To do your own thinking is a great stride in life. It is easy to just blend than to radically do your own evaluation and reflection. Thomas Edison once said: “Five percent of the people think; 10 percent of the people think they think; and the other 85 percent would rather die than think.” These are hard and bitter words to swallow, but worth all the reflection.
A few years ago I was invited to facilitate a strategy retreat for a special client at Pamushana in Chiredzi, located in Masvingo Province, south-eastern Zimbabwe. I had never been to this special resort and making my way there from Harare, I just wondered why we had to go so far. It was when I arrived at this special oasis that I knew why. The journey was worth the trouble. Pamushana is a resort facility hidden within the Save Conservancy. The rooms are appointed with a special style and class. All I could breathlessly say is, “wow”!
At the opening session of the retreat, the chief executive stood up to address his eager and excited charges. He said that it was his first time at this lovely, luxurious and pristine resort.
However, as he walked through the facility, his room, the common spaces, the dinning facilities, a thought took root in his mind. The thought was, “Everything in this place had been thought through.” It was as though someone had thought through and anticipated how a guest could be pleasured and pampered. His exhortation to his team was to encourage them to execute their strategy, people watching should just marvel and think “this was thought through.”
That statement, “thinking through” captured my attention and has been my mantra and affirmation since that day. Think through things.
Many people are zealous to do things and they do get to do them. However, what is lacking sometimes is the discipline to think through. Things done without being thought through cannot be excellent. Accidental greatness is a true accident and wild card. Unless you can think through, you cannot act strategically. You have to go there in the mind before you go there in reality. Everything has two creations, the mental and the physical manifestation. Thinking through is the process of the first stage of creation.
Face Your Elephants
In any situation there are some big elephantine issues that are too big to be ignored. Sometimes people will choose to look at small inconsequential and subsidiary convenient issues while ignoring the real issues. Ignoring elephantine issues does not make them go away. The first base in thinking through is daring to face your elephants in the room. Thinking in the clouds while ignoring the elephants facing you will just result in faulty logic and misplaced effort. Face your elephants and think through.
Boil Your Frogs
When I was in secondary school we did a popular biology experiment. In this experiment a frog was put in a beaker with water. We would then light a bunsen burner. The heat was at first so low that the frog could barely feel the heat. The jumpy frog would just swim along. Then slowly we would increase the flame strength.
Meanwhile, the frog would gradually acclimatise to the new temperature. As the heat increased the water would start boiling. The frog, which could have easily jumped out of the beaker, would gradually be boiled to death. What fate does to the unthinking!
In thinking through, examine those areas in which you have put up with the situation and risk being boiled to death. Thinking through requires you to look at the brutal and stubborn facts. Unless you can look at these “boiling frog” situations you cannot change much. Enduring what must just be changed is not a way of enjoying your life. Review what you are putting up with as it could boil you to death. Sometimes change is resisted so much where it is most needed. Think through before you boil through. You do not want to be seen boiling, while other people wonder why you could not think of jumping out like the proverbial frog. Think through and do not become a boiling frog.
Examine Wild Cards
Think through risk. Risk Management used to be considered as a subsidiary part of any enterprising effort. This has since changed and risk cannot be taken for granted. Thinking through requires that you think through the risks that you face. Some of these risks are well known.
However, it is not what you know and prepare for that is important. It is the risks that you do not see coming that are most lethal. Wild cards are those things that could happen that are almost unimaginable. By putting your wild cards on the table you broaden your thinking bandwidth. Think through the worst that could happen then welcome the best that happens. To be unprepared when it matters most is to have failed in thinking through.
Think through and then follow through with action. All great thought must result in focused execution and delivery. When thoughts are combined with focused action, amazing things happen and greatness is attainable.
Think through whatever you want to go through. When you think you are too big to fail you are in failure territory. When you fail to think through you will always blame others of cheating you. Think through. It is a major fault to think too little about what matters most. Your life is too important for you to wade through it without thinking through.
Committed to your greatness.
Milton Kamwendo is a cutting-edge international transformational and inspirational-speaker, author and coach. He is a strategy and innovation consultant and leadership coach. His life purpose is to inspire people to release the greatness trapped in them. He can be reached at: [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> and his Twitter handle is: @MiltonKamwendo.
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