Earlier in this week I got a new book into my library, quite a number of books actually and they were seemingly saying the same thing using different languages and different book cover designs and titles. I have only been able to scan through them all, not even started with any yet because I still have many laying books in my library waiting for me to pick them up. I have always been a fan of reading and never could have thought of giving up such a habit but then, in the cause of succeeding we tend to rewrite some of our stories. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t give up reading but I have not been reading as much as I used to.
There was this great book that got my attention may be because it was written by my friend in the creative industry, Alan Iny of Boston Consulting Group. He has told me about his book and even promised to review my book when it is released; yes he is a great man like that. The book is titled “Thinking in New Boxes”. I haven’t even read it yet but I flipped through the pages and this particular page caught my attention, let me quote it for you directly. It read “LET’S START WITH AN EASY QUESTION: How many colors are there in a rainbow? Would you say five? Seven? Ten? At some point in your schooling, you were probably told that a rainbow has a fixed number of colors. The common explanation is that the human eye sees just seven colors—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet—and hence many of us were told as children that there are seven colors in the rainbow.” What would your answer have been? I know, its Seven, right? I went for seven too, sadly.
We have been told much elementary information while growing up either in schools or family but this information has gone so far to put us in a box. You know, it is so bad that we are not even aware that some knowledge faces off with phases of life. We grew up with much of this information and extended them into our businesses. In my experience with working with many SMEs I found out that many of us have been running our business manually and not mentally. We make use of the first information that comes to mind without even thinking it through, evaluating and re-evaluating this information. I found a data on the internet few months ago and it says “65% of the world populations are not thinking; 35% assume they are thinking while only 5% are the ones thinking. There isn’t much you can achieve in this modern world if you are not a thinker and our mind is very fond of playing blind tricks on us. Our brain is naturally lazy to process ideas so at any snap of laziness it encourages it and because of this we often come up with our weakest ideas or solutions. Thinking has nothing to do with intelligence or good spoken English; it simply means your brain is lazy to take the required response or process further to the next level. To keep making progress in your business strategies and success, you really have to be able to keep thinking all the time. Thinkers are the takers and they take it all.
So how do you become a thinker? If I didn’t know better I would have told you it is a difficult thing but then I would be scaring you for nothing. It only requires a few free things which are; discipline, questioning or curiosity and research or studying. All these things are totally free; you need discipline to stay consistent and determined to not settle for the first thought that comes to your mind. You need discipline to be able to stimulate thinking process and not being lazy.
Recently at Idea Factory Consulting we have been answering many questions affecting businesses related to Nigeria and somehow peculiar to the West African environs which have activated our thinking process into creating lateral solutions for these questions. Our new found love for thinking has increased our income to over 150% within seven months. There are many existing thoughts in our archive that simply helped us to reckon that we have the solutions or we know how to find it. A wise man once said “it is not what we know that put us into trouble but what we think we know”, if you want your business to skyrocket you really have to stop assuming and start questioning many of your existing thoughts. Sadly, you are going to find out how much you have been wrong these whole times. Let me ask you two questions “What is the color of your fridge? What does cow drink? Did you answer “milk’? But really, do cows drink milk or water? That is what assumption could do to us. Don’t be worried that you got it wrong, 85% of my students get it wrong all the time. To help you think well you have to lay off assumption and start questioning many things your mind could think of.
Finally, research will open your mind to many wild thoughts of others and the way people in your kind of business thinks. This will help you to breakthrough some new thinking ground because once you know the way they think, you can easily take yours another way round. And when next you are studying, try to find out what the writer didn’t write. Most of us follows or repeats the thought of others; we really need to start noticing the missing points in the thoughts of others. This will help you think better in your business.
Thinking is the new sexy. Think or become irrelevant in what you do. If you need further help or you like to take our “Lateral thinking class”, we would love to have you at the factory. Be disciplined, question your assumptions and research deeply, you will do just fine over time.
If I were you, I would Google “the number of colours in a rainbow”. Cheers!