The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Thinking adds value

When I was a kid, my father used to point out, that we should “turn on our brain.” What he rarely did, was tell us how we should do it. Looking back, it was a bit of a magical invitation, as if it would be sufficient to turn a switch to be ready to deliver the right answer.

And yet, his idea was wise. What he had noticed was that we would simply start talking using the first things that had come to mind. We hadn’t taken the time to verify if we understood what we were trying to say nor how it was adapted to the situation.

It reminds me of something else I continue to observe.

People stick to their thinking habits.

There are habits driven by beliefs, for example when leaders assume that they have to have an answer in every situation.

There are habits driven by the way one takes as the best way to reach results. For example by pushing experimenting or deciding.

But then, there is also the type of thinking that serves one’s role best. In expert roles, for example, one’s competence might have been based on executing tasks and being efficient in addressing these tasks. Most often, it also is a space where answers can be concluded or found.

Things become different when there is no clear answer. That is when the answer is a decision or a choice more than an answer that can be shown to be right or wrong. Then thinking shifts to inquiries, curiosity, and verification. That is when thinking also will have to rely on information found through listening and sensing. Where it becomes most important to find the right questions instead of the right answers. And when thinking itself becomes a creative process that can’t be forced but needs to be engaged in with enough persistence.



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