“Go and wake up your luck.” – Persian proverb
We’ve talked about diversity of thought primarily in the context of how different people have different thinking preferences. But as compared to the more traditional dimensions of diversity, diversity of thought is unique in a number of ways, not the least of which is the fact that each of us has diversity of thought within ourselves.
As The Whole Brain Business Book, 2nd Edition, explains:
My research into the brain leads me to believe firmly that the grand design is to be whole—that the normal, ordinary, everyday brain is specialized and interconnected in ways that position it to develop as a balanced, multi-dominant brain that is capable of accessing and using all of its mental options…
However, our data on millions of individuals suggests that a small percentage of people end up being that exquisitely balanced. In the more typical case, as we mature mentally, we develop preferences for particular modes of processing.
Are these “exquisitely balanced” people just luckier than the rest of us?
While it’s true that it’s more natural for them to access, shift and apply diversity of thought as the need arises, the big message here is that we’re all lucky. We just need to wake up our luck.
Developing Your Mental Muscles
St. Patrick’s Day is a good reminder that you have this lucky charm with you, just waiting to be put into action. But developing and accessing your diversity of thought is like building a muscle. You need consistent practice.
To give you the motivation to get started, think about a long-term goal you want to achieve. Maybe you want to get a promotion, change careers, achieve a personal or professional milestone, or inject more creativity or structure into your work. Now consider:
- Where do you need to focus your mental energy?
- Where do you struggle? What do you tend to overlook?
- How can you better use your full thinking potential to get where you want to go?
Select the area(s) you want to be more proficient in, and either pick one activity a day from the list below or repeat one until you feel that you’ve got it, then move to another.A. Analysis
- Prepare an objective critique of an important project by analyzing the components.
- Get excited about data analysis by searching online for data about something you are interested in—a hobby, sports, anything!—and analyzing what you can learn from it.
- Take an article or blog post you have recently read and analyze the evidence that is provided to support the ideas. Is it sufficient? Practice doing this as you do your reading throughout the week.
- Identify something you are procrastinating about and determine why; then take action on the first step you need to get it going again.
- Search online and download one of many “anti procrastination” apps. Try using it for at least two weeks.
- Read a book on execution (many exist) and look for ways to bring the concepts into your day-to-day perspective.
- Pick a work relationship that you struggle with and step into the shoes of that person. Think about what their challenges are and how they see the world. Reevaluate your interaction. How does your perspective on them shift?
- Look over your contact list and find three people you might reconnect with, just to check in and say hello. Take the initiative to reach out and find out how they are—with no other agenda than that.
- Practice networking by attending an event or reaching out to other colleagues you know less well and focusing on others by making good eye contact and using these phrases: Tell me more about…, How did you get into…, What is your greatest challenge… and see how much more connected you feel.
- Seek out a “unique” person who is quite different than you are, and spend time being curious and understanding how that person thinks so you can learn something of value from the experience.
- Search online for blogs, articles and apps that you would never think to read or try and see what ideas emerge from the process.
- Pick a problem you have been working on and think of three crazy ideas that actually solve it.
Do you need to exercise your logical thinking? Your process orientation? How about your kinesthetic or risk-taking abilities? You’re in luck! The Whole Brain Business Book includes a seven-day program with plenty of specific activities to choose from to build your thinking diversity muscles. Order your copy today and wake up your luck!