You may have heard the saying … “You are paid to think, you are not paid to work”. If you think you are paid to work, there is a good possibility you work for the wrong organisation, or if you are at a level within the organisation where they still expect you to work, then the idea I will share here could catapult you to new heights within your organisation.
The thinking that is needed is this: our organisations are creative, and innovative thoughts that cause people to feel more included and part of the organisation, instead of just feeling they are working for the organisation, needs to be encouraged. Within this kind of environment creativity thrives, and innovation happens. Nurturing these kind of workplaces starts with the way we think, so let’s try understand a little more about thinking …
A thought is a thought or is it just a thought? Daily we think about 30000 thoughts, yet if we allow that process to just happen we are wasting a lot of our brain capacity.
How can we harness our own thinking capacity and use more of our brain power? The answer is relatively simple, and that is by thinking about what we think about, when we think! Are you now thinking ‘but of course I think’? No, unfortunately the assumption is that we think because we know there are many thoughts running around in our heads daily. These thoughts are just random thoughts, observations and information coming in via our senses. This information is stored by our brains and then filed while we sleep in case we need this at a later stage. We need to make a conscious choice to actually think about and process our thoughts, asking ourselves to think about the value of the thoughts we are thinking or will the thoughts filed by our brains simply be ‘déja vu’ waiting to happen. Ultimately, without thinking, the result of this will be many ‘aha’ moments.
I invite you to open your mind to this process and discover the possibility of thinking about what you think about. Let’s look at ways that you can introduce this disruptive possibility of thinking into your daily life.
- Waking up and showering : The way we start our day is most important, what were your first thoughts? What did you think about when you first thought about yourself? The most important thoughts start with the way we think about ourselves. If our outlook about ourselves is good, there is a great possibility that awesome things will happen in our day.
- Interacting with our partners and our families : What did you hear them say or did you not have time to listen? Perhaps if this is the case, then can you think of ways to make more time for your partner and family in the morning? If we are able to listen, we can process what we have heard and think about the things we have heard. The key is to listen and process, far too often we listen to judge. If we judge things we have heard, those are our prejudices and we will learn nothing from those moments. Release this need to judge.
- Driving to work : Are you observing people? Perhaps you are wondering why you do what you do everyday? Have you thought about why? Do you know what you are passionate about? Perhaps you listening to the radio and hear some news, are you able to ask yourself why people make the decisions they do or say the things they say? Before you finish your trip, are you able to decide how you will show up at work? Will you be the same or will you be different? Are you able to surprise people? What about the taxi’s? Exactly – what about the taxi’s?
- Arriving at work : How do you treat the security personnel? Are you friendly or have you never actually spoken to these people? What will you do if someone has parked in your spot? Would that derail your day? How we chose to react will determine the rest of your day. Notice we have not even arrived at work, we are not even thinking about what we have been paid to think about … That is the work we need to be thinking about, yet our thoughts could have been disrupted and we could have made decisions which would affect the rest of our day.
- Work : What are we hearing, what will determine the way we think, what we will be thinking about and who we will be thinking about? People tell me it is not about intention and thinking, it is all about action. Yes, I agree nothing happens without action. My question is – what is the true value of the action if you cannot align your thinking so that you may think about the actions which will be most effective, before you actually go into action.
CriticalThinking : By definition is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement. Look back at point 2 of this article, I said and I will repeat ‘the key is to listen and process, far too often we listen to judge.’ Don’t be critical of your own thinking or that of others, instead reflect on the thought and find value in alternative thinking. Ask yourself how this thinking can be valuable and then find more ways to explore possibilities.
- Take thoughts captive : Note down thoughts you have, have a notepad with you at all times, scribble and draw pictures if you must, just make sure you never miss the opportunity to work with your thoughts. If you have many thoughts write them all down and you can think about them later. It is this noting and thinking that will determine which thoughts stay and which thoughts you decide to disregard.
- Listen : 80% of all our success comes from listening. Did you listen? Did you think why someone said something either in context or out of context? When you hear something, don’t just listen to interrupt the other person, listen so that they can know you listened to them. The only way of telling the other person that you have listened to them is when you ask questions about what they have just said.
- Questions : Learning to ask questions that are reflective of our own thinking and that of others is key. Too often we ask judgemental questions of ourselves and others which cause thinking to stop. The questions we need to ask are the questions we do not know the answers to. Asking questions we already know the answers to is a waste of our thinking capacity. Think and ask what don’t you know, what am I not hearing? When we start thinking about the possible answers we have not heard, we start thinking about better questions we can ask.
- Think : Before you think remember ‘don’t look for the ideas that will confirm your thinking, rather observe and ask yourself what has disrupted your thoughts?’ Why have my thoughts been disrupted, will you allow yourself to be disrupted in the first place? Will you release the need to be in control?
What would you add to this article? Please let me have your thoughts.
I help individuals get paid more by thinking and discovering their potential by unleashing ‘The Thinker’ that resides in all of us. We should be talking and asking each other some tough questions. Mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org