Several years ago John Maxwell wrote a great book titled, Thinking for a Change. I know that this implies many of us don’t think very often but I wonder if Maxwell is right?
When I first read his book several years ago it made me stop and really question the last time that I took deliberate time to think. How about you? When is the last time that you scheduled time in your calendar just to think. We all get so busy with the routine tasks that we seldom think about strategy…about the future. Instead of thinking about where we are headed with our lives we find ourselves tied up in meetings, handling the daily emergencies, and putting out the daily fires in our lives and businesses.
So…how do you change your thinking process? First, schedule time just to think. Some folks believe that unless they are physically doing something they aren’t working. May I say to you if you aren’t taking time to consistently think you probably aren’t doing the right things anyway. Block off time every week where all you do is think. If you don’t schedule this thinking time I guarantee you won’t do it.
Second, Maxwell recommended something I have done and it really helps me. I have a special thinking place. It’s a chair that I use just to think. I try not to use it for anything else…just thinking. If I neglect my thinking time the chair just seems to call out to me asking me where I have been. This works for me but do whatever works best for you. Go for a walk. Find a place where you will not be interrupted and then just let your mind think about your personal goals, business goals, personal improvement ideas, solutions to problems you are facing, business strategies for the future, you name it.
Remember what William Arthur Ward said about thinking. Here it is:
Nothing limits achievement like small thinking; Nothing expands possibilities like unleashed thinking.
So…change the way you think and expand your possibilities.
Some of my thoughts today are from a book titled, Thinking For A Change written by John Maxwell. In that book Maxwell tells the story of two sisters. One sister just got word that she was accepted to the college of her choice. She was so excited to have earned the opportunity for a future career. The other sister leaned over to her mom and said this, I feel so sorry for my sister. She has to go to school four more years!
This story illustrates the underlying foundation of the book. Successful people think differently than unsuccessful people. In our story, one sister thought about the wonderful opportunity she had been given to attend college and start a career. The other sister thought about all the time, effort, and work it would take to get through four years of college…two totally different ways of thinking.
What do you think about every day? Do you even take time to deliberately think about the future or are you just trying to get through the day. Maxwell said this about the power of thinking.
- Unsuccessful people focus their thinking on survival
- Average people focus their thinking on maintenance
- Successful people focus their thinking on progress
If you aren’t doing it yet, may I encourage you to spend some time each day deliberately thinking? A good way to get started is to spend some time at the end of each day reflecting on your day. Examine what was successful in your day. What decisions did you make that led to successful outcomes? What decisions did you make that led to negative outcomes? How could you have made your daily decisions better? If you will take fifteen minutes at the end of each day and reflect on the decisions you made during that day, you will learn tremendous lessons that you can use tomorrow.
Some of you may remember an old movie called Groundhog Day. In that movie the main character continued to live the same day over and over again. I hope you aren’t trapped in a similar situation. If you feel like you are simply repeating your workdays, break free by thinking deliberately each day, learn from the lessons of the day that God is teaching you, and apply new ideas to your life.
Former General Electric CEO, Jack Welch once said this. 99.9 percent of all employees are in the pile because they don’t think. Don’t be one of many struggling in the employee pile. Spend some time thinking and live the exciting, creative life God has planned for you.