Ways to distinguish yourself – #78 Think!

“Do you think?”

can easily be treated as a rhetorical question. “Who does not?”

The real question is “Do you really think you think?”

The reason I am asking this is because, honestly, we as a society have started to reward “doers” more than we reward “thinkers” almost by a wide margin. Want proof? Here is an exercise you can do tomorrow at your workplace.

Sit straight in front of your computer and put both your hands on your
chin and start thinking about your project or your career or your life.
Whatever is most important for you at that point in time. Wait until a
couple of your colleagues pass by. I can guarantee you that at least
one of them will stop by and ask you if everything was OK. Other
typical questions may be “What happened to you this morning?” or “Is
something wrong?” We just can’t see someone thinking. We want them to
be typing, clicking, writing or just reading something but
please..don’t just think is what we say.

Since thinking is so much of a mental activity and there is nothing
that really manifests physically by thinking, it’s hard for us to sort
of watch someone think. For the same reason, we are not comfortable
thinking in front of someone. We know that there is an expectation of
something physical to manifest over a reasonable time period. We don’t
want to look dumb, do we?

So, what could we do? Here are some things to try:

1. Take a long walk (alone) and think about something that matters to you – life, career, project, relationships – anything

2. Read something that makes you think. There are so many good books that are out there that can stretch your mind.

3. Remember some old stories and see if they are logical (without getting carried away by the stories) Here are a couple:
   a. The Harvard MBA and the fisherman
   b. The tortoise and the hare

4. Set aside about 30 minutes a week to reflect on the past week and think (and plan) for the next week.

5. Please… allow others to think. It’s OK, really!