New thinking for “next normal world’’ | Sunday Observer

New thinking for “next normal world’’

23 January, 2022

“Do not hasten to execute unless and until you have a plan in place’’. Sounds like a mantra? Yes, a mantra we all need to believe in and embrace. Is strategy easier than execution? Let me suggest that those who execute better will have the edge in the next normal world.

On the other hand, is thinking less important than action? Do not take thinking for granted. We schedule time for every action but not for the most important activity called “thinking”.

With Covid-19 changing literally everything we had anticipated forcing us to find solutions to never anticipated issues, thinking has become even more crucial to play the game – ‘brain before body’ is the only way to stay competitive.

Scheduling a time to think on a regular basis can change your life. Leave aside you being a leader or a follower in the workplace, as an ordinary human being too; you can never act in a way that is bigger or better than your thoughts.  Dedicating time to thinking allows your thoughts to unfold, and it helps you manifest what you want. We all know that the actions you take come from your thinking.

What you think and focus on drives your reality. That is why it is so important to take the time to think. Everything from quality of life, to work, relationships, and health are all based on the quality of the thinking you have.

You don’t spend nearly enough time simply thinking. Before you take offense to that statement, consider how much time you spend talking, responding to email, even reading — my guess is that you spend more time doing any one of them than you do thinking.

Why do so many people claim they have had some stroke of genius while in the shower? It’s because they’re alone with their thoughts for about 10 minutes without a phone, computer, or book. And according to those who have achieved more from a shower than just cleansing their bodies, that’s all it took for them to come up with a great idea that’s going to make a difference.

Make space for thinking

Finding un-interrupted time is not easy. We can’t entirely focus on anything for more than short periods of time. We are self-described multi-taskers.

We don’t do one thing at a time — we do two or three things at once. And we brag about it. There is a notion that it’s a super skill – may be in some cases but not when you are facing complex challenges which need dedicated time.

We consider ourselves the models of efficiency. We talk on the phone while we drive. We read a book while we exercise. We respond to email while sitting in a meeting. We even play games on our phones while watching TV.

So how much uninterrupted time do you spend each day simply thinking? I’m willing to bet it’s not much and certainly not enough. You need time to digest all the information you access using that technology.

You need to find a way to avoid those things - self-inflicted and caused by others - that interrupts your ability to find quiet time to think. Take 30 minutes or more either first thing in the morning or last thing at night to be alone with your thoughts on a specific subject. So often we busy ourselves with things to do from the minute we wake up in the morning until we turn off the lights at night.

Most of us either watch TV or read in bed until the lights go out and we fall asleep. Then we wake up in the morning already on the run.

How fast can you get showered, grab tea or coffee, and get to the office where all those distractions are? Instead of rushing out of the door to get to the office, how much could be accomplished by simply being alone with your thoughts. Or instead of watching late-night TV until you fall asleep, lie there and consider everything you’ve done and learned that day and plan for the following day.

Stay away from reacting

It really doesn’t matter how or where you do it, but you must find ways to take the time to think. If not, you spend your entire day doing and reacting, without much thought to the value of those activities.

Your actions should be intentional and purposeful. For that to happen, you must take the time to be alone with your thoughts, work through issues, and contemplate the best course of action. You need quiet time to allow that to happen.

Often our best ideas - those rare but often inspiring aha moments - have occurred after spending hours together working on a project or at a team meeting or in some sort of free time where thinking is the only thing you can do due to physical barriers. But often they’re unpredictable.

Most successful people - whether they’re start-up entrepreneurs or corner office senior executives – know that if they don’t carve out time to think, they’ll lose perspective and fail to make smart decisions that can guide their company over the long-term. 

Innovators are people who do this right and try to emulate new thinking to play successfully in the next normal world - the world that follows the new normal world.