“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when creating them.” – Albert Einstein
Yet, isn’t this what we often attempt to do? We think of the challenge or problem over and over in the same way, with usually the same types of thoughts, get stuck, get frustrated… and then expect a miraculous solution to evolve.
Helping someone to think differently is what I do every day, especially focusing on the quality of their thinking. Yes, you read that right, the quality. If we are problem or drama focused in our thinking, we will circle round and round and just get more of the problem and drama. In neurological terms, we are strengthening the neural circuits in the brain about the “problem” because with our continuous attention on them, we are signalling to our brain that these are important.
Supporting someone to move up to think about vision and solution instead, requires them to think in an entirely different way and create new neural pathways. It this these new connections in the brain that will enable new insights to emerge to help them move forward in their thinking – and change their behaviour.
You may not always have someone around to ask you powerful questions to change your thinking about a particular issue, however there is a question that you can ask yourself.
This brings me back to Peter Andre. I met lovely Peter when he started his pop comeback in 2001, looking after him at BBC Clothes Show Live, where he was popular and polite (this photo indicates a more recent visit!). The question you can ask is:
“What would Peter Andre do?”
What? No, I have not taken leave of my senses! However, Peter got your attention! The idea is that you pose the question to feature someone quite distinct and far removed from your own life. This forces you to think very creatively, utilising other parts of your brain – plus, it is more fun!
How about having a bank of assorted people (current and historical) in your head to challenge your thinking? You can even substitute people for animals e.g. “What would a shark do?” The key to the success of this exercise is to refrain from playing safe with your choice of minds – the stranger the better! Have fun!