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Brian Tracy! Positive thinking awakens potential! Creative Thinking with Machine Thinking

8. Creative Thinking with Machine Thinking

Imagination is the workshop that produces man’s plans and desires.- NAPOLEON HILL

Creative thinkers rule the world!

They are constantly looking for faster,

better,

and easier ways to achieve goals that are important to others.

They apply the CANEI principle,

which stands for “Continuous and Never-Ending Improvement.”

They created all the great breakthroughs,

innovations and advancements in human history.

They know that sometimes a good idea is enough

to change the course of an entire company or a life.

***************

Machine thinking

Machine thinking,

on the other hand,

tends to be rigid and inflexible.

This is fascist ideology.

Mechanical thinking is rooted in a fear of failure

or making mistakes and losing time,

money,

or both.

It comes from the fear of being criticized

or ridiculed,

trying to do things that don’t work.

Poor thinkers think about black and white,

not gray.

They just think yes or no,

up or down.

They think there is only one way

while there are always many ways.

When faced with change,

they fall into a state of psychological sclerosis,

defined as an “attitude sclerosis”.

They are victims of “homeostasis,”

a struggle to maintain consistency.

They are trapped in their comfort zone.

They resent and fear something new or different,

even if it’s an improvement.

But you are not.

A property of an open system to control the internal environment

in order to maintain equilibrium,

through the adjustment of various dynamic equilibrium regulatory mechanisms.

****************

You are a potential genius

You have more creative potential

than you can use in a hundred years of your life.

The more you use your creativity,

the more you can use.

In fact, you become more creative every time you come up with a new idea.

It is said that every child is born a genius,

and that is you,

for the rest of your life.

Creativity turns out to be the most accurate predictor

of success in life and work.

The more creative you are,

the more great ideas you will come up

with to improve your life,

work, and everything around you.

One good idea can be enough to change

the entire direction of your life.

How do you realize creativity?

Creative people are curious.

They ask a lot of questions and are never satisfied.

In fact, you can become more creative

by asking more about what’s going on around you

and don’t settle for superficial answers.

***********************

Geniuses of all ages

There is a lot of research on the qualities of geniuses of all ages.

The first piece of information they discovered was

that intelligence is not about IQ or qualifications.

Many so-called geniuses have average

or slightly above average intelligence.

Genius or brilliant thinking lies in the attitude

and approach to life’s inevitable challenges.

It turns out that geniuses have three qualities,

developed over time.

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Keep an open mind

First, they approach any problem or situation with an open mind,

almost like a child’s attitude of curiosity and discovery.

The more open you are

to approaching life situations in a whole new and different way,

the more likely you are

to gain insight and ideas

that take you out of your comfort zone allowing you

to think outside the box.

They keep appearing as “Why?”

and “Why not?”,

and “If… so what?”

Second, geniuses carefully consider all aspects of a problem,

do not jump to conclusions,

instead gather a lot of data.

They test and validate the interim conclusions at each stage.

They avoid hasty judgment.

They are always ready

to accept the possibility that they may be wrong,

or that their ideas are not good.

****************

The best solution

Albert Einstein was once asked,

“If there was an extreme emergency

or potential disaster that would destroy the Earth in 60 minutes,

and you were asked to find a solution,

what would you do?”

Einstein replied,

“I will spend the first 59 minutes gathering information,

and the last minute solving the problem in the best possible way.”

In today’s business,

especially in new product development,

the more time you spend working closely with your customers

to ensure that your new product/service idea is right.

what they want,

need,

and are willing to pay for,

the more likely you are to succeed in a fast-changing

and fiercely competitive market.

***************

Systemic approach

Third, geniuses use a systematic approach

to problem solving and decision making.

Mathematicians,

physicists,

doctors,

mechanical engineers,

and other talented people in other professions don’t face problems

like a dog chasing a passing car.

They follow a carefully crafted portfolio

and work through the issue,

step-by-step toward the outcome.

Atul Gawande, in The Checklist Manifesto

(rough translation: stop of the smart),

tells the story of two investment professionals,

both successful,

but one far more successful than the other.

It turns out that both of them have many years of experience in evaluating

and making solid investment decisions

for themselves and their clients.

But the more successful advisor has developed

a list of essential questions to ask

and test and then apply to the investment proposal

before making a decision.

The other advisor uses many of the same techniques

and tactics to evaluate an investment,

but he uses intuition more than experience.

So he often loses money unnecessarily.

This is an interesting point that Gawande discovered.

The first mentor is always more successful than the second.

But many times,

he makes mistakes and loses money.

The reason is still the same.

He did not diligently follow his own list.

He missed a key point

or two in the list of important considerations.

