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Fifty Tips for Better Thinking

Suggestions from the Power Thinking Course, developed by Dr. Karl Albrecht.

Dr. Karl Albrecht

  1. Respect all levels of your mind (e.g. subjective experience and knowledge as well as verbal thought); remember that thinking is a bodily function.
  2. Respect all ways of knowing, in yourself as well as in others.
  3. Promote a high respect for evidence, in yourself and others; many problems contain their own solutions when you understand them well.
  4. Pay attention to differences in thinking styles; remember that each person has his or her own unique way of constructing reality.
  5. Keep your opinions on probation; this can make you more alert for new perspectives.
  6. Check to see if the brain you're talking to is "on line."
  7. Listen for the subtext: facts, feelings, values, & opinions.
  8. Delay your signal reactions; don't let your thalamus get hijacked.
  9. If possible, choose your next work task to match your BrainState (on line, off line, etc).
  10. Suspend judgment when hearing something new.
  11. Own your value judgments, assumptions, and inferences.
  12. Practice non-allness thinking and talking (minimize use of "all," "every," "always," "everybody," etc.); use semantic tagging, limiters, qualifiers, and specifiers.
  13. Practice gray-scale thinking ("to what extent...").
  14. Practice self-reference ("It seems to me..." or "So far as I know...").
  15. Explain things in the other person's thinking pattern, not always your own.
  16. Remember that arguing is one of the least effective ways of changing someone's mind. You don't always have to fight to win.
  17. Remember that context - the situation - communicates as strongly as content.
  18. In a meeting or other group situation, notice the process as well as the content. Use the S.P.I.C.E. formula to provide process leadership and "earn" authority with the group.
  19. Use the language of leadership and people will be more inclined to treat you as a leader.
  20. Re-own the parts of yourself you may have rejected earlier in life.
  21. Declare your civil rights: "I don't know," "I made a mistake," and "I changed my mind."
  22. Remember that your sense of humor is your stress barometer; when it seems like there's nothing to laugh about, you're overstressed.
  23. Get to know your BrainModules; watch them in action and learn when and how they vie for influence over your behavior.
  24. Constantly remind yourself that self-worth is not something you have to prove, or a conclusion you arrive at; it's an assumption you start from.
  25. Remember that there is often more than one right answer.
  26. Beware of slogans; they usually invite reaction without reflection.
  27. Remember that "truth" is relative to the individual brain-mind system in which it arises, and to the language system used to construct it.
  28. Don't fear or avoid logical thinking; facts are your friends.
  29. Spend more time reading than you spend watching television.
  30. Constantly monitor your self-talk; prefer positive language.
  31. Shun toxic people and those who push negative thinking; remember that you can fire anybody from your life.
  32. Practice positive "sensorship;" you can choose to concentrate your attention on positive messages.
  33. Stay out of other people's dramas; don't become part of the victimology triangle (persecutor, victim, and rescuer).
  34. Don't play victim or martyr; act from the place of cause, and accept responsibility for the consequences in your life.
  35. Monitor your mood; keep yourself "up"; when you're in a bad mood, don't kick the dog, the cat, or anybody else.
  36. To change the way you're feeling, change what you're doing.
  37. Always be learning; try to discover something new every day.
  38. Don't give advice; suggest options.
  39. Notice the cultural holograms, i.e. the unspoken background patterns, paradigms, and rules that shape everyday behavior. And be aware of your own paradigms - the boundaries of your own thinking. Remember: if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.
  40. Avoid cliches like the plague; keep your language fresh and original.
  41. Don't kill ideas when you first hear them; use the "P.I.N." formula (Positive first, then Interesting, then Negative aspects).
  42. Make good use of metaphors and word pictures; they add color and power to your language.
  43. Don't mistake a haphazard "brain-dump" for a conversation; explain your ideas clearly; use a discursive strategy to escort others to your truth.
  44. Use the power of bimodal thinking; know when to diverge and when to converge, and do it by conscious choice.
  45. Don't be bullied by GroupThink; as Aldous Huxley said, "It's not who is right that counts, but what is right."
  46. Combine your hunches with your logic; they make great partners.
  47. Use idea maps and card-writing to take inventory of the elements of a situation; use whole-brain thinking to combine the bits & pieces with the big picture.
  48. Always be ready to smile in the next second, and let it show on your face.
  49. Steer an even course between cynicism and gullibility; don't accept everything on face value, and don't look for diabolical motives in everything.
  50. Practice humility: intellectually, socially, and emotionally.


About the Author:

Dr. Karl Albrecht is an executive management consultant, futurist, lecturer, and author of more than 20 books on professional achievement, organizational performance, and business strategy.

He has pioneered a number of important new concepts in the business world. For example, he is widely regarded as the father of the American "customer revolution" and service management. His book Service America: Doing Business in the New Economy (co-authored with the late Ron Zemke), sold over 500,000 copies and has been translated into seven languages.

He is also a leading authority on cognitive styles and the development of advanced problem solving skills. His recent books Social Intelligence: the New Science of Success, and Practical Intelligence: the Art and Science of Common Sense, together with his Social Intelligence Profile and his Mindex Thinking Style Profile are widely used in business and education. The Mensa society honored him with its lifetime achievement award, for significant contributions by a member to the understanding of intelligence.

Originally a physicist, and having served as a military intelligence officer and business executive, he now consults, lectures, and writes about whatever he thinks would be fun.