our thoughts drive our actions, our results, and our very being. If we have a desire to improve ourselves, our ability to think is probably a good place to start. As Lifehacker stated, if you want to become a better leader, you have to improve your self awareness.
But it turns out that being self-aware is actually a pretty critical trait in an effective leader. According to new research by Tasha Eurich, increasing one’s self-awareness is both possible and desirable for those who wish to become better managers.
So what can we do? How do we begin down the path of self-awareness and improving our thought processes? Set aside ten to twenty minutes a day for focused thinking. Then use that time to think. Don’t do anything else. Just think. Think about your challenges, your projects, your dreams, your ideas, your successes, your relationships, your goals, or your life. Think about whatever is important to you at the moment. Not only will you discover new ideas, you will improve your ability to think. As humans, we get better at what we practice, and this world could use better thinkers. Thinking is actually a habit, with different patterns of thought, and it’s one that you may not realize is so habitual.
Jack Klemeyer talked about how important your thought process is, especially when it comes to sales. Does your company provide a positive mindset for you and your coworkers?
This positive mindset is not just for the participants. The leadership of the organization must, yes must, employ a positive, success mindset toward the training and the outcomes it can deliver. I’ve seen companies invest, thousands, even millions of dollars in a training initiative only to have it fall to failure because top leadership didn’t really believe in the process. They couldn’t see that the training would create better results once the learning was implemented.
The Four Keys to success for a person in sales (and we’re all in sales):
- STRONG GOAL CLARITY– You gotta have goals!
- HIGH ACHIEVEMENT DRIVE – You gotta believe that your goals are attainable. This acts as a multiplier to success!
- HEALTHY EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE – Understand how your behavior, driven by your beliefs, impacts the environment.
- EXCELLENT SOCIAL SKILLS – Understand how to recognize other behavior styles and how to adapt and flex your style for rapport and influence.
Every ability we have takes practice, honing it until we’re the best we can be. Thinking is no different. If you set aside time every single day to have a meaningful, thought-session, you will definitely see improvement to your memory skills and mindset.