Think Right: You're Only as Good as Your Last Thought
Business requires sharp thinking. There isn't time for sloppy or ineffective thought. One bad decision, inappropriate communication or major mistake can undo a lifetime of good work.
"Thinking right" is a combination of two very difficult skills: thinking clearly and thinking positively. Both require discipline and vigilance.
The clear thinker is:
- Realistic, puts things in perspective and is practical, level headed and doesn't over-or under- react to situations.
- Logical, carefully considers the consequences and implications of each situation.
- Analytical, stays ⌠inside the box■ for meaning and accuracy.
- Creative, goes "outside the box" to see possibilities, opportunities and potential.
Thinking positively is more difficult than thinking clearly. Why? Bad news sells. It dominates our thoughts, conversations and actions. It's easier to be negative, cynical or skeptical than it is to think favorably.
If you don't believe me, try an experiment. Listen to what most conversations focus on - - is it the good or the bad? Then try something else: Keep a whole conversation positive; eliminate criticism, skepticism and cynicism. I'll bet you find it more difficult than you think.
If you're interested in being more positive, here are a few tips:
- Look for little successes, efforts and niceties around you. Recognize and acknowledge them.
- Err on the side of optimism. As long as you are realistic, being hopeful is smart thinking. It's better to see the cup half full than half empty.
- Smile more. If you think happy, you'll be happy. Besides, a smile usually begets a smile.
- Keep your expectations reasonable. Adjust them up or down based on the reality of the situation. Remember that if you expect more than you receive, you'll feel disappointed and frustrated. If you expect what you receive, you'll be satisfied. And if you expect less than you receive, you'll be happy.
- Don't take things for granted. Appreciate what you normally assume or overlook. A good rule of thumb: appreciate whatever, or whomever, you would miss if you lost it.
- And my favorite - have fun. Make work pleasant and enjoyable; think of Monday as the beginning of a week of fun and enjoyment. If you think about it, you probably like your work and most of the people you work with. And if you don't, why not?