When he returned to following his portfolio carefully,

his investment performance improved markedly.

*******************

Systematic problem solving

Here is structured/unstructured problem-solving

and decision-making developed by experts

and advisory groups over the years.

I have compiled the best ideas into a single method

that you can use for the rest of your career.

*******************

Step one:

Clearly define the problem/goal,

write it on the page in front of you.

If you are working in a group,

write the problem/goal over

and over on the conference board

or whiteboard until everyone agrees,

“Yes. This is the exact definition of the problem.”

In medicine, they say,

“The right diagnosis is half the cure.”

In business,

the right problem definition makes the solution obvious.

*********************

Step Two:

Once you have a clear problem/goal defined, ask,

“What else is the problem?”

Be careful with problems with only one definition.

Let’s redefine the problem in different ways to make it easier

to arrive at the right solution.

(Note: Maybe it’s not a problem at all, but an opportunity.)

The worst thing is that you come up with a great solution

to the wrong problem

or a problem that doesn’t exist.

*******************

Product failure rate

Up to 80% of new products and services fail within 12 months.

The main reason is that companies develop a product

that solves a problem that customers don’t have.

Like the story of a dog food company that invested millions of dollars

to develop the perfect dog food,

nutritionally balanced in every way.

But the product failed in the market.

When they asked the product developers

what happened, the experts replied,

“The problem is the dogs hate this product.”

Whatever the definition of the problem you find,

it will help determine the direction of the solution.

If your problem definition is incorrect,

your solution,

no matter how clever it is,

will not work.

*******************

Sales improvement process

When I work with financial institutions,

I provide them with a systematic process of creative thinking.

In most cases,

the top problem a business faces is low sales.

So I started with the question,

“What’s the problem?”

The first definition of the problem is always “Our sales are too low”.

What else is the problem?

We are not attracting enough new customers.

What else is the problem?

The customers we attract are not buying enough.

What else is the problem?

We haven’t turned leads into customers enough.

What else is the problem?

Our advertising

and marketing activities are not attracting enough new customers.

What else is the problem?

Our customers don’t buy often enough.

What else is the problem?

Our customers are buying too much from our competitors.

Keep asking the “what else” question

until you find the correct definition of the problem.

*******************

The definition defines the solution

Whatever answer you decide to choose,

if the problem is correct,

a different, sometimes completely different,

solution is needed.

This is why it’s so important to test

and validate answers,

to make sure you’re solving the right problem in the first place.

**********************

Step Three:

Ask, “What is the solution to our problem?”

Whatever the answer you come up with,

keep asking,

“What other solution is there to our problem?”

Be careful with problems with only one solution.

There is a direct relationship

between the number of possible solutions you come up with

and the quality of the final solution you choose.

Often two unrealistic ideas combine to turn into a genius idea

that changes the direction of the business.

**********************

Step Four:

Once you have explored a range of possible solutions,

you must narrow them down and make a decision.

If you can’t make a decision right away,

set a deadline by which you will make a decision and act.

In most cases,

any decision is better than no decision at all

Steve Jobs once said,

“Innovative ideas come from joining dots in a different way.”

This is the key that high-minded people use everywhere.

If you are struggling with a decision,

collect more dots.

Let’s collect more information.

Hire a consultant in this area.

Don’t be stingy

when it comes to gathering the best information possible.

A new or unheard of idea can make you rich

or save a lot of money.

*******************

Step Five:

Determine a measure of the success of this decision.

Set clear metrics and standards.

Quantify the results you expect.

The principle is:

“If you want to be successful in business,

set the bar for everything.

If you want to be rich,

put a financial measure on everything.”

Remember,

if you can’t measure it,

you can’t control it.

And with measurement,

there are results.

*******************

Step Six:

Assign project responsibilities, tasks,

or sub-tasks to a specific person or people.

Every product, service or project needs a person at the helm,

who is fully in charge of the project

and whose success,

salary and advancement opportunities depend on the end result.

A big mistake that companies large and small make,

is that they agree to a new product / service idea,

or a certain project,

and then everyone works.

No one has been assigned a specific task for this project.

It then became an “abandoned project” within the company,

a project that belongs to everyone and no one.

Don’t let this happen in your company.

***************

Step Seven:

Set a deadline and sub-deadline for completion.

The more important the potential results,

the more often and precisely you must manage

and measure the process.

Take a close look at what you expect.

There is a review to be effective.

****************

Step eight:

Create a plan B,

a backup or alternative plan in case the first solution doesn’t work,

for some reason.

Fill in “Report a bug”.

Ask, “What is the worst that could happen in this situation?”

The worst possible outcome is that the project will fail completely,

and all the time and money invested in it will be lost.

