Some people are constantly striving for improvements. We are developing our bodies. It’s a norm already to talk about expanding our minds as well. How does this work?
Knowledge & Skills
Knowledge and skills are two fundamentals when it comes to everything we do. We know something. We are able do something. This is what we’ve been studying our whole life: new facts and new competences. From a systematic perspective, it’s clear how to adopt this: memorising and practicing, of course, with a bunch of tricks and techniques. But something is clearly missing. It’s the way we think.
Thinking is a skill as well. It’s so big, so it’s worth talking about this separately. Let’s say I’m an advocate of logic. This comes from my math background. One thing I know for sure, logic can be taught. There is a system you can learn and exercises to master it. Same goes for a lot of other patterns: photographers checking light and shadows, writers making stories out of everything, and musicians looking for harmony. All of us are seeing the world in our own unique way.
What about strategic thinking? Or people-first thinking? How to adopt this? Well, it’s the same. Two major differences come to my mind:
- There is no clear system, so you will need to create your own, going through books, courses, etc.
- There is no workbook with the exercises to practice.
There are a lot of great books on every topic in the world. Unfortunately, you will need to read a bunch of it while getting to your own conclusions. Creating a strategy for a specific case is much easier than writing a book on how to create a universal strategy for every possible challenge. It’s very individual. So, there will be some good ideas here and there. Mix it in a way that much your identity, and you will be way ahead most of other people already. Keep challenging yourself, and your system will improve as you go.
What lies between reading a book about becoming a great photographer and seeing great pictures everywhere? Well, practicing it is. We learn new systems and frameworks but either not even starting to apply them or quitting too early. This is especially difficult when it comes to work-related thinking patterns. I see couple of specific issues.
Unconscious knowledge overtakes conscious intention. E.g., you’ve decided to start thinking strategically but still doing your work the old way just because it’s easier, or you don’t see opportunities to apply strategic thinking, etc. The only way to deal with this is to overwrite the old way of thinking with a new one.
Sometimes your daily job doesn’t give you enough opportunities to apply new systems on a scale to develop new thinking patterns. E.g., you have tactical tasks and one or two projects where you can go into strategy, but this is not enough to rewrite old ways of thinking.
The habit of new thinking
This is very much like forming a new habit. The two keys to success are consistency and volume. For every thinking pattern, you would like to adopt, start with learning the theory. Also, there should be a workbook with practical exercises to help you master the new way of thinking. If there is no one, just create your own.