Teaching yourself to think of what you never think of

Teaching yourself is interesting. Most of us go to school, and the teachers cram our minds full with facts, procedures, rules, and mostly boredom. If you go to school in India or the Middle East, their narrow minded approach to teaching will not teach you problem solving. You will know how to memorize a bunch of dry and boring facts, and not have any good ideas how to interpret those facts unless you are from a very fancy family. If you can interpret, it will be a very “by the book” type of interpretation. Americans typically learn to think, but don’t know anything. Technical skills are dismally lacking, and 90% of our technical staff in our country is Chinese, Indian or from some other foreign country. In any case, putting aside the intellectual limitations of each country in question, learning how to think for yourself is a critical skill to have when you are running a business.

If you run a business, you will quickly learn that the type of questions, problems and issues you have are usually not covered in that comprehensive course in business you took in school. You learned about crunching numbers, analyzing trends, best practices, and other bookish subject matter. But, what do you do when your employees are talking back to you, your clients are unresponsive, and nothing is getting done on time? Will your book knowledge help you now? In some ways it could, but god forbid you run into something that “wasn’t covered” in your text book. Now it is time to think on your own.

The big question is how to become a master of the art of thinking for yourself? The art is all about learning to think of what you didn’t used to ever think of. Many people will have an answer within reach, but think of everything except for that optimal answer. So, how do you get good at finding answers?

If you are constantly challenging your mind to more and more problems, and solving those problems. If you are always interacting with others and hearing their input (assuming they are intelligent), your mind and thinking will expand, and you will get those good solutions coming to mind faster and better every time.

Maybe we as business people should write books about handling REAL problems. Maybe the world needs to see case studies about handling real problems.

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