How can you minimize the chance of failure?

How can you maximize your chances of success?

What do you do if your solution doesn’t work?

*********************

Establish a backup plan

Great generals plan to win every battle,

but they also prepare for defeat should it happen.

They have reserves and ammunition in reserve.

They develop a contingency

or contingency plan.

They know that an orderly retreat is better than a scattered run.

Take only foreseeable risks – risks

from which you can bounce back if it fails completely.

Never bet everything on a new course of action.

Hope is not a strategy;

it’s a recipe for disaster.

In business,

new product ideas like

“just make it and customers will buy it” is almost certain to fail.

*****************

Step nine: Act on your ideas. Let’s go fast.

Create a sense of urgency.

Let’s do something.

Do anything.

But let’s start promoting,

as quickly as possible.

General George Patton said,

“A good plan aggressively executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.”

Apply this systematic problem-solving approach to every problem

or difficulty your business faces,

and train yourself to adhere to high-level thinking.

The results will pleasantly surprise you.

********************

Solution-focused thinking and Problem-focused thinking

The real sign of your intelligence and creativity is your ability

to solve problems

and make decisions.

Regardless of the title on your business card,

the correct word to describe your job is

still “problem solver”.

From the moment you start work in the morning

to the time you leave work,

and after that,

you solve problems big and small,

throughout the day.

General Colin Powell said,

“A leader is a problem solver.”

Successful people are also problem solvers.

An unrealized goal or goal,

in any field,

is just an unresolved problem.

This is why a systematic approach to problem solving,

one that works at a higher level and is more sustainable,

is essential for you to achieve the greatest success possible.

*************

Think about solutions

Incidentally,

successful people are almost always thinking about solutions.

Unsuccessful people mostly think about problems.

Successful people think about how to solve problems

or remove obstacles

and think about immediate actions

to improve the situation.

Unsuccessful people think about the problem

and find someone to blame.

They allow themselves to be angry

and upset because a problem occurs

or an obstacle arises.

This creates negative thoughts,

anger and

trace the person at fault,

“Who did this?”

But it didn’t help them find a solution.

***************

Unleash your creative energy

There are three keys to unleashing the creative energy we mentioned earlier.

It’s clarity, focus,

and attention.

First, you must be clear about your goal,

but be flexible about the process of achieving it.

Keep an open mind.

Be prepared to consider different ways to achieve the same result.

Second, stay focused.

Focus your intelligence, and everyone else’s,

like a laser on a single problem,

obstacle,

or difficulty,

without diversion or distraction.

Process each object only once.

Third, pay attention.

Put everything else aside,

and focus 100%

until you’ve solved your biggest problem

and achieved your most important goal.

Jim Collins,

in Good to Great,

tells the story of the hedgehog and the fox,

taken from an article by Isaiah Berlin.

He said that foxes are very cunning

and know many things.

But the hedgehog is more successful

because it knows the only thing that matters.

Clarity,

focus,

and attention help you bring all your mental power

to a single big problem or a single big goal.

******************

The attraction of distractions

In the modern world of computers and e-mail,

perhaps the biggest enemy is “distraction attraction,”

chasing after attractions,

e-mail, texts, calls,

and the Internet. social,

all of which distract your mind

and disrupt your ability to concentrate.

According to USA Today,

constantly reacting to electronic devices,

especially e-mail and texting,

burns the brain’s fuel,

glucose,

at a very rapid rate.

The average person checks e-mail all day

and is constantly distracted,

like a dog with attention deficit disorder,

by the signals and tones from e-mail and smartphones.

As a result,

the average e-mail-addicted employee loses 10 IQ points a day,

with every hour that goes by more stupid.

In the end,

many people become exhausted,

unable to concentrate

or make even the simplest decisions.

And they are increasingly failing to keep up with key tasks.

*******************

Multitasking with task switching

When one is constantly responding to e-mails,

texts,

and calls,

that person is forced to engage in so-called multitasking.

However, this action should be better defined

as a task switch.

You don’t do much work;

that you are moving back

and forth between tasks.

According to one study,

it took you about 17 minutes to stop what you were doing

and reply to a text message

and then get back to work.

Throughout the day,

your attention swings back and forth,

like a windshield wiper,

rarely accomplishing anything of value.

When you’re both addicted to social media

and obsessed with checking Facebook,

Twitter, and LinkedIn,

like many,

you have a recipe for career disaster.

This is why people say,

“Social media is a non-working society.”

The solution is very simple.

Ignore the devices.

Check your e-mail twice a day,

at 11am and 3pm.

Otherwise,

turn off all devices so you can focus on the work you’re doing.

*************

Limiting point theory

This is one of the best creative thinking tools.

