This holiday weekend made us think about independence.
In particular, it made us think about the fact that we’re not always fighting against someone else for our independence; sometimes we’re our own worst enemies.
We get stuck in a rut or a comfort zone, and it clouds our view. We tell ourselves stories about what we can and can’t accomplish. We move in autopilot, reacting unconsciously to the events and noise around us, only to discover that we’ve been treading water without getting anywhere.
Think you’re not creative? Think you can’t deal with details?
Free Your Mind and the Rest Will Follow
One of the most liberating things about learning about thinking styles and the power of Whole Brain® Thinking is realizing that you aren’t limited to your preferences. You’ve got a whole brain to work with! It just takes a little thinking about your thinking.
So in the spirit of Independence Day, why not declare your independence from your own self-imposed thinking boundaries? Here are three quick tips to get you started.
1. Become aware of your thinking baseline. Start by discovering your current pattern of thinking. We use the HBDI® assessment and the Whole Brain® Model to help people do this.
This is important, because it allows you to see where and how you pay attention. In the process, you might discover some blind spots—ways that your thinking preferences might not align with what's going on in your world or with where you want to go.
2. Choose to flex your thinking. Our more than 30 years of research on the topic proves it out: you can shift your baseline thinking patterns. You do it by being willing to experiment with other thinking styles—even if doing so is uncomfortable. Remember, discomfort is a sign that you’re learning.
Look for some “mind hacks” to help you through it. For example, if your lower preference for A-quadrant, analytical thinking is preventing you from finishing a technical project or task, rely on your stronger preferences to make those activities more enjoyable for you. Maybe you could build your energy and enthusiasm for the work by making a game out of it, or you might try reaching out to a mentor for support.
3. Regularly take the time to stop and think. Once you've gotten to that place where you understand how to flex, then you can make it a regular practice to stop...and think…before you move into action.
More specifically, take a pause to think about your thinking— to be proactively aware of what thinking style is most appropriate for a specific situation, and then use it. In today's environment, we are so task-oriented—and in such a hurry—that we rarely take the time to do this. Yet it’s never been more important.
Whole Brain® Thinking is about removing the limits, self-imposed or otherwise. So don’t let your thinking styles hold you back. Go ahead and declare your independence from single-minded thinking!
For exercises and activities to help you stretch your thinking and overcome your mental blind spots, be sure to check out Part 5, “Personal Growth Through Whole Brain® Thinking,” in The Whole Brain Business Book, Second Edition.