Limitation theory says that there is a limit between you

and any goal that determines how quickly you reach that goal.

It is sometimes called the bottleneck point.

Sometimes it refers to a knot.

Andrew Grove,

former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Intel,

calls the main obstacles holding

you back the “limiting factor” in any manufacturing process.

What are your main goals right now,

and what are the obstacles that determine how quickly you reach them?

To put it another way is,

“Why haven’t you reached your goal?”

If your goal is to increase sales and profits by 50%,

why haven’t your sales and profits increased by 50% yet?

If your goal is to lose weight,

why haven’t you reached your ideal weight yet?

When you ask yourself these questions,

your answer is often the obstacle holding you back.

Often when you ask and answer these questions,

what pops into your head will be your favorite excuses,

the reasons you give to explain unfulfilled goals in an certain area.

*************

Determine the limiting factor

In each situation,

the first thing you have to do is identify this limiting factor

and then focus on overcoming it.

This way of thinking and acting can get you closer

to your goal faster than anything you can do.

The 80/20 rule also applies

to restrictions in your life and work.

Up to 80% of the factors that prevent you

from achieving your most important goals are in yourself or your company.

Only 20% is due to external circumstances.

As you begin to identify and remove obstacles,

always start with yourself.

Ask the key question,

“What is it about me (or about my company)

that is preventing me from achieving my goals?”

Remember, most people have a natural tendency

to blame outside influences and blame others

because of the problem they have.

The hallmark of high thinkers is that they take full responsibility

for every problem or difficulty,

and then they examine themselves to find out

what determines the speed at which they achieve their goals.

***********

If-then thinking

Each time you ask this question,

you’ll break the shackles of the limiting mindset that keep you

from working within a narrow space,

and you’ll be open to more possibilities.

If-then thinking is considered the groundbreaking concept

that has made Federal Express one of the most successful companies in the world.

That success begins with the question,

“What if I could deliver a letter in one night,

anywhere in the country?”

When Fred Smith, the president of FedEx,

proposed the idea in a paper at Yale University,

the faculty member gave him a C,

saying the idea wasn’t very practical.

At that time,

first-class postal service in the United States took three to five days,

sometimes longer,

to arrive.

The idea of delivering parcels overnight seems impossible.

***********

Break the barrier

By repeatedly asking “What if…?”,

Fred Smith

and the FedEx leadership were able to develop innovative ideas

that not only helped achieve their goals,

but also made FedEx one of the great companies,

the best and most successful in the world.

“What if I could put a keyboard on a phone screen?”

(Apple, currently the largest company in the world.)

“What if we could sell

and ship any book by e-mail

and have it delivered directly to our door?”

(Amazon.com, currently the largest bookseller in the world).

“What if we could put a man on the T-Face

and get him back to Earth safely?”

(John Kennedy – 1962.)

When President John Kennedy asked the scientist

in charge of the US space program,

Wernher von Braun,

“What does it take to put a man on the T-Face

and bring him back to Earth? safe?”,

answered von Braun simply,

“Determined to do it.”

In many situations,

both at work and in personal life,

the imperative for success is simply “the determination to do it”.

My friend, Joel Weldon,

was famous for his talk “Success comes when you dare”.

This is also true for you.

**************

Innovation process

The philosophy of every successful business

and every successful leader is CANEI,

mentioned above,

which stands for “Continuous and Never-Ending Improvement”.

Make up your mind to boldly step out of your comfort zone.

Constantly looking for newer,

better,

faster and cheaper ways to accomplish your goals

and move forward.

Be prepared to fail again and again

when you are in the process of developing

or introducing new products,

services,

methods or strategies.

Nothing is going in the right direction as you think.

You will experience disappointments,

difficulties,

setbacks and temporary setbacks on your way to success.

Thomas J. Watson,

founder of IBM Corporation,

was once asked how to succeed faster.

He replied, “If you want to succeed faster,

you have to double the rate of failure.

Success lies on the other side of failure.”

In fact, nothing is a failure.

Feedback only.

Difficulties appear not to hinder but to guide.

The formula is always

“Try, try again, then try something else.”

The ultimate key to your success is your ability to solve problems,

make decisions,

and find creative and new ways to grow your business,

increase sales,

and boost your bottom line.

***************

Practical exercises

1. Pick a problem you or your company is currently grappling with

and apply a systematic problem-solving approach.

This way can change your future.

2. Identify a goal that you have

and point out the biggest obstacle,

the limiting factor that determines how quickly you reach that goal.

What can you do to eliminate this obstacle?

3. Pick a product/service that you offer

and build as many ways as possible to make it better,

faster and cheaper for your customers.

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